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Brian McCarty: Toys are My Passion («Брайан Маккарти: игрушки - моя страсть»)

29.01.2010

Эксклюзивное интервью с фотографом Брайаном Маккарти (Brian McCarty). Оригинальный текст интервью представлен на английском языке.

Toy photographer Brian McCarty is known for his unique and innovative still-life photography. His work fuses reality and hyperreality through the personification and pantomime of toy characters, integrated into actual settings through the use of forced perspective.

Regina: Brian, How you decided to focus on toy photography?

Brian: About the time I was supposed to grow up and stop playing with toys, they transitioned into the subjects for my early photography. Throughout art school and in my career since, toys have been what held my attention and fueled my vision. Long before the rise of the Art-Toy movement, toys have been my passion.

Regina: What was the first photograph of a toy that you took? When was that? Which toy was that?

Brian: It’s hard to say, really. I shot all of my toys growing up, but the photos weren’t anything spectacular. It’s hard to capture much with a 110 camera, but it didn’t stop me from trying to shoot my GI Joes, Transformers, and Star Wars figures in action. As for photos of my very early work, I have a rough series taken in 1992. It was done during my freshman year in art school, purely for my own enjoyment. Using a single roll of film and mostly paper sets and borrowed backgrounds, I illustrated the song "Mr. Jones" by the Talking Heads. Funny to look at it now.

Regina: What is the most difficult in your work?

Brian: Working on location is often challenging. It’s extremely unpredictable and hard to control, so it requires keeping an open mind while quickly working to solve problems. I often have an idea of the shot I want in my head, and it takes time to relax enough to really see what the location offers. In the end, the resulting photo is a blend of my imagination with the reality of a situation.

Regina: I like yourphotograph “Moon Wanderers” very much! Could you please tell about that shooting?

Brian: I fell in love with unpainted prototypes of the characters that I saw online, instantly imagining a scene of floating figures under a paper moon. I had hoped to photograph them on an upcoming trip to Wyoming. My plan was to mount the figures on metal rods driven into a lakebed. The camera would be placed on a semi-submerged tripod, and a very long exposure would make the water seem glassy, except for the rippled reflection of a paper moon suspended in the background. I spent a few days constructing a system that ensured the figures would be easy to work with and secure from even the smallest movement in the water.

Before leaving on the trip, I felt confident that I had a solid plan. As shooting on location tends to do, I was reminded once again that the best laid schemes often go awry. The location was the beautiful Two Ocean Lake inside Grand Teton National Park. Having been delayed in nearby Jackson Hole, I arrived just before sunset. My assistant and I worked to get the props and camera in place before dark. Despite having to rush, the plan was working perfectly.

Everything was set by the time the sun was below the Tetons. As we waited for the last glow of orange light to dim in the sky, I began to notice a growing army of leeches that was attaching itself to my waders. It was a little unnerving, but I remained focused on the task at hand. With the sky perfect, it was time to light and capture the scene. Midway through test exposures with the strobe, a large moose was seen looming in the water close off to our left. Although they tend to be docile, moose can be aggressive when agitated or protecting a calf. We made a lot of noise and popped the strobe in her direction, thankfully deterring her from getting any closer. With the moose gone, I worked to finish the shot. As the last exposures were taken, something new began splashing in the water off to our right. By now a mist had formed in the cold air, making it impossible for a flashlight to cut through and see. Whatever was making the noise, it sounded much larger than the spindly-legged moose. With that, we called the shot done. It was time to get back to shore, pack up, and get out of there. Careful planning had made the shot a reality, but the adventurous unpredictability of working on location threatened to make it go all awry.

Regina: What is the most exciting in your work?

Brian: For as challenging as locations can be, they offer a tremendous amount of excitement. It’s the ultimate excuse to travel and see the world in ways that I couldn’t otherwise. What also excites me is working with so many brilliant and talented artists. I feel very fortunate to have made the friends I have within the Art-Toy movement. It’s exciting to see the cutting edge of so much creativity.

Regina: In which countries have you been and which ones you would like to visit? Is Russia in any of the lists?

Brian: I haven't been to nearly as many countries as I'd like, even after traveling while living and working in Italy. Russia is very high on the list, and I'm currently in the planning stage for a possible project in the Middle East. I've yet to have an opportunity to visit China, Japan, and surrounding region. That will hopefully change soon as well!

Regina: Who helps you to think about ideas of the photographs?

Brian: The ideas are typically all mine, but I take inspiration from fellow artists either directly or indirectly. Ideally, I like to have a conversation with the artist behind the toy prior to shooting. He/She knows their character and the motivation behind it. I seek to capture the world from the perspective of the character.

Regina: Who are your main clients (type of clients)?

Brian: My commercial clients range from pop culture powerhouses such as MTV and Rockstar Games to art-toy companies such as STRANGEco. More and more though, I’m focusing on purely fine art work. I’ve been fortunate to find support, and I’m eager to begin new projects.

Regina: Has anybody ever addressed you with a request to make photo portfolio of their beloved toy? I hope this question does not sound strange, I personally was thinking about a photo portfolio of my toys-friends.

Brian: Actually, yes. A couple of my more prominent collectors have commissioned one-of-a-kind photos of their beloved toys. For one, I produced a mural size print of a vintage stuffed animal jumping and playing in a field of flowers. It’s been a really fun project.

Regina: What do you think, why adult people love toys?

Brian: Why wouldn’t they? :)

Regina: Do you have your own toy collection?

Brian: I do, and it’s gotten out of hand. My home is overflowing with toys, so much so that I can’t really fit anything more in. Now, I only try and collect the toys that I photograph. It’s important to me to save the original subjects of my photos.

Regina: How do you see the future of the Art-Toy movement?

Brian: It’s hard to say. The economic downturn has really changed the game. I’d like to think that the companies producing less innovative and interesting products won’t survive, leaving the others better positioned. But the reality is that the people pushing the medium take the biggest risks. An artist can starve for a while and get by while they pursue their passion. A toy company can’t survive in the same way. I fear that unless collectors continue supporting the smaller, cutting edge companies, we will lose a lot of the momentum and originality of the Art-Toy movement.

Regina: Do you think it would be interesting to make a series of folk toy photos?

Brian: I’d love to produce a series looking at local cultures reflected through the folk toys they create.

Regina: What would you like to wish our project ToysLife.Ru?

Brian: Aside from simply wishing you success, I hope that the project can act as a continued bridge between artists and cultures. Through toys, we've all found a common passion, and it amazing to see the worldwide movement that surrounds it. 

Текст интервью на русском языке - http://www.toyslife.ru/info/articles/264.html 

Visit here for more information about Brian McCarty http://www.brianmccarty.com/

Подготовила Регина Лочмеле

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