Sunday, August 28, 2016

STGCC 2016: Booth Highlight - HRJoe Photography Talks About His Techniques and His Fave Toys!

One of Red Dot Diva's favourite things to do in STGCC is wandering around Artist Alley. More of than not, there is a credible level of accessible and appealing artistic endeavours in that section of the show floor.

Red Dot Diva is excited to note that there are several new exhibitors and booths by local and regional creators in this year's convention. One of those exhibitors is HRJoe Photography.

Fans might be familiar with HRJoe Photography's cheeky superhero toy images, like the one show below. This photo has also been noticed and shared by Iron-Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. A couple of his other images have also been shared by the legendary Stan Lee!

With an increase in fan interest, HRJoe Photography has started boothing at various conventions, including Asia Pop Comicon Manila which just wrapped up yesterday. He will soon head to STGCC where he will be offering art prints for sale. After which, he has plans to exhibit at Italy's Festival del Fumetto in September and then back home for Indonesia Comic Con in October.

As you can see, HRJoe Photography has a very busy schedule ahead of him! So, Red Dot Diva is glad to be able to catch him for a few minutes to answer some nosy questions. And in case you are wondering, his name is not Joe!

Red Dot Diva: We'll like to get to know a little about you. Could you give us a short introduction about yourself?
Edy: My name is Edy Hardjo, I usually use pseudo name of hrjoe in social media and other online forum. I am an 1/6th action figure collector from Jakarta, Indonesia. I started my hobby of toys photography since 3 years ago.

Red Dot Diva: Do you remember your first toy photography shoot? How did that go, what was the subject, and what inspired you to start on this hobby?
Edy: As a 1/6th collector, I join several toys collectors group in Facebook where I saw many collectors take cool photos of their collection, and that made me want to try it myself. I remember my first attempt where I try to create a battle scene of Hulk vs Iron Man, and if I look at that photo again today, I must say it was really bad. Later, after more practice by trial and error, I got better. Till one day, I tried to create a parody scene, the Hulk Pee photo, my first parody photo with very rough digital editing. This photo was soon become quite popular in those groups. This encourage me to create more, and since then, I realize that my specialty would be super heroes parody photos.

Red Dot Diva: Ladies and gentlemen, here's the Hulk Pee photo for your viewing pleasure.  

Red Dot Diva: On average, how long does it take to set up your shoots, and what was your most elaborate diorama?

Edy: It really depends on the complexity of the scene. I usually start with a simple idea in mind, about a small scene that includes 1 or 2 characters, then try to put more characters in the scene to make it more complex. This includes what each character's role and pose will be, and whether it is possible to pose the figure that way because of limited articulation.

After I feel that the scene can be created, I start to pose the real figures. Posing can take 30 minutes to hours, the more character involved, the longer it takes. After posing is done, then I prepare and arrange my photography equipment and shoot the picture. This also can takes lots of time, 30 minutes to hours, because sometimes I must re-arrange the position to get a better composition in the photo, which sometimes means that I have to change the initial scenario.

Besides posing, lighting arrangement also takes time. Sometimes I have to take couple of shots of the same picture with different lighting position to be combined later in digital processing. Finally, there is time needed for digital processing, which also depends on the complexity of the scene. Sometimes I must create a practically impossible pose using this graphic manipulation. It can take 2-5 hours.

Red Dot Diva: I see you use a lot of action figures from Hot Toys. Is that your favourite brand and why? Do you use action figures from other brands as well? 
Edy: Yes, Hot Toys is my favourite since it’s the best and the only 1/6th movie-based superheroes action figures available today. The detail and quality are very good. The other brand that I love is King Arts. This is the 1/9th scale diecast figure. Their products are always designed creatively. 

Red Dot Diva: How do you process your ideas? Do you jot them down, or record them with mock ups? 
Edy: I never write/record any of my ideas. When ideas strike, I only circle it around my mind. For example, when I get ideas of Black Widow was going through labour, I was just brainstorming in my head what I can include in the scene. She should be grabbing someone hands, pull someone hair, somebody should be passed out/or scare when he saw the labor process, etc, etc… everything that usually happens when giving birth. I plan on who should do what? and where should be put on the scene. 

Red Dot Diva: What are you thoughts with regards to "too much photoshopping"? For you, how do you judge what is a good balance when using Photoshop after the shoot?
Edy: No, for me in digital photography, Photoshop is inevitable. Especially when the action figure itself is always limited in articulation, expression and accessories. For example, I want Batman to hold a breast pump. There’s no 1/6th breast pump available. So, I have to photoshop it. For me, to create a scene, if the real item is not available, then I will photoshop it. No limitation. 

Red Dot Diva: Do you have any fave toy photographers?
Edy: Hernandez Dreamphography. His toys photography is really hardcore. Creative and detailed arrangement, perfect execution and excellent digital editing. 

Red Dot Diva: How do you think your own photography stands out amongst the other toy photographers out there?
Edy:  I just want to create something different but also enjoyable for everyone. And my style is superheroes parody.

Red Dot Diva: Any practical tips for those starting out?
Edy: High-end equipment is not a must. The most important is your technique. Secondly, don’t be afraid to do something different. For example, some might say that Photoshop is cheating. I say no, in the end, the only thing matter is will people love your work. Finally, keep learning for more. 

Red Dot Diva: I suppose this is your first time putting up a booth at STGCC? What will you be exhibiting and what do you have to offer to those who will be attending the convention?  
Edy: I will sell some prints of my existing photos, but my main intention for joining STGCC is exposure and meet new people. 

Remember to swing by STGCC's Booth AA84 to give Edy a warm welcome and appreciate his wonderful toy photography. Perhaps, Edy will also be able to offer an advice or two to novice toy photographers attending the convention!

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