Published: 18th January 2021
This Chennai student is clicking some awesome action shots with your favourite Marvel superheroes. Check it out!
Hariharan Vijayasarathy's tryst with toy photography led him and the Indian team to win silver at the Toy Pic Olympics 2020
Photographing toys had been a hobby for Hariharan Vijayasarathy but it was only during the lockdown that he could really explore it to his heart's content. "The lockdown coincided with the time when my entrance exams with various universities had just gotten over. Usually, I would go out and explore the streets to take photos. But the lockdown made it impossible and all my plans after my exams had to be cancelled," says Hariharan. Bored at home, Hariharan decided to take out his old toys, which he had been collecting since his childhood. Among them were some Hasbro action figures of some of the most popular Marvel Comics characters — Spiderman, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Daredevil and Thanos. He used these figures to create stunning action shots from the comics and movies and even added some special effects!
So, how did he achieve it? Hariharan narrates, "I used some household things like a garden spray to create a rain effect in the background. I also used some old tiles, used pipes lying outside my house to create the scene of a city. I was careful to shoot only using natural light." To create a scene and make it more authentic, Hariharan takes inspiration from the lanes of Chennai, especially those around his residence. "Once I made a wooden box out of ice cream sticks and used the net bag in which onions are often sold in the background. It looked like a city street and I placed Spiderman on the boxes to take the shot," he says. "I also use fireworks to give the effect of an explosion," the 23-year-old adds.
Spiderman | Pic: Hariharan Vijayasarathy
Hariharan's fascination with toys led him to participate in the Toy Pic Olympics 2020. Representing team India, Hariharan was part of a six-member team in the contest hosted by the international ToyPic Community. "The community encourages toy collection and photography. Most toy collectors around the world are part of this community and they host this annual event," explains Hariharan about the event. The Indian team consisted of photographers from various parts of the country, including Maharashtra and Goa. The team placed second in the event.
Hariharan is pursuing his Master's in Engineering in Computer Integrated Manufacturing at Anna University. He graduated from SRM Institute of Science and Technology with a BTech in Mechanical Engineering
Speaking about the photo that won him the silver medal, Hariharan says, "The topic this year was sports and each of the six members had to submit a photo. I chose to depict karate. I had a toy Minion, which stood on one leg while the other one was lifted upwards. I used it to create a scene where the toy was removing the cap off a bottle with a flying kick. It was based on the Bottle Cap Challenge, which went viral on Instagram at the time." Hariharan prides himself on the fact that it was the highest voted photo in the contest.
Being a toy enthusiast, Hariharan says that he has never disposed of any of his toys. "I even kept the toys I got from McDonald's and Kinder Joy," he says. He collects Hasbro action figures because he feels that they are flexible enough to pose according to his will and much easier to take photographs of. "I have kept these toys locked in a box in the loft. I usually take them out when I plan to shoot and then wash them and put them back," says Hariharan. He has been into photography since his childhood. "Earlier, I would use my father's old digital camera. Then, I got my DSLR in the first year of college. That is when I really fell in love with photography. I would wake up early in the morning to track the sunrise and travel around the city during the weekends and other holidays," says Hariharan.
Some of his other photos:
The photo that received the most number votes at the Toy Pic Olympic 2020 | Pic: Hariharan Vijayasarathy