I absolutely love this photo taken by American photographer Doug DuBois. He was visiting his sister in New York when he noticed that her son had laid out his toy dinosaurs in a herd. I’ll let him tell you the rest:
“I was captivated. They reminded me of a shot I love: a child's-eye view of toys taken by the great French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue. It took me about five hours to set up. I kept moving the toys to get the light perfect and to echo Lartigue's composition. I taped a load of Spencer's books into a pile and put my camera on top, but it kept moving. By the time I got it right, I was so angry I only took one photograph. That's madness! You never do that – not as a professional photographer. I use a 4x5, one of those big, heavy cameras with a black hood. The results are incredibly detailed.”
He can say that again, everyone I show this shot to thinks it’s a painting.
I find the image very positive and hopeful, the toys have a life of their own (I blame Toy Story) but Doug thinks the opposite:
“This shot makes me feel sad. It just looks like something is over: a childhood maybe, or even a life. It's also a reference to the march of the dinosaurs in Disney's Fantasia; they were marching towards extinction. The chair is very important, too, for scale, balance and a feeling of emptiness.
My photography is about the dissolution – and the disillusion – of family. There's something of that in these dinosaurs. People look at it and think: "Oh, that's nice." Then they look more and see it's –actually a dark, disturbing shot.”
Doug’ thinks this is his best shot.
I couldn’t agree more.