Photographer Reveals The Items Used In This Stunning Shot Of The Joker Falling Off A Skyscraper


Staying at home during lockdown (or even outside of it) could drive anyone to madness. So it is essential to keep yourself busy with meaningful tasks and activities.


And, boy, let me tell you, quarantine can at this point be called the Renaissance with how much the artistic community has been keeping itself busy in this regard. This period has seen an insane increase of impressive media and art: everything from creating comics and making videos to drawing pictures and taking photographs.


One such artist, Arjun Menon, has joined the artistic wave that has taken over the internet with his most recent project titled Free Fall—a photographic composition of the well-known DC Comics criminal mastermind the Joker falling to his supposed doom. Bored Panda reached out to Menon for an interview on his composition, which has been going viral over the last few days.


Photographer Arjun Menon was listening to a Gorillaz song when this surreal image popped up in his head



Image credits: Arjun Menon


One day, Menon was listening to the song “Plastic Beach” by Gorillaz when an idea popped into his head: the Joker falling from a skyscraper (which he has done a fair share of over the course of his career), yet showing no fear or remorse. And so the photo composition was born.


As explained in his Instagram post, Menon wanted to show a realistic cityscape—one that wouldn’t be too distracting, but one that would nonetheless seem like it’s an integral part of the picture. You can guess how much of a challenge “realistic” meant living in hard lockdown.


“I wanted to show a realistic cityscape from a dynamic angle, looking down a skyscraper. For this, the initial challenge was to identify things within my house which would look like a tall building when looked at objectively. After a lot of brainstorming, I found my AC cover to fit the bill perfectly!”


Immediately, Menon acted upon his imagination and began scavenging props to use for his composition



Image credits: Arjun Menon


The result was Free Fall, a spectacular view of the Joker falling off a skyscraper



Image credits: Arjun Menon


He continued: “Now, I had one AC cover, how do I shoot multiple buildings? I eventually realized the air filters from the AC also reminded me of glass building windows. So I thought it could fill in the gaps with tiny LED lights—this could pretend to look like a believable backdrop. For the streetlights, I used LED strips. Ice trays, Bluetooth speakers, dumbbells, lampshades, etc. as these would pass for buildings far away and tadaaa, I had a set!”


So Menon improvised with household items: an air conditioning cover that looked symmetrical and could pass light for one skyscraper, its filters for another side building, as well as keyboards, Bluetooth speakers, and dumbbells as smaller structures, candle LEDs and rice lights for ambient buildings and road lighting. To top it all off, the snow and snowing effects were done using shaving cream, corn flour, and hairspray. Remember, this is all during a hard Indian lockdown, so resources are scarce!


And the results were phenomenal. The picture conveys the dark and sinister look of Gotham City (huge props for setting it as the photo location on Instagram, by the way) with AC covers, filters, and ice trays honestly passing as believable structures. Besides the snow and lighting effects, Menon also managed to throw in some genius details like loose cards and various building accessories (ventilation systems and chimneys).


Lockdown in India is strict, so Menon had to work with whatever he had lying around the house



Image credits: Arjun Menon


This included everything from keyboards and ice trays to AC covers, filters, and other paraphernalia



Image credits: Arjun Menon


Menon did run into some challenges along the way, namely the scaling of things: “The biggest challenge was placing the character in such a way that the scale matches accurately. I tried a few different positions and after some trial and error, I got the exact perspective that matches. Attention to realistic posing helped sell the emotion of the shot—for this I did a lot of referencing.”


Free Fall is just one of many pictures that have become somewhat of a series in Menon’s artistic arsenal. As his Instagram shows, he has come out with photos of similar photographic mastery recreating scenes from the lives of other superhero (and supervillain) lives, namely the Terminator, the Predator, Batman, Killer Croc, Bane, and Wolverine. You can find photos of these featured in the article below. Menon elaborates:


“Bored at home during quarantine, I started looking for subjects within my home to photograph. I have always been a big fan of my old action figures, so I thought why not start there. I believe in the old saying ‘Limitation is the mother of creativity.’ I wanted to create worlds for my scenes with these small toys, but didn’t have any miniature sets for them. As a random idea, I started looking for things within my home that would fit the scene well. And suddenly the world opened up to me.”


He also recreated some effects using hairspray and various types and angles of lighting



Image credits: Arjun Menon


Here’s an overview of everything that he used for the now iconic Free Fall shot



Image credits: Arjun Menon


He continued: “I started seeing ordinary objects in abstract ways and would break them down into design elements. These could be anything from a cheese grater to an oven or a PC cabinet. I discovered a totally new perspective to look at household objects, which was super exciting. The objective is to make the resulting images cinematic and believable, with the constraints of things already available at home and practical effects. To create worlds that these characters fit into seamlessly.”


This type of photography is a bit out of the ordinary for Menon, as he is a Mumbai, India-based editorial travel and commercial automotive photographer and the founder of Art Leaves A Mark. His projects have been featured on Buzzfeed, NDTV, Condé Nast Traveller, and Vogue India, and his career includes multiple commissioned projects around the world from Canada, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and even Antarctica, among other locations.


We’ve asked Menon if he could tell us a bit about what other characters he would like to photograph as lockdown isn’t going anywhere any time soon. He said this: “Currently, in India, there is a strict lockdown in place and hence I only have access to the few figurines that I already had around. I have only 8 action figures with me, but I’m not restricting my ideas. I want my images to tell a story so I wouldn’t mind using the same ones for multiple different concepts. These include the Terminator, the Predator, Joker, Batman, Killer Croc, Bane, and Wolverine.”


Watch a short video preview of Joker’s free fall in motion






Click to unmute


Video credits: Arjun Menon


Here’s also a behind-the-scenes explaining how Menon set everything up






Click to unmute


Video credits: Arjun Menon


Speaking of fictional characters, we also asked the obligatory question of what character is Menon’s favorite and why? Joker fans rejoice: “Joker is definitely one of my most favorite characters ever. I come from a film background and I felt that Joker has one the most deeply constructed characters in the comic book universe—an agent of chaos. His motives are often very relatable, if you see things from an alternate point of view. It’s not just superficial violence or vengeance, it has more to do with social injustices and similar deep-rooted ideas.”


If you enjoyed Menon’s work, you can check out more on his website, Instagram, Facebook, and Vimeo pages. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on this photo composition? Is the Joker also a favorite of yours, or do you prefer other comic book characters? Let us know in the comments section below!


Menon also worked on other characters and scenes during the lockdown, which you can check out below



Image credits: Arjun Menon



Image credits: Arjun Menon



Image credits: Arjun Menon



Image credits: Arjun Menon



Image credits: Arjun Menon



Image credits: Arjun Menon



Image credits: Arjun Menon