With less than a week to go before the Stuck-In-Plastic Meet-up I can officially say that I have begun my descent into madness. The preparation, planning, expense and anticipation leading up to an event of this caliber are enough to drive a man straight into the plush, padded rooms of “Arkham Asylum”. Add on the extra stressors of needing to decide which action figures to take, cleaning camera gear and remembering to pack a toothbrush alongside completing an inconceivable amount of custom action figures and I have effectively topped off my “stress Sunday” with a ripe-red cherry. So why do we do it? Why do we add this pressure onto an already weary body while knowingly turning our PTO Balance into a shadow of its former self?
The answer, to me, is simple.
Studying art in college was a special time for me. The sound that dry pastel makes when scratching the surface of rough-grit paper, the sheen of graphite on newsprint and the smell of an eraser are things I never tire of. Thankfully, these are things I can recreate in my home office. On the flip-side of the coin however, there are things that are impossible to create on your own. None more so potent than the energy of a room full of like-minded individuals that are just as crazy as you are. A strange magic happens when a group of artists get together. Creativity begins to resonate within the group…each person amplifying its intensity. Everyday life seems to fade away and you get lost in a whirlwind of inspiration. The potential to experience this creative collective within a group is just one of many reasons why I think a lot of us will put ourselves through the stressors leading up to an event like this.
Toy photograph is one of the most creative and dynamic forms of photography. The potential for content within a photograph is limited only to your imagination…well, that and the “investment” of your subject matter. Photography (in general) is not an inexpensive hobby. Factor in the cost of action figures and it’s likely that your bank account will serve you with a restraining order. This is where a special side effect to shooting toys within a group comes into play – we share! You can bring new elements to your photographs that you normally do not have access to without having to burden your pocket book. This commune mentality of sharing toys is yet another rudder that propels me through the madness of preparation.
Last, and certainly not least, is the simple fact that you get to meet someone whose work you’ve admired. There are a lot of photographers out there that I interact with on a daily basis yet have never met in person. The opportunity to meet other artists that share my love for plastic is well worth any PTO that will be sacrificed in the name of Toy Photography. This, hands down, is the most rewarding aspect to the Stuck-In-Plastic Meetup. Live, in person, interactions…void of tiny keyboards, emoji and awkward auto-corrects.
In hindsight, I guess I should have started with that last one. The photos you take will be posted and get the “Likes” they deserve then fade off into an ever-growing body of work. The energy of being in a group of creative minds is fleeting as well. But the friends made and interactions that will be had will be lasting. Speaking from past experience, I can honestly say that I have a stronger interaction with the friends I have made while at the Las Vegas meet than I do with other IG Photographers. The camaraderie and emoji-less interactions are far more important than any photograph that will be taken over the course of the next weekend, and *that* is the one true reason that we (that are going) put ourselves through the madness of preparation.
~ Dennis (aka @Krash_override)