When it comes to monsters, cartoons, and movies, I believe my mind and heart are still stuck somewhere in the childhood. And this is why I loved the latest project by photographer Jan von Holleben. Monster Heroes is a set of quirky super-creatures, made from the strangest subjects like cuddly toys, toilet paper, cardboard boxes or even furniture. The models are kids, who transformed into these monster heroes for the photo shoot, and Jan eternalized them in his photos.
As Jan points out, these monsters were created for kids all ages, between 4 and 104. It’s a series made by kids, with kids, and for kids. So if you are a kid between 4 and 104 – take a peek. Let your inner child have some fun.
Monster Heroes is an ongoing project, involving a whole bunch of cuddly toys, smelly shoes, plants, blankets, pans, pots and other stuff. The idea was to appreciate the children’s individual skills, but also to encourage them to create their own monster heroes with the household items. In this project, the kids weren’t only the models. They were also the consultants, the creators, and after all – the target audience.
I like Jan’s observation that kids have a knowledge that is very different from grown-ups, and it will change when they grow up, too. They are more daring, creative, free and motivated. Their logic and way of thinking and perceiving the world are fabulous. And Jan says it’s always very special to work with, way more than working with adults. Still, there are also some adults who can play like kids, we can’t deny that. And this was precisely Jan’s focus with the project – the playfulness. No matter how old you are.
I asked Jan how much it took to create these shots, because to me it seemed pretty complex to create the monsters and take the shots. The project has been lasting for 6 months now, and sometimes he even does two monsters in a day.
As for the inspiration, he gets it from talking and playing with kids. I mean, who can have more imagination than them? Then, he would get the props, and get a bunch of kids for a fun photo shoot. He introduces his little models with the ideas and they discuss them, and then it takes 15-45 minutes to build the monster. Finally, when it comes to shooting itself, Jan makes it look easy. He got used to working with kids, so the shoot itself lasts 5 to 10 minutes. After all, I believe the building and the playing part is the most fun anyway. :)