Photographer stages whimsical interactions between birds, insects, and miniature toys

Feb 19, 2024

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographer stages whimsical interactions between birds, insects, and miniature toys

Feb 19, 2024

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Andrew Camera isn’t your typical wildlife photographer. He takes the ordinary subjects – birds and insects around us and miniature toys – and brings them together. As a result, we get surprising and delightful interactions, and Andrew captures them on camera. DIYP chatted with Andrew about his work, diving into his unique artistic vision, technical challenges, and the magic that unfolds when playthings meet our little flying friends.

DIYP: What initially drew you to capture these fun interactions between toys and birds? What unique artistic vision do you see in this approach?

Andrew: My mother has always been a strong welcomer of birds to our backyard (at one point counting to 12 bird feeders and houses)!! They’re no strangers to our property where I take most of my photos. I share that love for nature as well, in addition to toy photography. Occasionally…during my frequent toy photo sessions where I’d be trying to capture a figure amongst a nature backdrop, birds and other garden critters such as squirrels and chipmunks would make their way into the frame and make for a surprising outcome.

I was immediately intrigued and proactive in seeing if I could replicate or orchestrate it (being that I had so much friendly furry and feathered talent at my disposal). Thus, Toy MiniNatures came to be! The unique artistic vision of viewing toys and birds from a unique point of view. Capturing compelling toy scenarios within the miniature world around us.

DIYP: What are the most important details you choose to get the desired atmosphere in your shots?

One of the most important details to get the desired atmosphere in my shots is to ‘spotlight’ the toys and birds amongst nature… drawing the viewer’s eye to that special interaction between the bird and the figure. This has led me to create my own “bird landing platform” on a wooden post that rises high from the ground, where I set up my figures to greet them as they land for the shot. This platform allows for a grand distance between subject and background, blurring the nature behind them and creating sometimes gorgeous bokeh to support the main action that is being shown up front between the birds and toys.

DIYP: How do you capture these interactions’ inherent humor and whimsy? Does timing play a crucial role here?

Andrew: The inherent humor and whimsy interactions really start with the expressions on the figures I choose to photograph – and a connection somehow to the environment they’re placed in. But the craftsmanship of figures is super important to me. From there, I storyboard a scenario that can evoke those happy emotions when viewing the final photograph. Timing does play a crucial role when introducing the birds or squirrels. They are ever-vigilant, constantly moving their heads on a swivel to make sure the coast is clear for them to feed… I time my shots to the perspective where it seems they (and sometimes really do) are engaging with the figure or going in for the seed.

DIYP: What are your biggest technical challenges when taking photos?

The biggest challenges I face when taking these photos are not unlike other wildlife photographers, which are weather and noise. Add “feeding time” to that when it is optimal for birds to feed, which is early morning or late in the evening, and it can be quite tricky to coordinate a shot. Many times, wind moves the tripod and framing of the camera, which then throws off the alignment of the shot, which can make toys and birds out of frame.

DIYP: What advice would you offer aspiring photographers interested in similar concepts or miniature photography in general?

Andrew: Develop your patience through the various tasks you do. Don’t be disappointed if a shot doesn’t come out exactly as you planned. Sometimes, the best poses and visits are unplanned and make for an even better photo you never even intended for. The key is to wait for it to happen.

DIYP: Have you encountered any particularly funny, heartwarming, or surprising moments during your creative journey?

Andrew: It always amazes me how messy eaters birds can be. It often makes me laugh to see the seeds flying as they munch away on the bounty set up for them. You can view some of those instances in a few of my ToyMiniNature photographs, which I was lucky enough to capture. It’s also hysterical when they make eye contact with the camera lens!

DIYP: What gear do you normally use to get your shots?

Andrew: I shoot with a Canon EOS 90D DSLR, 300mm lens, Manfrotto tripod, Ziploc bag of bird seeds and acorns, and whatever accessories my action figures need to invest more in the immersion of their miniature world and their interactions with our feathered friends!

About Andrew

Andrew Camera is a toy photographer and video editor based in Medford, NY. He was drawn to the creative arts of film and photography at an early age. His art portrays the relationship between the real and the unreal, as it captures a world filled with nature and fantasy.

Ever since he was a boy, Andrew has been fascinated with the fantasy, anime, and sci-fi genres. He draws influences from Peter Jackson, Jim Henson, Phil Tippett, and Hayao Miyazaki. A miniature world of toys alongside nature’s elements and its inhabitants brings together the craftsmanship and beauty created by both humans and nature.

Enjoy more of Andrew’s photos below, and make sure to follow his work on his website, Instagram and YouTube.

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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