Prototype Boba Fett on Hoth by Isaiah Takahashi (@blksrs)
We would be willing to bet that pretty much any Star Wars toy photography fan on Instagram is now familiar with the hashtag #C3PBros_JSI, a heavy-hitting collaboration of three of the most talented photographers in the genre. We have previously spoken to two of them, Spencer Witt and Jason Yang, and we are very pleased to now have the privilege of speaking with the last (but not least) member of the group: Isaiah Takahashi.
One glance at Isaiah’s work and it’s obvious that he has all the bases covered: outdoor settings, digital post-processing, or studio lighting (sometimes even inside a microwave), he has clearly mastered them all. True to his cinematic style, he is also capable of crafting images that could pass for still frames pulled straight out of a movie. The fact that his work comes in such a wide spectrum of ambiances and moods shows that Isaiah is not afraid to experiment or challenge the limits of his knowledge and potential, a trait shared by all veteran artists at the height of their powers.
Except that conclusion is dead wrong. Isaiah is actually far from the peak of his abilities because he has only just started, having been barely a year since his first serious attempt at photography. Sure, he may have some experience in videography to draw on, but any accomplished photographer or videographer will tell you that the two are completely different animals. If Isaiah is already this good now, we can only imagine the masterpieces he will create with a few more years of shooting under his belt.
We can’t wait to see them.
Please tell us three interesting facts about yourself.
I’ve been working as a 3D modeler, animator, and designer since I was 16 years old, I am one of nine children in my family, and I didn’t know the Black Series figures existed until I decided I wanted to find a “cool” Captain Phasma toy!
What was your earliest Star Wars memory?
This is a tricky one. I honestly can’t remember my very first Star Wars memory. My entire childhood was absolutely obsessed with all things Star Wars. If I were to pick out a memory that really sticks out in my mind, it would be the first time I saw Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Say what you want about that movie, but I remember sitting there with my brother at the midnight showing. Hearing the music and seeing the crawl on the big screen was exhilarating and something I’ll always remember.
Your Instagram feed kicked off with killer photos from the start. Do you have previous photography experience to draw on?
Thank you! While my main background and experience is mostly in 3D animation, I do have some experience in videography. Bringing that experience over to photography was definitely helpful! I’ve always been interested in photography, but didn’t really get serious about it until I started @Blksrs.
How would you describe your toy photography style?
My goal is always to try and create images that look cinematic. Whether it’s an action shot or a portrait, hopefully the look and feel comes across as a scene from a movie. That’s the goal at least! I try to approach each shot with a fresh slate and just see where it goes. I’d like to think my style is always evolving, especially as I learn new tricks and techniques. We have a great Instagram community of photographers, and it’s great to teach and learn from each other.
The featured photo was part of the #C3PBros_JSI subset you have with @swittpics and @workmoreorless and has some of the most realistic-looking snow we have ever seen in toy photography. What is the story behind this image? Where is Boba Fett and what is he up to?
Thank you for the kind words! I’d like to think that Boba Fett is on Hoth in this shot. Hunting his next contract, undeterred by the raging snow storm around him. The entire setup was actually taken inside my microwave at home. I used an amazing product, Atmosphere Aerosol, to get the foggy haze and added the snow in Photoshop. I’ve since been able to do a few shots using flour as a practical snow effect which I think is a much better solution.
What are some future goals you have as a toy photographer?
I think I’d like to just keep doing what I’m doing. It’s so great taking photos and sharing with the community. Being able to interact with like-minded people from all around the world is quite amazing. I’ve made so many new friends. I’m looking forward to just seeing where the journey goes. For me, it’s just about taking photos of toys and being like a kid again.
What advice would you offer to someone who is new to toy photography?
Just have fun with it! Don’t worry about the likes, followers, or features. Do it because you like it, not for the recognition. Learn from the community and try to push yourself to get better. If you do that, the recognition will come. We have an amazing community just waiting to help you out. Just be cool!
About the Artist
Isaiah Takahashi lives in southern California and is the CG Director at Related Grey. He and his wife became parents in 2015 with the birth of their daughter, who can’t wait to help her dad take pictures. Isaiah can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.