Editor’s note: Quotes and captions have been edited for clarity.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are visiting the American Natural History Museum in D.C.  I remember being in awe of the larger than life dinosaur skeletons looming over me with fierce jaws and claws and imagining how their muscles moved and eyes looked like and what they ate to survive.  The thought of them roaming the land we walk on now was magical to me. Imagine my delight when I ran across Jorge Sáenz’s #dinodinaseries work on Instagram. Sáenz is a Paraguay-based photographer who takes pictures of his toy dinosaur companions in natural and urban environments.

Sáenz uses only his iPhone to manipulate perspective and depth of field to make the dinosaurs look real.  His dinosaurs are characters, aliens in our world, commenting on Earth and its inhabitants.Dino has a large personality but is innocent like a child, talkative with deep thoughts. Dina (the big, green Stegosaurus) is more aggressive and instinctive. Spiny (Spinosaurus) is mostly ironic. Brachy (the brown Brachiosaurus) is a romantic girlfriend of Dino but very critical of male behavior,” Sáenz says about them.

Sáenz purchased his first dinosaur, “Dino,” the green Brachiosaurus, for a dollar at a flea market in La Paz, Bolivia, several years ago.  His first #dinodinaseries photo was of a dinosaur his son had left on the floor in the living room with his wife in the distance.  When the silhouette of Dino hit Instagram it was an instant hit. The reaction inspired Sáenz to explore and pursue the concept. What Sáenz sees in the news or experiences around him inspires his dinosaur scenes.

Sáenz has sadly lost a couple of his dinosaurs while traveling in South America. “Dinaldo,” a Pachycephalosaurus, was lost in action … sought refuge … in Cuba and “Rapty,” a velociraptor was lost in an avalanche of sand.  Once, he left them all in his duffle bag in the back of a taxi while traveling and spent a week tracking them down. He sent a considerable reward to the taxi driver for their safe return.  At the end of it, he was “very happy to do it.”

The popularity of Sáenz’s photography has grown exponentially on Instagram after it spotlighted his work, boosting his Instagram followers to 40,000. See more of Sáenz’s work on his Instagram feed.