Getting to the Next Question

“It just might turn out that we’re hard-wired to look for questions rather than answers – that answers are merely the delivery system for getting us to the next question.”

– Ted Orland, The View from the Studio Door

The history of Toy Photography isn’t something that’s discussed. Photographers who have historically used toys within their work are grouped within Fabricated Photography, Staged Photography or Still Life, and rightfully so. But because of this, there’s no info that drills down into the specific niche of Toy Photography.

That’s where I come in. I started researching with Fabrications by Anne H. Hoy and from there, with each discovery came more questions. The history of miniatures (*)to the overarching history of toy photography to specifics as to the artists within that history (still more of those to come), to modern day toy photography and speculations on the future.

I checked out books from the library, I bought books, I flipped through books all in the search for more artists, for earlier artists, to discover in this realm. I found toy photographers from 1898, found connections back to the invention of photography, created a listing of photographers currently working in the medium to help continue tracking toy photography’s history (I have a couple of you to add), have researched the history of the still life, of surrealism (another post coming on this), of photography as art, and generally things surrounding my main research.

So with all these questions answered and exhausted, what’s next? I know my search isn’t over. I want to find images people created of toys in the past that aren’t in history books (like the one below), I want to finish researching Freud and current dream research, Dali, the rise of amateur photography. There are less shiny photography topics I want to discuss, but I haven’t quite figured out how.

Mrs. W. W. Blanton Still Life: Shot on a Kodak 3A Autographic Special. The photographer, who lived in Riverside, Md., won a $5 prize. 1929.

I’ll work on those posts, but as my questions get more expansive and less precise, I guess I’ll keep flipping through photo history books in the hopes of seeing an image with toys, looking through photo albums at antique and thrift stores and seeing what’s within, and all around, seeing what else comes my way.

If you have questions you want answered, historic photos you’d like to share, or books to recommend, let me know in a comment below or send me an email[email protected]

Read more:

The History of Toy Photography

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