Imperial Stormtroopers: They’re Just Like Us!
Stormtroopers have pretty busy schedules, what with doing the Emperor’s bidding and getting shot by blaster rifles all the time. But they do have a little time to themselves each day, and Jorge Pérez Higuera shows us just how they spend it in his series The Other Side. There they are, washing dishes. Playing videogames. Even kicking back in the Jacuzzi with a fruity cocktail.
Higuera was in his last year of college in Valencia, Spain, when he got his hands on second-hand stormtrooper armor and started the project in 2012. He simply liked the idea of stormtroopers being just like us, except for the whole marching and killing thing. “They represent the galactic working class,” he says. “Let’s be honest, if that future existed, we would probably be imperial soldiers and not heroes or villains.”
The photographer feels the stormtrooper is a pop icon most people can identify with. “I like to think that in my photography I can represent everybody and nobody in particular,” he says. “I love the idea that the stormtrooopers’ roles are assigned by the spectators’ imaginations in terms of whether they are males, females, teenagers, or elderly.”
Higuera had but one rule when shooting: Every scene had to be from daily life, mundane tasks made hilarious by who was doing them. And there is something satisfying about seeing Lord Vader’s minions struggling over taxes, waiting for their laundry, or using a urinal. Most scenes are autobiographical, but family and friends provided inspiration, as did movies, TV and books. Because Higuera had just one set of armor, usually worn by an actor friend, bringing more than one stormtrooper to life required digitally combing photos.
There’s nothing elaborate about the images, which are quirky and amusing. But that’s the point. Higuera simply wants us to see the fun in daily life.
“The most important thing for me is to value everyday life, underlining the fun aspects in each tiny detail from our day-to-day lives,” he says. “If this message doesn’t fully come across, I would still be happy knowing that people feel connected to my photographs, even if it’s simply by bringing a smile to their faces or making them laugh out loud. If it is indeed the latter, I would feel utterly satisfied.”