I Photograph Kermit The Frog Having Crazy Adventures James Hawk September 22, 2017 Lifestyle, Photography 22 I’m a toy photographer that loves creating images and stories from a wide range of characters. I’m drawn to characters that are fun, quirky and endearing. One of my favorite characters to create stories around is Kermit the Frog, from The Muppets. Kermit is a character that has been around for decades but seems as relevant today as he did when he was first introduced to us in 1955. He’s one of those rare characters that work in heartwarming situations, as well as humorous or adventurous ones. He also has a rare wit and sarcasm about him, uncommon among children’s characters. I love to take advantage of all of that in my imagery. I use practical effects in my images, meaning pretty much everything you see in my photos is real and was photographed real-time in the scene. Real liquid splashes, real explosions, real fun! Thanks for spending time with Kermit. If you like what you see go check out my Instagram, where you’ll find all of my toy photos…hundreds of fun images of different toys and characters. More info: Instagram “Excuse me, a little privacy please!” One of the things I set out to accomplish with my toy photography is to show characters in unexpected ways. Do I think this image accomplished that? Does a frog poop in the woods (in an outhouse)?? To bee or not to bee… Believe it or not, I had someone actually ask me, “why bees?” To which I replied, “Well, that is the question.” And this, people, is how you get a frog in your throat! I draw inspiration for my images from a lot of different places. Often times ideas can spring from language itself – slang, metaphors, idioms, a play on words. ‘Getting a frog in one’s throat’ is where I got this idea from. It’s a strange term that I decided to take literally for this image. “Ahhhh, nothing like a nice soak to relax and…” “Cannonbaaaaaaallll!!” Sometimes ideas come from real life experiences. Who hasn’t been in this situation before (or maybe you were the one doing the cannonballing!)? I love working with water, especially when splashes are involved. A great splash has a personality of its own, and can add drama and movement to an image. Water is among the most challenging effects to pull off, mostly because it’s so uncontrollable. Normally a splash can take many, many attempts before getting something I like. It’s time consuming because so much cleanup and resetting of the scene is required between each take. i was shocked, though, when I nailed this splash on my first try. That never happens! The Tao Of Kermit A very enlightened frog. So enlightened, in fact, that his is floating into the air. I’m going to try and remember to bring some of this calm with me as next Monday rolls around. Salad, Kermit? Or is it a Kermit salad! I never know where my next idea will come from. This image was inspired by a fun story in the news recently about a woman who found a tiny live frog in her prepackaged, ready to eat salad. She and her family ended up keeping it as a pet and named it Lucky. (I would have named him Kermit!) To overcome life’s rapids, one just needs to find balance Easier said than done, but definitely worth the effort! High Plains Drifter An homage of sorts to my favorite cowboy actor – the Good, the Bad, the not Ugly at all…Clint Eastwood! Also, that’s Bullseye the horse from Toy Story, in case you didn’t know. I’ll often combine characters that have no right being together for the sake of the story. Or perhaps just for shock value. Who’s your favorite actor, cowboy or otherwise? When Frogs and Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth! A frog piloting a pterodactyl over a prehistoric landscape? Let’s file this under ‘unexpected.’ Life’s An Adventure! Sit down, Robin! (Robin is the froglet up front, Kermit’s nephew.) Anyone who knows anything about canoeing knows that a surefire way to tip a canoe is to stand up in it. A tipped over canoe here wouldn’t be so unexpected, which is probably why I didn’t show it. Best Buddies When it comes down to it, I’m creating images with plastic toys that are devoid of any life or emotion. If I’m able to bring emotion and feeling to an image, and make the viewer feel those same things, I’ll consider the image a success. I love and embrace that challenge. (Hug…embrace…see what I did there?) Mission Implausible! This lily pad will self-destruct in 10, 9, 8… (credit to my friend thedolljunkie for that perfect sub-caption!) This was an actual, fiery explosion using fireworks. Don’t try this at home kids! No, really, don’t try this at home…it wouldn’t take much to be seriously burned. Explosions are a trendy special effect right now among those who photograph super hero toys and Star Wars toys. This image is kind of a dig at that trend, since Kermit rarely has a chance to be seen as an action hero. He’s a lover, not a fighter! Kermit’s Magic Carpet Ride This image was inspired by a rather hefty tax bill I had to pay earlier this year. Months have passed and I still see very little joy in this image. California dreaming, on such a winter’s day… I created this image last winter as a beacon of hope for people across the country who were suffering through freezing weather and record snowfall. And although Southern California did have record rainfall, effectively ending one of the worst droughts this state has seen, much of my winter was spent running around in my usual t-shirt and jeans. “Move over Snoopy! The real Flying Ace has arrived!” Robin gets his moment in the sun…his 15 minutes of fame. Enjoy, Robin! Still my guitar gently weeeeeeps… I look at the world and I notice it’s turningWhile my guitar gently weepsWith every mistake we must surely be learningStill my guitar gently weeps An homage to The Beatles and Eric Clapton. Did you SEE what I SAW? This photo was taken on my kitchen table. What’s cool about toy photography is that you can create amazing worlds in the most mundane locations – your kitchen table, a corner of the porch, the stone patio in the backyard. Add some props, spill some water, creatively light the space…these things and more can transform a space into something completely different that what it is. Give a frog a fly and you feed him for a day. Teach a frog how to catch flies and you feed him for a lifetime. That’s how that saying goes, right? This is another example of combining two different toy properties that don’t really belong together. Except that they’re frogs and flies, so they kind of do belong together! The fly is a LEGO figure. Life is but a dream… I love that lyric. It’s like this mysterious little thought hiding in plain sight in one of the most popular children’s songs ever. Surfing Safari! Kermit hangs eight! (go ahead, count his toes!) Butterfly Garden When I look at this image I can’t help but think of my daughter when she was small, walking hand in hand with me just like Kermit and Robin are doing here. The magic and wonder she saw in the world was amazing, and I loved seeing that magic and wonder through her eyes.