What do old Teddy's spend their days doing when their kid has outgrown them? Do they get together and play like in Toy Story? Or do they spend their days and nights dreaming of a life long gone?
Of COURSE, we all KNOW they just sit in the box in the attic or closet gathering dust, right? But - have you CHECKED lately???
The idea for this shot came while using Teddy as a posing dummy for a self-portrait I was trying. I was trying for a back-lit shot of me in my Australian Akubra hat and needed a stand-in to set focus. The test shots of the bear looked so good I thought there might be something I could do with them.
The bear was given to me by Ben's family after the seam down it's back had split - the kids stopped playing with it and moved on to other toys as they outgrew their stuffies. I was thinking about their family as I searched through my history of child portraits. It seemed fitting that a member of Teddy's family should be in the dream.
This is a multi-layer composite. In the original picture of Ben he wasn't holding Teddy, but his smile and the position of his arms were just too good to pass up. I pulled Teddy from the original background and put everything in front of a "Solid Color" layer, then added a layer of clouds between him and his dream.
By the time I had the idea for this image, I'd already torn down my set and put everything away, so the lighting on the shots of Teddy didn't match any of the child portraits I had to work with.
To make this work I had to do some magic: I made a copy of Teddy, flipped him and shrunk him down to fit between Ben's hands (Teddy is almost as tall as Ben was when the image of Ben was captured). Aggressive work on the rim lights to tone them down then some dodging and burning to get light and shadow on his face in the same realm. I couldn't dial it in any better and finally called it quits around 3:00 AM. Hopefully it's enough to keep the differences from grabbing your attention.
Strobist info: One Elinchrom 500BxRi in a 4x6 softbox set in tabletop fashion (parallel to the floor, facing straight down) behind Teddy, and a 3' square silver reflector in front to lift the shadows just enough. Black seamless 6' behind the softbox, black sheet on the wall to camera right to control bounce light.