It’s A Small World with David Gilliver

Recently Bevvypix asked our Feature Friday guest if he would like to tell us all about his toy photography. And without hesitation David said yes. Bev was introduced to his work whilst studying her MA in Photography. Although she specifically use Lego in her images, she was interested to know there are other types of toy photographers out there, all creating little universes and highlighting environmental issues in different ways.

Without further avail, let us introduce the Miniature Worlds and creative Toy Photography of published artist David Gilliver.

Who is David Gilliver?

Hello. My name is David and I am a professional Macro-photographer and ‘Light Painter’. A little bit about me, I graduated from a Fine Art Photography (BA Hons) course at the Glasgow School of Art back in 2001, and I have been working hard to establish myself as a respected professional photographer and artist ever since. My work specialises in long-exposure photography (the art of ‘Light Painting’) and macro photography (my ‘Little People’ and Toy series).

Highlights

Over the years, my work has received some very welcome attention. This has led to me becoming involved in some very exciting projects all over the world. Some highlights of the past few years include having some of my photography stocked by John Lewis, providing bespoke artwork for the wonderful AIDA cruise-ship restaurants, and working on exciting projects/commissions with ThreeUK, the Canary Islands Tourism Group, Sony, and Adobe.

Commission with ThreeUK © David Gilliver

A Step by Step Guide

My main passions are creating bespoke artworks for my clients, and teaching others about the magical techniques that I have fallen in love with – Macro Photography and Light Painting.

During the first Lockdown in 2020, I decided to make good use of my time (as all of my Workshops had to be cancelled) and so I spent several months writing two very detailed interactive eBooks to help other photographers learn more about these magical techniques. 

A Witness at the Scene

Rewinding all the way back to 1998 to when it all started. I witnessed a dreadful road accident taking place involving a lorry and a car. Thankfully (and rather miraculously!) the driver of the car avoided any serious injury and was retrieved from the car-wreck unscathed by the emergency services. As I was a young budding student photographer at the time, I took 1 photograph of the scene. It reminded me of the small figurines I used to play with as a young boy.

As I watched the emergency services personnel working below me (I was up on the 3rd floor of a Dental surgery waiting to be seen at the time!) I felt a strong compulsion to recreate the scene using miniatures. This developed into part of a Fine Art Project that I was working on at Art School. And so began my love affair (and obsession) with macro photography. I have now been building and photographing dioramas for the past 23 years and counting, and appear to have coined a style of photography which has inspired so many photographers all over the world which delights me! 

Recreating a scene that I witnessed, thankfully no one was hurt. © David Gilliver

Tackling Themes

A useful point to mention here is back in the 90’s when I was just getting started. I took a lot of inspiration from the legend that is David Levinthal – an American photographer and artist who has produced some incredible artworks using figurines. You can check out some of his work here: http://davidlevinthal.com/

Over the years I have created many series of artworks, tackling themes such as:

  • Plastic Pollution
  • Brexit 
  • And more recently, the global pandemic that is ‘Covid19’ 

I think because the work is figurative in nature, it is immediately relatable (on some level) to those who view it. This makes it easier to convey serious messages when broaching subjects like those I mention above. It is important to not only have fun when making work like this, but when possible, to also convey useful messages when the opportunity arises. For me, I find this process incredibly cathartic as making this work helps me to process my feelings and thoughts.

Behind the Scenes

My ‘Miniature Worlds’ are very basic in terms of how I construct each scene. For example, some of my backdrops are quite simply cotton wool stuck to blue card to create the impression of a cloudy sky background. Because I use a shallow depth of field when capturing this work, the backdrops (albeit crude and simple in nature) feel reasonably convincing.

To light each scene, I normally use whatever ambient light is available in my studio, but if that is not working the way I want it to I use a torch to help control the lighting better. Torches make great tools for lighting this kind of work as the sets/dioramas are so tiny.

My ‘Toy’ series, as you might expect, is an offshoot of my smaller macro work. Normally I shoot these scenes on a desk using dolls-house props. However, I still capture them using the same macro photography setup as my smaller works (namely using my Canon 100mm macro lens). 

My Kit

Toy Portfolio

This work is definitely more comedic in nature. They allow me the opportunity to create works for the sheer enjoyment of providing a little entertainment. At the same time, maybe they raise a smile along the way. Sometimes, when I am making this work I burst out laughing! That’s normally when I realise I am on to a good idea.

When you REALLY want an Irn Bru. © David Gilliver
I said any year EXCEPT 2020. © David Gilliver
Hulk SMASHed. © David Gilliver

What’s Next?

Well, because of the repeated Lockdowns we have been experiencing here in the UK, I have been forced to spend a lot of time indoors and in my studio this past year. My light painting work feels like it has been put on hold for the time being.However, I have been incredibly busy making lots of new macro work (the Little People have been VERY busy!). As a little teaser, and if you are on Instagram, my ‘Mini-Olympics’ series launches this Friday (the 5th of March) and includes some really exciting events, like:

  • The 100mm sprint race
  • The not-very-high jump
  • Macaroni hurdles
  • The staple-chase

If you find me on Instagram, you will see a new event posted each day.

© David Gilliver. And the gold medal goes to …

I have also challenged myself to create and photograph 100 dioramas in 100 days, so far so good. As I write this blog post, I am on day 60 out of 100, so just (?!) 40 more to go! Here are a few of my favourites from 2021 so far:

Thank You

Thank you for reading my Blog feature and thank you to Stuck in Plastic for asking me. I hope that you have found some of what I had to say interesting and that you managed to take some inspiration from the photographs that I have included. 😊 

Good luck everyone with your creative journeys throughout 2021 and beyond…

© David Gilliver. Thank You!

It’s a Giveaway for 3 lucky readers

For anyone who might be interested, the interactive eBooks can be found on David’s website here: https://davidgilliver.com/product-category/books/ … However, He has also offered 3 lucky readers the chance to win a copy of the Miniature Worlds ebook. All you have to do is reply in the comments and suggest a title for his newest work (see below) and he will pick his 3 favourites.

Give this image a Title to be in with a chance to win.

Where can you find David?

You can find me online here:

Web: www.davidgilliver.com

Insta: @dgilliver https://www.instagram.com/dgilliver/

Facebook: David Gilliver Photography https://www.facebook.com/davidgilliverphoto/

Thank you again for reading my blog-post,

David

Sing a Rainbow

This week you may have all been wondering about the story behind @bevvypix’s latest series of images? Well today she reveals the story so far regarding #wheresbevvyspackage.

The Package

From time to time, we at Stuck in Plastic receive packages from our good friends over at The LEGO Group. We are fortunate to have this opportunity to build and review the products inside these packages, which are then written about in our blog and shared on social media. You can check out so many different reviews written by our wonderful team. And if you are specifically looking for a particular product then you can just use our search tool here on the blog.

Continue reading “Sing a Rainbow”

Did I fail my #SiPgoes52 project?

As you may have noticed if you follow me on social media, I haven’t posted a SiPgoes52 picture in a while. Now, it has been several months since my last picture on this project.

If you remember my initial post, I had everything planned in advance. A small set-up that I can install at home. I was trying to think about my picture ideas in advance, and take those pictures in advance.

But one thing came in the middle of that and ruined the initial plan: LIFE!

Yes. It was Saturday afternoon. I was planning my pictures to shoot on Sunday: Hope and Action. I was looking for an idea for Quality, but I was called to work on Sunday, and my plans got ruined.

I didn’t take any picture that Sunday, and thus missed my Wednesday slot. Then, came the weekend of our toy safari and once again, no time to take any SiPgoes52 picture. Then, I lost track of time and motivation, and so I didn’t pursue the project. And now, 20 weeks later, I have not taken any additional picture.

Does that mean that I failed? Will I ever continue? Continue reading “Did I fail my #SiPgoes52 project?”

It’s that time of the year…

Soon it will be winter…

For some, it means staying cozy at home, waiting for spring and summer. For others, it means going out to take pictures because winter is the time of the year where the light is at its best.

Guess who’s waiting to rule Winter?

But it also means that soon it will be Christmas and the winter holidays. Time for many of us to be with their friends and families. And for us, it’s also a tradition to reflect on the past year and exchange some memories.

We used to exchange books. While they are valuable memories, a book exchange is also a big commitment. It requires time and energy. (And let us not forget it’s also an important financial commitment.)

So last year we came up with the idea of exchanging postcards instead. And we loved it…

So it’s time to start planning the 2018 postcard exchange.

Continue reading “It’s that time of the year…”

A wolf, an axe, a lantern and LEDs

In the recent sets that LEGO has released, there was one accessory that caught my eye: a lantern.

For me, it’s a cool new piece that could fit in plenty of stories. I could see some scared children walking around a forest, or maybe Indiana Jones exploring a cave or even a sailor on his boat in a storm trying to see what’s in front of him. Well, it’s a fun accessory that I will keep at hand.

At the moment you can find it in the new Harry Potter sets (which are not available in France, yet) or in the new line of accessories polybags called LEGO Xtra.
And recently, I was able to get my hand on one.
So immediately, I wanted to play with it in a picture. Continue reading “A wolf, an axe, a lantern and LEDs”

SiP went Paris 2018

After several toy Safaris around Europe, in Stockholm, Hamburg, London or Edinburgh, it was time to visit Paris.
It was the second time for us to be in the City of lights, after an exhibition at Le6Brick earlier this year.

#SiPgoesParis2018
#SiPgoesParis2018 – Picture by @Ballou34

The edition of SiPgoesParis 2018 was awesome.
Everyone seems to have enjoyed this event:

20 people from 7 countries (Czech Republic, England, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Turkey and France),
around 50 km of walk during 3 full days,
hundreds of LEGO minifigures,
thousands of pictures taken,
and very little sleep…

But let me share with you a “10-minute” taste of what happened between June 15th and 17th.
Just follow the guide!

Follow the guide
Follow the guide – Picture by @Nutelasabe

The famous monuments

A weekend in Paris means that some stopovers are unavoidable.
We started the weekend at the Eiffel tower. Even though we arrived relatively early to avoid tourists, it was not early enough and we quickly shared the spot with a few wedding photographers.
Continue reading “SiP went Paris 2018”

21314 LEGO Ideas TRON: Legacy

[Music] Daft Punk music [/Music]

In a digital world dominated by the color black, only enlightened with touches of neon blue or neon orange, everyone is a program.

This could summarize the universe where TRON: Legacy, movie released in 2010 (sequel to TRON movie from 1982), takes place.

Later this month, LEGO will release a new set based on this license.

The LEGO Ideas TRON: Legacy box
The LEGO Ideas TRON: Legacy box

Continue reading “21314 LEGO Ideas TRON: Legacy”

Week 9 – SiP goes Paris

Community

This week’s word is community. According to our good friends at Wikipedia, it is defined as:

community is a small or large social group of living things who have something in common, such as norms, religion, values, or identity.

We’ve seen in this week submissions both the idea of geographical community or virtual community.

Particularly, community relates strongly to the toy photography community and to us here in Stuck in Plastic. As a community mostly active through social media, it fits in the category of community centered around a virtual space. However, creating social connections in the physical world and expanding our community into real-life relationships is also important to us. This is why we organize each year a toy safari

So what better way, than sharing some more details about the 2018 edition of the Stuck in Plastic toy safari as part of this weeks word, community!

Here goes … Continue reading “Week 9 – SiP goes Paris”

Beginning(s)

To tell you the truth, it was difficult to write this blog post.
It was a struggle for me to select a word for the 12th month of the year.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It is all about new beginning(s)” quote=”Should it be ‘conclusion’, ‘ending’, ‘finality’? ” theme=”style6″]

I like order and for me, every story has a beginning, a middle/development and an ending.
I don’t like endings. It means that everything stops afterwards and I hate that.
When I read a book that I enjoy, I always take a break before reading the last chapter. I don’t like endings.
So, the more I was writing this blog post, the more depressing it was getting.

Then, it hit me during New Year’s Eve.
The end of the year is not about ending things. It’s about new beginning(s). Continue reading “Beginning(s)”

SiP goes … in 2018

2017 is almost over but here at Stuck In Plastic, we are already planning 2018.

I hope you all enjoyed our reports about our last toy safari in Scotland (the review, the #1Toy2Share activity or Chris Rose experience) and maybe you were even able to attend our small exhibition during Bricklive Birmingham. We all had a blast there. Since we want to have fun again soon, we’ve already started planning the next one. Continue reading “SiP goes … in 2018”