A trip to the market

You know how LEGO ShtacyP loves going for a photo walk down to the shops? (It’s funny, because actual Stacy P HATES going shopping…) Well, she was away on holiday recently, to a far and distant land, and she thought it would be interesting to go and have a look down at the local market. To experience the smells, the noise, the hustle, and bustle. It was a daunting sight, sure, but it wasn’t her first time in the marketplace

LEGO ShtacyP ready to go and capture the sights of the market.

Jasmine’s new pet

Starting with the smells. Mmmm, sugar, dates, figs, so sweet! But quickly replaced by the smell of the…well…Pet Shop… A true menagerie of weird and wonderful creatures. But it seemed that Jasmine didn’t mind the smell. She had just fallen in love with a beautiful white bird. Yes, the cats were adorable, but she already had Rajah. And whilst she wasn’t scared of arachnids, she just didn’t feel like making friends with a scorpion. No, it was this pure little songbird she wanted to keep her company in the palace.

And what a wonderful sign for the Pet Shop! Looks like it was designed by Xtra, the premier signmakers in cities across the world.

Jafar’s new toy

You do have to be careful where you walk in a place like this though. It’s easy to wander down a street that starts to twist and turn, and all of a sudden you are in a corner you do not want to be in! Watch your step in Alchemy Ave. Whilst most tradesmen are honest folk trying to earn their keep, it’s the customers you have to look out for. It’s not uncommon to see shady sorcerers haggling with shopkeepers for the latest technology and relics. You can only hope they don’t use the goods for anything untoward…

You have to admit, the Snake Staff really does fit in with Jafar’s whole evil-sorcerer look.

Frozen desserts

Luckily ShtacyP has an excellent sense of direction and was able to hastily make her way out of Alchemy Ave. By this point in the morning, the temperatures were really rising, and what better way to cool off in the midday sun than with some proper Frozen FroYo & Ice Cream? Elsa runs an excellent stall and service is always with a smile. ShtacyP managed to get there when there wasn’t too much of a queue (although FroFroYo is always worth the wait). But she did have to wait behind Anna who was stopping by her sister’s shop for her regular 3-scoop mint-Neopolitana.

So many options! So many different flavours of of frozen yoghurt and ice cream, with numerous delicious sauces and toppings!

Week 17 – Ching Shih

For many of you, Ching Shih might be among the most obscure human beings on our list.

The Pirate Woman

Ching Shih is a Chinese pirate woman who terrorized the seas of China in the early 19th century. She can be considered as the most successful pirate ever. Not only she commanded the biggest pirate crew, but she also died as a free old woman.

My Elvish Ching Shih

She started her life as a prostitute but married a pirate at the age of 26. Together, they gathered one of the largest pirate fleets in China, which she eventually led on her own following the death of her husband. She resisted Qing (Chinese), Portuguese and British governments. Upon her defeat in 1809, she surrendered and managed to stay a free woman until her death in 1844 at the age of 69.

Why Ching Shih?

When we made our list of human beings for SiPgoes53, we tried to include as many women as possible. Still, after our initial list, we had quite more men than women. None of us knew who was Ching Shih. She came through a list of influential historical women and was a perfect fit for SiPgoes53.

Piracy

For me, Ching Shih is a character of importance because she is a pirate. Pirates always fascinated me in many ways.

This one is still among my all-time favorite photos ever taken.

First, romanticized piracy is one of my favorite source of inspiration for toy photography. It means adventure and freedom. But part of that romanticized view as also some interesting historical root of importance. Indeed, pirate crews from the golden age of piracy often worked in a more democratic way than any of the European countries did back then.

My pirates are pacifists. Plundering a city means wandering around on a bike holding fruits and vegetables.

But piracy is in many ways a form of non-legal violence that has been common throughout the history of civilization. Piracy has existed since civilization has been sailings seas and oceans. While it usually ends being punished by governments, it has also been tolerated and used by the same governments.

In particular during the golden age of piracy, privateering was nothing else than legalized piracy used by a colonial empire over another. It didn’t happen only in the Caribbean though. Both Christians and Muslims used piracy in the Mediterranean as a way of continuing the holy wars throughout the 16th century. And war in itself is nothing else than large scale piracy conducted either on land or sea.

My Elvish team of Pirates, trapped on a sea of ice on their quest to Magnetic North.

So to me, piracy is also a reminder of the terrible (legalized) violence on which western civilizations are based upon, including our modern one.

Elsa and Anna

Anticipating the release of the new Disney characters, the amazing guys at LEGO and Stuck in Plastic have managed to ship them out across the globe ready for us to capture them and write up our little toy review.

So I received Anna and Elsa, possibly Disney’s most popular characters. I am sure they will be a massive favourite addition to every Disney fans’ LEGO collection.  Prior to receiving the girls, I noticed that Maëlick had created some amazing images, just how can I match his images. He had Olaf to top it off, plus real snow.

I have neither real snow or an Olaf. But then I remembered years ago buying my kids a tube of magic snow that needed water adding. So I set out to make snow, yep make snow, and boy did I make a lot hahahaha. For my background, I used an image that I took in Alaska… 23 years ago! And here are the results.

As for the characters, they are really lovely Anna comes with a double pale face so you can have her winking or eyes open, her face has a few little cute freckles. She carries a lantern (which will come in handy when I shoot Florence Nightingale for SIPgoes53 wink! wink!) She wears the classic Anna outfit with the recognisable colours and has a lovely shade of red hair.

Elsa also has a double face, no freckles, and beautiful yellow hair. The detail in the hair is really well thought of.  She also carries a blue snowflake and wears a cape with snowflake details.  Her dress is really pretty and has the typical design from the movie.

The Frozen sequel will be released in November and I expect it to be darker and more sinister than the original film. Nevertheless, I am sure it will be a box office hit, as are these LEGO minifigures.

Beverley

Week 16 – Einstein

Albert Einstein… Is it really needed to present (the one who’s probably) the most famous scientist? If so, here’s a brief insight into his life.

The Scientist

Einstein was a theoretical physicist who revolutionized physics with the theory of relativity. One of Einstein’s goals or dreams was to have a single scientific theory that could explain all physical phenomenon. In particular, at the beginning of the century, classical physical laws couldn’t explain a recently discovered phenomenon: electromagnetism.

This is what led him to state the theories of special and general relativity which reconciled Maxwell equations (electromagnetism) and classical Newtonian mechanics.

It is quite a coincidence that the first image of a black hole was revealed last week… Indeed, the idea for the existence of black holes roots in Einstein’s theory of relativity. (Credit: Event Horizon Telescope, CC BY 3.0)

For much of his life, Einstein dreamed and tried to find a way to unify physical laws. Although known from the general public as a genius, he often ignored new theories and was laughed at by mainstream physicists. He never managed to find said a theory. Nowadays, finding a theory that explains everything is still the major challenge in theoretical physics.

The activist

What inspires me most about Einstein is not his impressive scientific career, but his strong opposition to war. Indeed, as a pacifist, he abandoned his German nationality for Swiss to avoid military service. He signed a counter-manifesto to the one written by 93 German scientists who supported World War 1. While he opposed German war aspirations before the WW1, he also protested against the Allies spoil of wars after 1918 and worked in order to repair relationships between France and Germany.

As a jew, he emigrated from Germany to the US shortly before the Nazis rose to power. While he signed the letter advising the USA to develop the atomic bomb, as he feared the danger of the Nazis doing it first, he later regretted it. He campaigned against the use of weapons of mass destruction, eventually signing before his death a letter that would lead to the creation of an organization seeking to reduce their threats.

Throwing back a photo from SiPgoes52 about Harmony, that also matches the pacifist theme of this week.

If you’re in to show us your vision of this famous man, be sure to tag your photos with #SiP_Albert_Einstein on social media.

Taakse jää! Taakse jää!

Disney Revival

In my previous post, I mentioned that I grew up in the 90s being heavily influenced by movies from the second Disney golden age. Still today, I’m a huge Disney fan. But between the 90s and today, there’s been a gap during which my interest in Disney animation movie went down.

Indeed, towards the end of the 90s, quality in Disney animation went down. With the arrival of computer animated graphics, (non-Pixar) Disney really struggled. Things started to change in 2006 when Disney bought Pixar, and John Lasseter, Woody‘s father, was put in charge of Disney Animation Studious.

But I didn’t catch the train back then. I had no expectation from Disney anymore. Things changed with Frozen. I didn’t see it in a movie theater, but one or two years after its release. Frozen blew my mind and made me realize that we were entering another Disney golden age.

So not only Disney had a strong influence on me in the 90s, but it keeps influencing me nowadays with new film releases.

After the first Disney CMF series, I thought we would soon get a second one… But it didn’t happen. When this new series was announced, I was truly thrilled. And excited when I saw that some of my favorite characters were part of the series.

Continue reading “Taakse jää! Taakse jää!”

SiP goes Denmark- The Agenda

The Story So Far

As most of you know, this year toy photo safari will take us to Denmark. Between the 27th and 30th of June we are going to spend some happy times taking pictures, laughing and creating memories with old and new friends alike. And finally we can share the detailed agenda with all of you. Including the final registration form that we want you all to complete. But first things first: the agenda.

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Knabbel & Babbel

Chip & Dale are cartoon characters created at Walt Disney Productions by Bill Justice.

Origins

First meeting… with Pluto! Walt Disney made many short films in the army during the Second World War. Private Pluto from April 1943 is one of them. As a guard dog, Pluto must guard a small bunker. And by chance two squirrels use that bunker as a storage place. It is the first performance by Chip and Dale.

Continue reading “Knabbel & Babbel”

SiPgoes53 – The March Recap

March is over and spring is on its way. Last month we explored Elon Musk, the woman of your choice, Bjarke Ingels, Hedy Lamarr, and Socrates. It’s time to look at your entries that caught our eyes on Instagram.

(If you want to join in the SiP goes 53 series you can still join at your own pace and leisure. Just tag along and creatively explore our handpicked 52 humans. One every week.)

Continue reading “SiPgoes53 – The March Recap”

Disney Magic

I’m almost ashamed that a few weeks ago I wrote about how I was tired of pop culture. Yet I have to admit that I’ve been pretty excited just thinking about the upcoming Disney movie releases. The live action version of Aladdin, the remake of the Lion King, Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2.

I’m a huge Disney fan. Needless to say that for me, Disney nostalgia goes hand in hand with toy photography. I grew up in the 90s and the Disney animation movies from the second Disney golden age had a strong influence on me.

After the first Disney CMF series, I thought we would soon get a second one… But it didn’t happen. When the new series was announced, I was truly thrilled. And excited when I saw that some of my favorite characters were part of the series.

But before writing about those characters, I have to finish a work in progress project that was started in December.

Continue reading “Disney Magic”

Week 15 – Simone de Beauvoir

After exploring Socrates two weeks ago, this week we’re looking at another philosopher. This time though, she’s quite the opposite of Socrates (and not because she’s a woman).

Indeed, while Socrates is known as the founder of western philosophy, Simone Bertrand de Beauvoir is known for being a key figure of existentialism, a modern way of thinking, sitting at the top of the evolution of western philosophy.

A Philosopher, A Teacher

De Beauvoir, originally a teacher, never considered herself a philosopher. Even though some assume that she developed the ideas of Jean-Paul Sartre who she met while studying in Paris. The two shared a lifelong relationship.

A Feminist

She wrote many novels, essays and biographies dealing with either politics, philosophy or social issues. Still, for many Simone de Beauvoir will be a key personality for the feminist movement. In 1949 de Beauvoir published a treatise called “The Second Sex”. Today this is known to be the works that started the sex-gender distinction. Before that, the the role of women were defined historically and by society. She wanted women to be free of this role-thinking and to become independent and self-determined.

This And More

But only reducing her life to being a writer, a philosopher or a feminist wouldn’t be enough. She also wrote many travel diaries from the U.S.A, China, Cuba or Italy. She was also a founder and editor of the political magazine Les Temps Moderne.

SiPgoes53

As often the human beings we explore have multiple facets that can lead images. Here again, Simone de Beauvoir can be explored through different angles. Either as a simple human being with a personal life, or through her own achievements and the impact they had on modern society. Which one will you choose?