Art

This Mumbai-based photographer is creating scenes from superhero movies using household items

Joker falling off a building

Joker falling off a building   | Photo Credit: Arjun Menon

Buildings made of dumbbells, lava made of jello: Arjun Menon has been using his time during the lockdown to click Batman and Joker in action

In the photograph Joker (of Batman fame) falls off a building, his evil grin intact. You may be forgiven for thinking it is a still from the film. Look closer and you will see the Joker is but an action figure and the buildings behind him are made of AC vents, bluetooth speakers, keyboards and dumbbells. The street lamps you see in the picture are actually rice lights and candle LEDs.

The photograph is a result of Mumbai-based photographer Arjun Menon’s boredom. It was frustrating being in lockdown because just before it, he had shot a series of pictures with the Indian Army in action with tanks, guns and helicopters. He began looking for creative ways to keep his photography going and looking around found some interesting ideas. “I have always loved my old action figures, so featuring them was an obvious choice. I started looking for things within my house that would help me create a background. And suddenly, a whole new world opened up. I realised that ordinary objects, clicked from a certain angle, can create an illusion. These could be anything from a cheese grater to an oven, or even a computer cabinet,” he says.

Batman and Joker in a fight

Batman and Joker in a fight   | Photo Credit: Arjun Menon

What started as a one-time thing has turned into a series of 12 images. His other pictures include Batman in a fight with Joker with Gotham city burning behind them, Wolverine cornered by his enemies, and Predator and Terminator locking horns. He says, “I have been a professional photographer for nine years, but this project has been a completely new learning process. With each image, I seem to have a better idea of how to compose a frame and what camera angles to use so that the image looks more realistic. This series has taught me so much about perspective, scale, and lighting.

Terminators in a lake made of jello

Terminators in a lake made of jello   | Photo Credit: Arjun Menon

He posts each picture along with behind-the-scenes videos, on his Instagram handle @artleavesmark. “It takes at least four to seven days to create each image.” Some are tougher than others, and perhaps the most difficult of the lot was the ‘Self aware-Terminator’. “I wanted to shoot a scene filled with molten lava. It took me days to figure about a way to make the lava. Finally, I thought of orange jelly as a possible solution, and my wife and I made a big batch of it. The viscosity and colour worked perfectly.”

Arjun says that post-lockdown, he will continue to shoot for the series. “The thrill of creating something visually pleasing with abstract props is always a challenge. I love to learn and train myself to think differently.”

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 1:42:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/this-mumbai-based-photographer-is-creating-scenes-from-superhero-movies-using-household-items/article31843188.ece

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