‘Little Steps from the Lost Toy Room’ Calopie – A very shy and skittish toy. Her wings do not work properly but allow her short jumps. The eyes on her wings blink very slowly and look into another place. She likes to eat fluff and loose thread.

Benamon Tame is one of iPhoneography’s more visible surrealist artists today. Many of his images have a darker, grungy feel, yet with very vintage and antique stylings. His images are often dark, but rich in texture. They’re powerful and make a strong impression.

Often using people as his subjects, Benamon recently created a series of abstracts using toys as his subject. He talks about “The Lost Toy Room” after the jump. >>>

“”The Lost Toy Room” is a series of portraits of abandoned toys who have survived and become alive. They still wait for the children to return but lead their own lives in the dusty room.

“I imagined a huge rambling house full of closed and cluttered rooms, each one almost encapsulating a period of the owners lives, finished and then forgotten.  Each portrait has the name and a brief description, some with their history or character, others with more trivial bits like their favourite food or dislikes.

“The series started with Calopie, a wooden push button toy, I think it was the movement that triggered my tendency to anthropomorphosis and create stories.  For me, creating a backstory is an important part of my work process, and a lot of my art has a period air and touches on themes of loss, abandonment, tragedy and nostalgia. The cruelty in some of the descriptions also mirrors the amorality and violence present and implied in traditional children’s stories (pre-Disney sanitisation) and in a lot of the games children play with their toys and with each other. Pieces can end up being quite ‘deformed’ or grotesque but the intention is not to build just horror pieces. Their appearance is more a manifestation of their character and the horror element is more a side effect. A lot of old toys can look quite ugly but they were not made as such. It is only that conventions and aesthetics have changed. I like using that sense of dislocation and awkwardness, especially with this series.

“I have completed five so far (Calopie, Syster, Janus, Babel and Muse) and have outlines for another three (Nephalim, Barrow and Kelpie).

“In terms of inspiration, this series draws from my love of Victoriana and hint of Steampunk, the work of Neil Gaiman, Tim Burton and Dave McKean, Enid Byton, traditional tales like the Brothers Grimm collections, Gormaghast, Alice in Wonderland, films like A Company of Wolves and the Doctor Who (TV, books and the audio plays from Big Finish)

“In building each portrait I used the following apps; ProCamera for the inital image, Juxtaposer and Diptic for building the images, Iris for the main editing with Snapseed, Scratchcam, Pictureshow.

“I have a been a Photographer and proud iPhoneographer since 2009 and an active member of the mobile photography community. I have and published several collections of my work on Blurb, my work has been showcased on major sites of note including here on Life In Lofi, iPhoneography.com, iPhoneArt.com and Flickr. My work has been exhibited internationally, most recently as part of the LA Mobile Arts Festival.” — Benamon Tame



‘The jealousy of Toys’ Syster – a jealous toy who likes to hoard and can be spiteful when she doesn’t get what she wants. She likes to eat bitter things. Another voice comes from the box

‘Of those left behind’ Janus – Originally twins, they could not cope with being left behind so they joined to be never alone. The scars are from the joining; only one had wanted to.


‘The Sight of Envy’ Babel – Babel watches everything, what his eyes can see and what they have seen. He does favours for the other toys and shares what he has seen in return for more eyes. Babel most wants the eyes from Calopie’s wings but she will not part with them and he has not found a way to make her


‘The Cruelty of Innocents’ Muse – Once the newest and prettiest of toys, she was the first to suffer at the games of the others when the room was closed, but she still tries to smile with what the others have left her. They still tell her she is beautiful, but the words now come from her stolen lips and the smiles behind her taken eyes.

‘Vanity Demands’ Grub – Looks after Muse and nudges her around when she wants to change her view. He catches butterflies and moths and powders her face with their wings. No one asks about the rouge.


All photos © Benamon Tame.

This is Life In LoFi’s weekly feature, Outside The Frame. It’s the story of one photograph (or a series) of an iPhoneographer in their own words. It’s less of a how-to and more of a why. It’s the stories behind the iPhoneography we see, told by the artist who created it.