“Gun For Hire” by Damien Simmonds
Thanks to the advent of smartphone apps, the early 21st century photographer has no shortage of filters to choose from. Designed for quick and effective photo-editing, they are certainly useful tools in an artist’s arsenal but the temptation to abuse them can also be awful. Fortunately for his Instagram followers, self-described “bearded lawyer and geek” Damien Simmonds expertly utilizes them to great effect in his piece “Gun For Hire“. While the original photo is easily a strong piece in its own right, we appreciate how the filter helps in concealing the joints just enough to obscure the fact that they are action figures which gives the image a more life-like look and feel.
But we are not here to talk about photo filters, because ultimately it is Damien’s composition that makes the image shine. Photography connoisseurs and critics commonly acknowledge that great photographs always tell a story, and Damien’s work succeeds in doing exactly that. Fans of the white-armored Boba Fett have long known that the now-famous bounty hunter was originally slated to be a “supertrooper” character. While it’s unlikely that a gleaming white Boba Fett will ever be canon (but hey, you never know!) we love the idea that not only did he survive the Sarlacc, but remained a force to be reckoned with long enough for his services to be sought after by the First Order. This time, disintegrations are fair game.
Of course we would not be doing justice to Damien’s larger body of work if we only fixated on his white-armored Boba Fett images. Despite being new to the game and referring to his photography as “just a hobby”, Damien has already established a style that makes him distinct from his fellow toy photographers. This was achieved by his outside-the-box thinking that results in interesting top-down angles like “Stopped in His Tracks“, “Death From Above“, and “Jedi’s Assault“, or the unusual but effective mashup of Black Series and Micro Machines such was the case in “Chase” and the powerfully introspective “A Vision of the Future“.
As a bonus we are also featuring two additional images by Damien, accompanied by his own descriptions below.
Gun For Hire – “I have always believed Boba Fett made it out of the Sarlacc pit and carried on his mercenary ways. Seeing as he was initially designed as a Supertrooper, he naturally fits in next to these Stormtroopers. In this image I imagine that Boba was hired by General Hux for a mission that required his skill at disintegrations prior to the events in The Force Awakens. The trio are surveying the scene before engaging in their infiltration of a Resistance hideout.”
– Apple iPhone 6s
– Black Series Boba Fett Prototype
– Black Series First Order Trooper x2
Always Looking Over His Shoulder – “Boba Fett may be the best bounty hunter in the galaxy but there is always someone looking to take out the top gun and steal the bounty.”
Badass – “This portrait simply captures the quiet intimidating presence of the coolest character from the Star Wars universe.”
“I have been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember and shared a collection of the original Kenner toys with my older brother as a kid. I found Boba Fett to be the coolest character despite the little screen time he had. I have always felt that there was so much that could have done with the character and think that his imagery is iconic.
It was only recently that I got into toy photography when I found a bunch of Star Wars “Micro Machines” in storage. After watching The Force Awakens, my love for Star Wars was reignited and I started collecting the Hasbro 6 inch Black Series. I was very lucky to find a rare white Boba Fett in an independent comic store and he has become my favourite figure, even if he has one knee pad upside down.
All of my photos are taken on an iPhone and edited with filters and effects on Instagram. Normally I try to make the figures look like they are from a scene of a movie but the filters from the Prisma app have really turned my toys into art.”
Damien Simmonds lives in Manchester, UK and is a crime and regulatory lawyer by profession. He got into toy photography at the beginning of 2016 and launched his toy photography account @thebeardawakens in July of the same year. Star Wars or art fans who wish to purchase prints can reach Damien at firstname.lastname@example.org.