Highlands & Islands

Star Wars figure Eric takes Instagram by storm

Darryll Jones photograph of Star Wars stormtrooper in Cairngorms Image copyright Darryll Jones

Images of a Star Wars action figure posed on a mossy wall in the Cairngorms and taking in a view of Inverness from a hotel window have helped South African photographer Darryll Jones gain a big following online.

With almost 90,000 followers on Instagram, Jones' work has also been featured in the Guardian and digital photography magazine Retouched.

But the rise in popularity of the photographic adventures of toy stormtrooper "Eric" and the poems that accompany him started almost by accident.

"I moved to the UK from South Africa six years ago, and didn't realise how dark and cold the winters are here," says Jones.

"So instead of the normal landscape photography I was doing, I found myself confined to the indoors, with only a few Lego stormtroopers as friends. So I started shooting them."

After getting positive comments to his set ups using Lego Star Wars figures such as Chewbacca and Speeder Bike riders, the photographer and graphic artist moved on to action figures and the character Eric emerged.

Other Star Wars mini figures, including bounty hunter Boba Fett, also appear in some of Jones' scenes.

"I just enjoy making people smile," says Jones, whose day job is creating marketing images for a supermarket giant.

Image copyright Darryll Jones

"And I really love the expressionless face that stormtroopers have. The more I develop little story lines, the more the characters become alive, and they seem to tell their own stories, if that makes sense?"

He adds: "There are and always have been thousands of people doing this sort of thing, but I think it's the stories, the poems and the characters that hopefully make mine stand apart."

Scotland has provided Jones with many of his locations - Inverness and the Cairngorms near Aviemore - and ideas for set ups, including one about the Scottish Referendum where an undecided Eric opts to campaign for a "Maybe" vote rather than "Yes" or "No".

Image copyright Darryll Jones
Image copyright Darryll Jones

Jones says: "I was fortunate enough with my job as a photographer at Tesco to go all over Scotland in a van and take photos of the farmers and growers.

"I spent a week here and there and everywhere interviewing and photographing brewers, growers and farmers and all along the way I would stop and get shots of Eric and pals."

He adds: "All of Scotland is beautiful, I spent my honeymoon in Scotland and Wales nine years ago, but if I had to pick a place it would be anywhere along the western coastline.

"I have visited Skye and would love to get to the Outer Hebrides and all along that way."

Image copyright Darryll Jones
Image copyright darryll jones

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