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The secret lives of action figures: toys come to life in surreal photos

Tiny heroes and villains appear life-sized in mesmerizing, digitally-altered photos from Daniel Picard

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Batman leaves a graffiti message
Batman leaves a graffiti message
Daniel Picard

What would your toys do if they came to life? Many of us have imagined this very idea at some point during our childhoods. But Canadian photographer Daniel Picard has taken it a step further than most, putting action figures in front of realistic backgrounds and photographing them to make them appear life-sized. Picard's ongoing photo series, "Figure Fantasy," shows the more mundane side of some of the most popular heroes and villains in pop-culture: Batman is seen engaging in some very uncharacteristic petty crime, Cobra Commander has dog problems, while Darth Vader takes a trip to the bathroom — complete with his personal Stormtrooper guard duty in tow. Picard uses some digital post-processing effects on his photos to add motion and flares, but the real magic comes in his reliance on forced perspective, making his small subjects appear much larger than their 1:6-scale. See a sample of some of his work below and the full series on his website.