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Rolling Old School: Original Star Wars Toy Photography

I don't know how I ran into this here on the eve of 2015, but I am glad I did. Product photography has never been particularly easy to do well, and I love being reminded of the fact that it used to all be done without extensive use of Adobe Photoshop CC14. These images, shot by Kim David McNeill Simmons for toymaker Kenner between 1977 and 1985, showcase basically my childhood: Star Wars toys.

As much of a fan of classic toys as I am, I admit I am not a rabid toy collector. As such, I don't own any mint-in-box examples of my old Star Wars toys, but I do still have many of them in various conditions. I think the coolest part about seeing these photos is they are a time machine to my youth. I haven't seen these toys in mint condition in 25-30 years, so talk about a serious trip down memory lane for me.

Image credited to The Man Who Shot Luke Skywalker/Kim David McNeill Simmons.

But more to the point, these days I am not just a 10 year old fan of Star Wars, but also a photographer, so I have a whole new appreciation of these images. For example, I never noticed the focal length on these shots as a kid (of course), but it is now clear how brilliantly these no-way-arbitrary decisions add a perception of size and scale to various scenes / sets on each shot. It is all about the details.

Image credited to The Man Who Shot Luke Skywalker/Kim David McNeill Simmons.

Check out the huge stash of images on Simmons' site, and take a trip back to your youth. Unless you're 20. Then I can't really help you. 

(UPDATE: It seems Simmons' site has been loading inconsistently for many. I would guess this is due to the traffic from these photos being so popular. If you get an error when visiting, wait a bit and try again.)

All images credited to Kim David McNeill Simmons, also known as The Man Who Shot Luke Skywalker.  

[via io9]

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2 Comments

Rob Ert's picture

Great images, but isn't it obvious that they weren't 'extensively' using 'Adobe Photoshop CC14' or any photoshop for that matter. Still very likely though that they were Scitexed or Paintboxed, even if just for a general cleanup and for colour and tone adjustments.

Nino Batista's picture

Of course, very obvious indeed. It is just good to remember the old days with my father and how he used to shoot (portraits) from the late 70's to the early 90's. Lots of tricks were used, even for him, but these days we all too often see amazing images and think "Great edit" - not to mention the casual non-photographers of the world assume *everything* is "just shopped" (a term I hate)