We’ve already seen some splendid work of L.A. photographer Mitchel Wu. Whether it’s Kermit the Frog or the Toy Story crew, Mitchel’s photos are always humorous and they put the toys in all kinds of silly situations.
For this article, the photographer has prepared a special treat for all the Star Wars fans out there. The official premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is approaching, and this set of photos will be a perfect warm-up. Just like his previous work, this set is also rich in great ideas, and Mitchel pulls off most of them in-camera. He also sometimes merges Star Wars toys with those from other movies, so expect the unexpected!
As Mitchel tells DIYP, Star Wars has been a part of his life since Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was released in 1977.
Seeing that movie for the first time opened up entire worlds and galaxies – fueling already overactive imaginations.
If you follow toy photographers, you know that most of them include Star Wars toys in their portfolio. Mitchel points out that this doesn’t have anything to do with age or the part of the world – it seems like Star Wars saga is loved equally by all generations, from all parts of the globe.
However, what separates Mitchel from most toy photographers is that he doesn’t attempt to recreate the scenes from the Star Wars movies we all know and love. Although many photographers do it (and they’re great at it), he chooses a different approach:
I tend to use the toys as a jumping off point to other stories, adventures and humor. The Star Wars toys have been a way for me to tell a variety of stories, and to have fun with by combining them with toys totally unrelated to Star Wars. A bloodthirsty Rancor with Simba from The Lion King? Yes please (and sorry, Simba)!
Mitchel tells us he loves presenting iconic characters in unexpected ways. After all, that’s what you could have seen in his previous collections, too. Because of this, he points out that hardcore Star Wars fan “would do well not to expect images from him that are accurate and faithful to the original movies and characters.” Nevertheless, through his photos, he celebrates one of the greatest adventures ever told in film, the adventure that has inspired him and many other toy photographers for their work.
I find it especially interesting that Mitchel mainly uses practical effects in his photos. But as he tells DIYP, ultimately he’s open to using any technique that will help him tell the stories and get him to the desired visual results. In this context, he doesn’t mind whether it’s practical or digital. After all, he uses Photoshop to create lightsabers. Still, the “levitation” and similar effects in his shots are mainly achieved with wires and cables, which are later edited out.
As for the gear, Mitchel uses a Canon 5D Mark III paired with the Canon 135mm f/2L for most of his photos. He uses Lowepro bags to get his gear around safely and Manfrotto tripods on virtually every single shoot. He’s not willing to allow available light to dictate and control his shoots. So, when the available light isn’t ideal, he uses one or two Manfrotto Bi-Color Lykos LED lights to provide and shape his desired light.
Although Mitchel’s photos are not faithful recreations of Star Wars movies, I believe the unusual contexts are precisely what gives them the charm. They’re fun, dynamic and really well done. And as Mitchel puts it, “there’s one thing about them we can all agree on: it’s dangerous being a Stormtrooper!”
I now leave you with more of Mitchel’s fun Star Wars toy photos and the accompanying titles from the artist. I hope you’ll enjoy them just like I did.
About the Artist
Mitchel Wu is a Los-Angeles based professional toy photographer. He creates stories and alternate universes through toy photography, capturing the illusion of motion, and emotion, where none exist. His photos bridge the gap between sculpted pieces of painted plastic and the stories in one’s head. For more of his awesome work, give him a follow on Instagram, like his Facebook page and check out his website.