Focus, Defocus, Refocus


There hasn’t been much focus lately…
Since I came back from Norway, my summer photo project has stalled for various reasons. But hopefully, I’ll be back on track soon!

Fail, Rinse, Repeat. Refocus.

This winter was packed with snow and toy photography, and it has been the opportunity for many experimentations. But when summer arrived I decided it was time to refocus. Try to bring some consistency in my photography instead of spreading across many different themes and characters.

One of my most successful experimentation from the last winter.

Before Boris told us about the summer project, I already had in mind to spend my summer working on a secret project that would materialize as a book. I wanted to focus for an extended period of time on producing a cohesive series of photo. Try different things, fail, rinse and repeat.

June was about taking as many photos as possible with a narrow selection of toys. The goal was to find what works and what doesn’t. (Or at the very least what doesn’t work well enough for me). By the end of the month, I already had a good amount of material to use as part of my photo project.

Moomintroll is one of the few figures I photographed during the summer when I wasn’t focused on the project.


But after a very active trip to the Far North, I came back home tired and needed a break.
I needed to defocus.
Stop taking pictures for a while.
Take some distance from the social media frenzy.
Spend time thinking about where I went and where I’m going. I’ve spent a month taking no photos, only interrupted by our special Ninjago affair.
But I recently got back to shooting plastic in a rather unexpected way…

Fun in the sauna with toys and strobes. Not the way I envisioned going back to photography after a one-month sabbatical.

It’s actually pretty easy to produce a good photo to post on social media. It’s even not that hard to produce a few. But making a strong coherent photo series is, at least for me, much harder. It is incompatible with the instantaneity of today’s Internet. This kind of projects requires time to mature.

A sketch. A secret prototype.

I have produced a book based on the photos I took during the summer and I’m now waiting for it to arrive in my mailbox. But it won’t be what I initially intended. No big concert, just jamming acoustically.
It will be a sketch, a prototype of the real book I will eventually make.
I will show this one to old and new friends when we meet in Scotland in order to get their feedback.

But besides Scotland, this will stay a secret project for an extended period of time. And maybe next year it will be ready for a bigger show…?

Any hint about who might be the star of my book?

Have you ever tried to work on a larger project than just a few related pictures? Have you also experienced obstacles when it comes to putting images together?

Sharing the Adventures in The North of my Plastic Friends.

8 Replies to “Focus, Defocus, Refocus”

  1. Nice, I like this, we all need to take time to focus and sometimes defocus. I think I’m gonna take some time to focus on a smaller range of figures after reading this.

    1. Thanks! Focusing on a few figures for an extended period of time is not necessarily easy though. It can be difficult to find which toy(s) can be photographed over and over without becoming boring. Personally it took me several tries in order to find characters that would continue to inspire me after 10, 20 or more photos.

  2. I have tried but only in 2-3 images. And I hear you about cutting down on social media, think it stressing me. Perhaps I also need to refocus. Good post!

    1. Between Flickr not aging well, IG and its feed algorithm and Google+ and its tremendous amount of spam, I really struggled finding motivation to go there to look at others’ photos, but also posting mine. I think I should at some point try to write a blog post about social media :-)

  3. Beautiful post, Maelick.

    There are so many different aspects I connect with.
    Refocus, Defocus, Focus. A secret sketch book. Social Madness.

    And than that last image is just *awesome*.
    Frankie is really going places.
    I hope I can borrow him at least for one shoot in the lochs next month.


    1. The last image was taken just before heading to the ferry in Helsinki. I knew I would end up getting wet but I always love when the sky gets covered with those dramatic dark grey clouds when a storm is coming :-)

      That said Frankie/T-Rap will be there in Scotland, ready to play with whoever wants to play with him ;-)

  4. The pic with Frankie at the end is just beautiful !! BTW the entire news is interesting, I should try to make a sketchbook to prepare my pics, even if I love to walk randomly with my camera and a box of toys !

    1. Thanks!

      Actually I didn’t mean by sketch something I prepared before going to take pictures. Outdoor photography is so unpredictable that I find it quite hard to prepare my photos and make sketches before going out. I also like to let the location inspire me.

      Here by sketch I mean photos I took without knowing whether they will be the final images or not. I took many photos to try what works and what doesn’t. Then I selected the best ones and tried to make a story out of them. It’s a “sketchbook” in the sense that it is a draft of the book I plan to make. Some photos might be part of that final book, some won’t. And there are photos that are also missing.

      But taking existing photos and arranging them as a coherent series, or trying to sketch photos before making a series, are both great challenges to take :-)

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