[school] toy soldiers

May 1, 2010 § 8 Comments

Bought a $2.40 pack of toy soldiers to shoot for the poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen. It’s one of the typographic projects for school. Everyone chooses their own poem to layout in a square booklet, complete with images. Decided to try out some shots first, borrowing  Jonny’s camera (a Panasonic DMC-GF1) which is a true-blue beauty. Unfortunately, halfway through I had to return it, so hello again, my tiny Canon Ixus!

Since I obviously have no lightbox, no DSLR and no proper equiment in my house, I settled for A3 size paper filched from my mother (who’s a kindergarten teacher, so she has a lot of barang-barang), 2 old mooncake boxes and masking tape. As well as kept praying for the sun to keep shining. Haha. Obviously some of the colour/clarity/lighting differed in the end, but I guess they’ll have to do for now.

While I was buying the toy soldiers, I was partially appalled/partially resigned to the mercenary phenomenon that is commercialization.

These weren’t just plain green soldiers, these were American soldiers. There were also packs of Japanese soldiers with their ear-flap hats, Germans soldiers with Nazi uniforms (i think?), British soldiers and their water-cans (they would have been more historically accurate for the poem, and they had the best uniforms, but they were coloured dune…who would want dirty yellow soldiers?), etc. The faces were modeled differently too. I believe the Germans had mustaches.

Whatever the case, why give them races? Why teach children how to choose different nations to fight with one another. Couldn’t the manufacturers be satisfied with Army A fighting with Army B,  or Army Red vs Army Blue?

I know it’s probably  to differentiate one’s generic product for better sales, but I don’t know….it just got me thinking. I wonder whether we can boil most prejudices we know down to a toy form. Like Barbies or trucks vs cooking sets.


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§ 8 Responses to [school] toy soldiers

  • Daryl says:

    Very nice! Even more impressive with the stuff you had on hand to use it!

  • iammyy says:

    i did a project once (almost similar) with these toy soldiers ! and yes, that’s the best way to take photos although i like my backdrop to be a piece of black cloth (for some strange reason, i felt that they stood out better)

    nicely done ! and if u need help, i’m just a call away ! =)

  • Nabilah says:

    I like the second photo sherms! But interesting discourse on the differentiated nationalities of the soldiers and the consequent stereotyping of features, accessories, etc – although I have to say that I would love to get a set of NS boy soldiers – just for posterity, i mean! 🙂

  • vince. says:

    OH MY. this is super nice.

  • Evan says:

    I’m guessing #1, 3, 5 are from GF1 while #2, 4, 6 is from Ixus? Both sets have pretty nice DOF.


    • sherms says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Evan. #2, 3 , 4 are taken with the Ixus 🙂 I was wondering why your name sounded so familiar, then I realised I saw your work in Culturepush – like that piece immensely, so your name was stuck in my head!

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