While spending more time at home these days, Indian photographer Arjun Menon is testing the phrase, “limitation is the mother of creativity.” Using household items and action figures, he's been able to take some dynamic photographs inspired by his favorite comic book characters. This includes Free Fall, an exceptional image of Joker appearing to fall from a skyscraper into darkness.
Though the final image looks polished, its building blocks were quite rudimentary. “I started looking for things within my home that would fit a scene well,” Menon tells My Modern Met. “And suddenly the world opened up to me. I started seeing ordinary objects in abstract ways and would break them down into design elements. These could be anything from a cheese grater to an oven or a PC cabinet.”
To make Gotham come to life, Menon got creative, starting with an AC cover. He realized that its long shape would be perfect for the skyscraper, as the front slots would let light filter through. Now he just needed to fill out the rest of the scene. “I eventually realized the air filters from the AC also reminded me of glass building windows,” he recalls. “So I thought if I filled in the gaps with tiny LED lights, this could pretend to look like a believable backdrop. For the streetlights, I used LED strips. Ice trays, a Bluetooth speaker, dumbbells, lampshades, etc. could pass off as buildings far away and—tadaaa—I had a set!”
In order to create the snowy environment, Menon used shaving cream and cornflour on the structures. The snowflakes floating in the sky are actually hairspray that he spritzed while shooting. Once the scene was in place, Menon just needed to work out the perfect angles for his Joker figurine.
After some trial and error, he was able to get the scale of the figure in proportion to the buildings and create the emotional impact he was looking for. The result is an image that perfectly captures the psychosis of Joker, who is plummeting to his death but seems to rather enjoy it. For Menon, working with this character was a way to let his creativity flow even during India's lockdown.