Red and Jonny bought their first Stormtrooper helmets on their honeymoon, and haven’t stopped taking photos of themselves in them ever since.
Stormtroopers in Love
When did you buy your first Stormtrooper helmet and why?
We bought our first helmet at a toy show in Toronto. We started taking photos of each other in it immediately. It was our little joke with each other. We thought the photos were hilarious. We kept taking the helmet wherever we went, for a laugh. It was a long time before we posted the photos on the internet. I would post them for my friends to laugh at on Quake3 World Forums. I’ve been posting there for almost 10 years, and they were the ones who convinced us to get a Flickr account. The next thing we knew, they were all over the internet.
When you were growing up, were you fans of science fiction?
I have always loved Star Wars. It was the first film I ever saw in a theater. Red was raised without television, and never went to see films. We aren’t necessarily fans of sci-fi. We don’t read sci-fi novels or watch anything else space-related. There’s just something about Star Wars that we both connect with.
What were you like as kids?
I was a wild child. What I call a University Brat. My mother traveled around Ontario, Canada, from university to university, getting her degrees. I was raised on television. My mother would drop me and my brother off at the local theater, and we would spend all day watching films. That’s how I saw Star Wars so many times. Red was a country girl. She spent her childhood much like Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie. Lots of running down hills of flowers. And chores. Lots and lots of chores.
Tell me your getting-engaged story.
We met nine years ago at a dance club. We both loved to dance, and we would always gravitate towards each other on the dance floor. We would talk and flirt with each other, but neither had the guts to tell each other how we felt. Then we both went off to college. I studied art, and Red studied environmentalism. Nine years later, we met up at Red’s sister’s wedding. I told Red that I was always in love with her, and that I’d carried around an old photo of us all these years. Red then said she had always felt the same, and had also carried around a copy of the same photo. When I heard that, I got down on one knee and asked Red to marry me. Red said yes and we were married one year later.
How many photos do you have in Stormtrooper helmets?
At least a thousand. We don’t post all of them. There are lots that we just keep for us. This all started as an inside joke. We never expected anyone else to find them funny. We love all the attention our photos have gotten, and we’ve made some great friends with them, but there’s still some we keep for ourselves.
What is the craziest place you’ve taken photos in the helmets?
Niagara Falls. We went there on our one-year wedding anniversary. We put on our wedding clothes and walked around Niagara Falls. People were yelling congratulations to us from every side and taking photos of us. It was awesome. Then when we were taking photos of ourselves with the helmets on, a group of Chinese tourists ran up to us saying “WE KNOW YOU! WE KNOW YOU!” in broken English. They described all our photos, and told us we were in a Beijing newspaper. We couldn’t believe it! These people see us in a newspaper in China then travel all the way to Canada for a holiday and run into us on our wedding anniversary. It was mind-blowing.
Do you take photos the same time every year or in the same places?
We try and take shots every weekend in different places with different ideas that we come up with over the week. We always come home with ideas saying, “We gotta try this or this!”
Which one is your favorite photo?
The hay bale series is great. The one of Red on the hay bale is gorgeous. And the one of me with my tie flying in the air is just brilliant. But really our all-time favorite is the scan of the article that Star Wars Insider magazine did of us. That was the Holy Grail. We just could not believe that our little inside joke had gotten us that far.
What are you guys like in real life?
We both have very serious government-type jobs that we can’t talk about. We spend all of our free time creating art. The Stormtroopers in Love series is just a small part of our work. Something we do for fun. It still amazes us that people find it as funny as we do.
Do you consider yourselves geeks?
I am a lifelong geek. I was the dork who wore suits to school in grade 6. I’m a spaz and always have been. A D&D dork. I lost three years of my life to Quake3 Team Arena. I also collect copies of Catcher in the Rye and Jumbo Machinders. The greatest day of my life was marrying Red. My advice to every geek out there is: hardcore geek girls are so very rare that when you meet one who shows even the slightest interest in you, ask her to marry you immediately.
What is your plan for world domination?
Just to live happily ever after and make money from our art would be a dream come true.
Leah Peterson is a writer/photographer/ video-er in the Los Angeles area and is a geek for colors because she can’t stop separating and lining up the crayons, markers and jelly beans. leahpeah.com
Red and Jonny are two married artists in Canada who are geeks for Star Wars because they bought a Stormtrooper helmet on their honeymoon in 2006. flickr: redandjonny