The problem with Star Wars

In Shelly’s post “The problems with Chima” she pointed out that there is a benefit, for us as still life photographers, to work with toys  that have a well-known back-story.  We can use them as symbols and let the back-story work for us in the picture. I try to do that in most of my pictures, because for me the roles that these figures play in my photographs are to be symbols. There is also a problem with toys with a well know back-story, in my case the problem is Star Wars.

The biggest problem with Star Wars-toys is in my view Star Wars. Yes! Star Wars! Because when you work with Star Wars–stuff people have a tendency to categorized your work as “fan-art”. And I would be fine with that if I were a big fan of Star Wars, but I’m not. I have seen the movies and know the story (not by heart). I know who is evil and who is good… But in my still life photography the star wars – universe is only one part because I use troopers as a motive, I choose them because they were available my sons had them.

I use the troopers because of their occupation, troopers are soldiers of war. And I’m kind of obsessed with the troopers helmet, it tickles me. With the helmet on you can’t see if the solider is happy or sad, if they are smiling or not? If they are women or men, if there young or old. All of this makes them like all of us, ordinary and anonymous. We don’t know anything about their persona, it’s all up to us to make up their history. And I do it together with you, through pictures… I have always wanted to tell stories about life and through the troopers I have explored if I could feel something for these soldiers by the way they move, touch each other, play, interact with one another and so on.


I’m not a big Star Wars fan, I use my troopers as dolls to tell stories about my life, our life and the ordinary life that we live. But when people look at my pictures they see “Star Wars”. Even though I want to tell stories about ordinary people, myths or fairy tales. For me the biggest problem with Star Wars is Star Wars.

What do you think?


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Is it really a problem? The troopers may only be dolls but you look deeper and see them as a reflection of all of us. It doesn’t matter if in my universe I see something else in them. In your images they are what you see in them. And when you create metaphors with them that’s ok (must admit I’ve always been a bit slow when reading artist’s intentions so I’m glad you explained them in earlier posts). I do see the “problem” and seriously want to tell you don’t worry, its fine. Your troopers are fathers and sons;-)


I’m quite familiar with Star Wars, the original was quite an impressive film of its time, but not necessarily a “fan” of the franchise. I’ve always seen them as the soldiers of the “Dark Side” but your series brought them into a new light, a behind the scenes look at them off duty as regular people with families and lives away from the battlefield. Your photography brings out the human element in a very touching way despite what they do on the job, they are really so much like the “rest of us”. Love how you’ve presented them, after all… Read more »


I am a big fan of Star Wars. I mean a biiiiig fan. Margaret said that you humanise the stormtroopers, that you present their ordinary life out of their job. On the fan and story points of view, that is wrong. They have no life out of their duty. By the way, there is no job. They are created to be soldiers. Period. But that is de beauty of what you do. You don’t get stuck in the script (only in plastic kkkkk). You are free to create. What if stormtroopers were ordinary people? What if they had a barbecue… Read more »