Kim Simmons will be releasing a book called The Man Who Shot Luke Skywalker (Kenner Star Wars Photography 1977-79) and has sent out a press release, which you can read below.
The Man Who Shot Luke Skywalker
(Kenner Star Wars Photography 1977-79)
Kim DM Simmons with Benjamin Sheehan
Kenner's iconic 1977 Star Wars toy line had at its heart a photography and a design style, that closely echoed notes from George Lucas' blockbuster space opera. Photographer Kim Simmons' new coffee table book The Man Who Shot Luke Skywalker is a visual history of the world's first most recognizable action figure line, that gives an insight into the individuals responsible for the 70s aesthetic that helped define both the toys and era. His book also breaks new ground with never before seen images of unreleased concepts, and large-size, high resolution original photography that brings new scope and scale to more familiar material.
"I wanted to come out with this first book, to share these images with everyone," says Simmons, a former vendor for Kenner and Hasbro; who shot the original and later Star Wars toy lines in the 1980s and 90s. Simmons rescued the original film and negatives featured in his book from the trash in 1982, before eventually buying the studio that owned them in 1988.
The book's written content offers readers exclusive insights into the processes and the people behind the iconic Star Wars packaging, as well as behind the scenes insights into the prototype toys featured on it, and in cross-sell photography. This includes previously unreleased information about Kenner's infamous Rocket Firing Boba Fett, along with full page images of the kit bashed prototype featured in marketing imagery. The pairing of Kenner employee perspectives, and the original photography is the sum of decades of work by Simmons as a photographer and curator of the images, and years of Kenner Star Wars action figure related research by Sheehan.
"I've interviewed former employees for so long, that when I look at these toys, I now see the people behind them" says Sheehan, a collector of nearly 30 years, who is also a writer and editor from Australia.
Like Star Wars the toy line itself, The Man Who Shot Luke Skywalker was created in Cincinnati Ohio. The original images were taken by Roy Frankenfield at his studio during the earliest stages of Kenner's 1977 line, and compiled by Simmons with assistance from Sheehan in May of 2019. The book was also printed in Cincinnati, and co-produced by Corky Steiner, whose family founded Kenner in 1946. Many other former Kenner employees and vendors directly responsible for the vintage Star Wars line supplied information and direction for content, and in this respect the book can be considered something of a team effort.
Simmons says that he expects the book to be the first installment in a series of photography books that will chronicle toys based on later Star Wars movies.
Orders and Website: http://www.themanwhoshotlukeskywalker.com
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