Week 7: Spirituality

The traditional idea

I´m sure most everyone who participated in our little weekly challenge #SiPgoes52 asked themselves the same question: What is spirituality? So did I.

First I guessed the word was originally connected to a religious context. A look at Wikipedia’s ideas confirmed that:

Traditionally, spirituality refers to a religious process of re-formation which  aims to recover the original shape of man, oriented at the image of God as exemplified by the founders and sacred texts of the religions of the world.

Continue reading “Week 7: Spirituality”

Life on the Death Star

We are now 7 weeks into this year challenge, here on Stuck In Plastic. A new word (value or emotion) every week with a picture to illustrate it.

I am glad to see that many people are participating with us, taking and posting pictures on social media using the hashtag #SiPgoes52 .

My own logo for my SiPgoes52 project ;-)
My own logo for my SiPgoes52 project ;-)

But let me share with you my plans for this project.

At the beginning

Initially, when Boris told us that the plan was to illustrate 52 values during the year, I was a bit dubious.

I struggled in 2017 to have 12 pictures for the 12 words (and for some months, I didn’t even write a post). So 52 pictures seemed like an impossible task to tackle.
Would I succeed? Would I be able to find inspiration all those weeks?
But I kept my mouth shut on the subject and waited to see…

The end of 2017 was not easy for me. I was in a creative slump. I was not motivated by anything and started to think:
Why am I doing this stuff? Is it worth it? Is it time for me to stop?

The more I asked those questions, the more depressed I got.

Creativity
Creativity

The 52-word project

I think, this time, the 52-word project saved me.

It was Monday, January 1st 2018. We were in week 1.

I had my back against the wall. I did not want to fail (especially at the beginning). So, I had to come up with something. I needed an idea for a picture. Actually, NO. I had to come up with an idea for 52 pictures!

I needed a plan for the whole year.
Because of my work which regularly intrudes in my life and modifies my schedule at the last moment, I had to find a solution to be able to provide something every week. Yes, for this project I wanted to be creative and share 52 new pictures.

The calendar
The calendar

So I decided to go with a theme. A simple set-up and some characters that I would use on a regular basis.

And finally, it clicked.
I wanted to change from my usual pictures and do something indoor for once. That way I don’t depend on the weather and I can shoot at any time of the day.

I wanted a simple set-up.
I had some plastic wall panels from the Star Wars universe at home, that I never used and they would be a perfect candidate for a background. That was my theme. I liked the symmetry of the walls, so I decided to go with a black plexiglass floor, to use the reflection in my pictures.

My "Studio"
My “Studio”

As for the characters, I decided to go with classic Stormtroopers. I know that a lot of people use them in the toy photography community, but I found the subject interesting.
I was going to take 52 pictures reflecting on 52 human values and emotions. And for that, I would be using stormtroopers who only display blend emotions with their helmet.
We never see them as actual human beings in any Star Wars movie. We don’t know how they actually live on the Death Star.
So it would be interesting to give them some life and emotions.

Perfect. I had my theme, my set-up and now for the pictures idea.

My workflow

Boris shared the schedule with everyone on the blog a couple of days before the new year. The first thing I did was to print it in several exemplars and put one on my wall at home, on my desk at my office, even at the end of my work notepad and of coure, I kept one version at hand on my phone. That way I could always have a look at the schedule to see the next words to come and have the complete list.

At my office
At my office

I usually think about my pictures when my mind can escape: either during my daily commutes, at home or during boring meetings at work. And I either write some synopsis/description of the picture or I doodle something. It helps me get a general idea of the picture and can also help me to have a list of accessories and parts that I would need.

One of the terrible doodles that I draw
One of the terrible doodles that I draw…
... and the final picture
… and the final picture

So, I started a spreadsheet on my google drive with my pictures ideas, and I keep it updated on a regular basis. I can easily add stuff from my computer or my phone.

Then when I have time at home for pictures, I set up the “studio” and do several of those already planned pictures.

So, I came up with another spreadsheet to track my picture ideas, the pictures I took, and the pictures I posted online.
(Am I a control freak?! Maybe)

My roadmap
My roadmap at week 4

Having pictures in advance also helps me improve them. I have time to look at them, study them and if needed, I can decide to take them again from a new angle or with a new setup or story.

Now that I start getting ideas about future pictures, I see the project as a whole and I will encapsulate stories inside. That way, at the end, you will need to look at the bigger picture. You will notice some recurring characters and if you put the pictures in the correct order, you will see a story. But shh… It’s a secret for the future.

Confidence
Confidence

Even with all that preparation, there are still a lot of words which need ideas or pictures, so I will definitely have work for the whole year.

But at the same time, with each word, I like to take a look back at my pictures, the ones I took in the last years, to see which ones share the values on the list. I have a very strong link with some of them and I will share that with you during this year on the blog.

For each picture, I try to reflect upon myself. See what the word inspires me and what I feel thinking about it. It’s a very deep and interesting project. And to be honest, I am really glad I kept my mouth shut when I was not trusting it at the beginning, because I am definitely having fun.

Fun
Fun

By the way, since my mind was bursting with inspiration at the beginning of this project, I even found a name for my series of pictures. A simple one.

And during that whole year, I hope that you will enjoy, the “Life on the Death Star”.

Life on the Death Star
Life on the Death Star

Julien / Ballou34

Capturing Emotion

LEGO and Emotion

A bit more than a week ago, when we celebrated the 60th Birthday of the LEGO Brick, I stumbled upon this post from The Brothers Brick with a nice infographic of what the LEGO Company did during each decade since its creation in the 1930s. It made me realize that I’m as old as the first minifigure facial expressions. It led me to think more about the relationship between emotion, feeling and toy photography.

From Fun to Emotion

I started to take pictures of toys because it’s fun. Eventually, it gradually became my main photography subject. Contrarily to the other photography genres, I find it keeps being constantly challenging as there’s always something different to photograph.

Although these motives still apply to me, the main reason why I keep doing toy photography is that it allows me to express my vision: feelings and emotions I can’t express in any other way. At the same time, I find myself taking pictures more often without thinking, and rather let myself be guided by my own emotions.

It’s why I selected this week’s word as one of the five words from #SiPgoes52 that I better connect with.

Emotions in Photography

I use a few techniques to share an emotion in a photo. One of them is the varied selection of minifigure facial expressions. And I’m definitely not the only one. (That said, I also rely heavily on elements not directly related to the toy I try to photograph, for example, light, color, and bokeh.)

For this month’s word, I decided to use a photo I took at the beginning of the winter. The CMF 16 Snow Queen has become over 2017 one of my favorite LEGO minifig. As soon as the first snow fell here in the North, I couldn’t resist going out to photograph her.

One of the reasons I love the Snow Queen so much, is because she’s the perfect minifigure to express what Winter in The North can feel like.

Emotions in #SiPgoes52

But facial expressions are not the only way to express emotions or feelings. Later this year, we will encounter words that describe emotions. I find that some of them are too complex to be expressed with a facial expression. For those, I will avoid minifig faces and rather rely on other aesthetics elements to express them. But that will be another story…

Embracing emotions

Emotion

Emotion, what is it? Well, emotion is defined as the natural instinctive result of a stimulus, whether that be mood, circumstances, or relationships with others. Thinking on this definition, emotions are sometimes seen as weak and vulnerable in today’s world. But I think we shouldn’t be afraid to share our emotions, we should embrace them and let them shape us. It’s not good to keep them bottled up because that breaks us down inside.

Encompassing more than one emotion

So, in creating my photo for this week, I took that into account. I wanted to make a photo that encompasses several emotions, while also showing that sharing them with others is okay. I think this word actually includes some of the past and future words, and that it is essential for us, as human beings, to have and share emotions (at least we will be able to tell humans from robots).

 

Bennett McKinney/@LegoRunner

 

And remember, if you’d like to participate in the #SiPgoes52 challenge, all you have to do is shoot, and post!
Choose one or two. Choose all. Or choose the ones that speak to you.
Just use the hashtag of the week and #SiPgoes52 , that way, we’ll all be able to see it!

Week 5: Security

The word ‘secure’ entered the English language in the 16th century. It is derived from Latin Securus, meaning freedom from anxiety and so it has been with us as a concept since the early days. The combination of the two Latin words, se (without) and cura (care, anxiety), resulted in the modern word security.

But security has a wide range of other senses.

Security refers to the freedom from, or the resilience against, potential harm from external forces and is hardwired into our social structures.

It can also be the absence of harm (e.g. freedom from want), the presence of essential goods (e.g. food security), the resilience against potential damage or harm (e.g. secure foundations), secrecy (e.g. a secure communication), containment (e.g. a secure cell), and a state of mind (e.g. emotional security).

And again this week, we saw on social media all of these coming back in this week’s submissions.

The Tribe

As a term, security is most commonly used to refer to protection from hostile forces.

Us versus them.
Protecting us from predators.

Insecurity, when a predator threatens the tribe…

 

Freedom from Want

Julien’s take this week combines a lot of elements of security. From making sure the tribe behaves, but also limiting the freedom of wanting a hotdog on the death star.

Keeping track of freedom on the Death Star…

Security as Containment

Curious what is in the secure room… Stefan’s take on security this week.

Emotional Security – Part I

Chris view on the world under the safety of a blanket is a very good example of Emotional Security.

Nothing beats a blanket …

Emotional Security – Part II

A similar take was Boris submission, reflecting on the emotional security of packing for the exhibition in Paris next week.

Feeling emotionally secure in our working suits.

Emotions rising

We really like the interaction and feedback on exploring these deep human values and what they all mean for us.
This is just week five, but the entries go deep.
From fun security winks to deeper reflections.
We’re very curious about what next week “emotions” will bring.

And next week we have Paris and lots of emotion.

Security begets Confidence

Leading on from one of last month’s words, confidence, is security.

So I asked myself “Where do we find security?”

It's in routines, in friendships, and in the familiar. Security begets Confidence.Click To Tweet

When I picked security as a word to tackle this month, I thought it would be pretty easy to come up with an idea. However, as I delved deeper, and asked a few friends for their interpretations, I realised it wasn’t such a simple task.

So when I eventually came up with this shot I, felt it encompassed the word on different levels. Vader feels emotionally secure surrounded by friends, confident in his own abilities, but also physically safe and sound in his own bed.

Newsletter Ahoy.

2018 is well underway.
January is coming to an end.
And we are already on the fifth word of the year. Security.
We have introduced some smaller changes here on the site in the last few weeks and have a few more lined up for you in the coming weeks as well.
An exciting year ahead filled with pigeons and seagulls alike.

The SiP Monthly

Talking about pigeons and seagulls.
One of them is that we no longer send out the individual posts to your email. Instead, we created the SiP Monthly Newsletter to bring you a fresh selection of articles, exclusive behind the scenes and some creative news we will only share in our newsletter.

And to top it all off, we will be giving away to one random subscriber every month a LEGO giveaway or an exclusive print from one of the crew.
So, be one of the first and sign up now.

No spam, no commercials, just quality toy photography and LEGO news handpicked for you by your SiP crew.
Once a month.
Delivered straight to the comfort of your inbox.
And the chance to get a small token of our appreciation.

Our first newsletter is just around the corner, so you don’t want to miss it.

The pigeons and seagulls from SiP.

PS. If you previously subscribed through our WordPress plugin we migrated you automatically to the friendly and highly secure MailChimp list (our partner in getting the SiP Monthly out has security high in its standards).

After 60 years, LEGO bricks still fit together!

Happy Birthday, LEGO

Today we celebrate the 60th Birthday of the LEGO Brick.
It also appears to be the last day of the 4th week of #SiPgoes52.
And this week´s word was fitness.

We thought it was a good opportunity to celebrate these little plastic bricks fitting together so perfectly even after sixty years, and review the past week at the same time. Continue reading “After 60 years, LEGO bricks still fit together!”

HispaBrick Twenty Nine

Fitness

Fitness may be the word of the week in our fantastic #SiPgoes52 challenge and I´ll be the last to say that sports are no good. Still some time out in between exercises is good, too.

Time we knew how to spend well when our friends from HispaBrick magazine kindly asked us whether we wanted to contribute to their brand new issue with a little article.  We´re specially happy to  be on board as in 2018 their team are having their ten years anniversary!! Congratulations from all of us!!

Continue reading “HispaBrick Twenty Nine”