Article – A Toys Story or Finding Loki By Benamon Tame
Benamon Tame has written a first class article here, looking at an image he originally captured with his iPhone 3G in 2010. He recently revisited this image and with the current crop of mobile photography apps, he takes us through the process of creating some incredible creative art from it. Don’t miss this (foreword by Joanne Carter).
‘A Toys Story or Finding Loki… (and that will be the last Disney reference!)
This is a story about a grown man and dolls, not actually as dodgy as it might read, although the finished pieces end up a little more dodgy, just a different sort. This is really more a story about props and in particular one prop, the doll who now appears under the name of Loki.
I first met Loki at the house of a relative, I was visiting with my family and they had brought out some old toys to keep my daughters entertained, needless to say when the Doll was brought out my girls didn’t get a look in. He had been a childhood toy amongst many and even his original name had been forgotten, thought it was commented that he had always looked creepy. He is the archetypal wide eyed innocent but with something not quite right. He reminds me of the Vault boy cartoon character from the computer game series Fallout, cheery 1950’s smiles as he talks about the wonders of the Atomic Age, how how to dispose of radiation dead, but I digress.
My first shots with the Doll were with my first iPhone a 3G, the one that got me hooked on all of this, taken with the default camera app and then later edited with CameraBag, Light Leak, Camera Kit and Fotomuse The series had no name and the individual images no titles, the date stamp on my Flickr for them is may 6th 2010. When I took them I had the vague Idea in my head of the Doll (still nameless) moving around the rooms, but never seen moving, and another face behind the plastic.
I revisited the shoot again in 2011, picking my favorites and editing them with Iris Photo suite, moving into a darker dirtier look and a sickly green parlor for hero (?). The doll became an intruder to the house, moving at night and watching. This ended up becoming the Lost Boy Toy Series. In the last three pieces became far more constructed pieces, although this was in the days before Juxtapose and Superimpose, I would build layers individually in Photo Mess and then blend together using Iris Photo suite.
My final piece for the series was ‘Still Red Inside’ and was more an accident, Juxtapose had been released and I was seeing what it could do and used the Doll and a random shot from my already started bank of textures and elements. Blending the two sparked off the idea for the final image and using a new shot of the Doll , which by now I had acquired on permanent loan , and the image was constructed in Juxtaposer and then finished off in Iris Photo suite. All of these had titles and some story in my head as created them, both vital parts of how I work now.
I didn’t think of the Doll again until after I had started Calopie, the first piece in my current series the Lost Toy Room (again with the Lost!) even as I finished her I knew I wanted more and that the Doll would be featured. The Doll was used as parts in constructing Babel, Janus, Grub, Echo and Frith but became him self finally in Loki.
I had in my head a timeline of events from the Toys awakening and Loki claiming it was his doing, a period of rule and then misrule by him before his final exile to stand in the corner, The toys still using their experiences with children to define their actions. I wanted to introduce Loki in exile, bits had been explained in the stories of the other toys but for Loki I wanted to show him at the end and all his evil exposed
The set up was just the toy and some rolled up paper to make his dunce cap. Taken using Procamera I added the D using Photolr and then cleaned up the hat in Juxtaposer, using sampled bits to remove the seams; I wanted the hat to be a clear contrast to the grime elsewhere in the image. Still in juxtasposer, samples from elsewhere in the image were used to create the damaged limbs and then wires added from the stock images I have built up (the wires are tubes from a gas mask) Grunge was added using scratchcam and Iris Photosuite, the layers built up so the image still kept its shape and the figure wasn’t merged into the background wall with too much texture. The image was then pushed through Snapseed and then tweaked in Pictureshow . The next piece in the series will be Loki in his glory and sat upon his Toy Room throne…
The Loki has been with me from the beginning of my journey into photography, I can look back and see the images of him changing and developing as I gained more skill and experience. The images also show the changes as I discovered who I was as an artist and the direction I wanted to take, what would become my ‘style’ and how I would express myself and fulfill my need to create and tell stories.
© Benamon Tame – The Price of Games – Loki’
Apps mentioned and used with Loki and the Lost Toy Room Series:
Iris Photo Suite
That moment when the hair on my neck stood on end……
Nice to hear the mechanics of how! Thank you.
Shamanic, deeply ritualistic, shades of the Brothers Quay thrown in. The manipulation of dolls is the exploration of the imaginal.
Some of the strongest work I have seen in a while.
Thank you for sharing, Benamom… It’s such a pleasure to learn about the journey and process behind your gorgeous images!
This was great Benamon! I’m such a fan of this series so it was really nice to get “behind the scenes” so to speak. 😀
Love it! Thank you for sharing your techniques, Benamom.