Meet José

This week’s SiPgoes52 word is “inspiration”. So let’s use that opportunity to be inspired by José who’s our guest for this week’s #FeatureFriday interview around a virtual cup of coffee.

About José

Hi! My name is José David. I’m just a Spanish guy in the middle of his 20’s (well, actually a little closer to the 30’s) and currently based in Majorca. I’ve studied chemistry and environmental technology at the university, and I usually work wearing a lab coat while trying not to stain myself with samples or chemical reagents. In addition to that, I also try to be a good teacher to youngsters and help them to understand the exciting (hmm…maybe sometimes not that much) world of science they must study for their exams.

I think I’ve always liked to take photos, although I hadn’t discovered it could be an exciting hobby until a few years ago. I remember being a child and asking my father to use his analogic camera to shoot some photos when we went on a trip anywhere or on a holiday. I also have to recognize that most of those photos were overexposed or just out of focus. I had no idea about how it worked to take a good shot, but it was fun anyway just pointing my eye through the visor and shooting what I wanted.

I didn’t realise I would enjoy as much taking photos until I had my first DLSR camera around three years ago. After a lot of reading on the internet, I decided to take a step forward and buy a Nikon D3200. I discovered a whole new world of possibilities. Manual adjustments let me control better focus, aperture and shutter speed. I could play with long exposure, freezing shots, bokeh effects, and better portraits… As I came from a small Sony digital camera with mostly automatic adjustments, I tried to spend more time learning about improving the technique as well as looking how to transmit better how I see things through the lens.

José and toy photography

I can’t tell with precision when it all started. As a child, I used to play with Action Man figures, Playmobil and LEGO when I got my first red cube filled with LEGO System pieces. Not too long after, I got my first LEGO minifigures, and those first sets were mainly from police and space themes. I was particularly in love with the adventurers series from 1999, from which I wish I had a few more sets. (I managed though to get as gifts the temple, a car, and a small plane.)

I think I started taking photos a little bit more serious when I began watching LEGO stop-motion videos on Youtube. I was amazed by the movie effects that could be achieved, and I thought it would be a good idea to try to make some stop-motion movies myself and recreate those effects. So I took my Sony camera, built some scenery and started taking frames. At that time, I managed to create one or two small videos I feel quite proud of, although I know they won’t win any “Oscar”.

At some point, I left stop-motions and started taking just some LEGO pictures with the “macro” mode of my Sony camera. I really liked the proximity effect, or maybe the fact that you can focus more on details… or just the way those photos made me feel. I enjoyed them more than other types.

I would say my path in toy photography is just at its beginning… Indeed, I think I still need to explore new possibilities with all the resources I have and broaden my gallery with something different from LEGO 😊

Sometimes it gets kind of hard for me to describe feelings or emotions with words. I think toy photography lets me fill the frame better with the ideas that come to my mind. I think it’s easier to relate to my vision of things by making or finding a scenario for minifigures. And portrait myself in many of them. Sometimes I also get lucky and I just come up with a cute shot without too much thinking or preparation.

José and SiPgoes52

I’ve been shooting less every time since last year. Due to many reasons, I didn’t find enough time or inspiration to take the camera out and shoot some photos. Then I found this blog and the challenge was just in time for me to think about getting back to work. That was a good chance to get some responsibility, continuity, and dedication to avoid letting my camera and motivation get dusty into its case. That’s how I began shooting for #sipgoes52.

Spirituality

I have to admit not all photos are “fresh” taken. Sometimes I cannot get enough time, or I just don’t feel fine to come up with a new idea so I just try to find into my archives something that could fit into that week’s word.

José’s favorite words

There are words I feel more connected to, like confidence, power or balance. Maybe it’s because what they transmit and how I thought they would fit more with my personal vision. Like confidence in ourselves and power to make changes happen and manage to get balance in life.

Power
Balance

But if I have to choose, I would take faith as my best so far. It inspired believing in something and getting the force to keep on moving forward, no matter the adversity. I was not sure about how to put this vision into a frame, but then I found the light from a candle… and the rest was to place the two minifigs, and trying to get a good focus. I didn’t expect to enjoy the result as much as I finally did.

Faith

At the time of writing this, I’m pretty curious about the word “inspiration”. (This week’s word!) It’s still early to get an image of what it can look like… But in the end, inspiration has been the main word that has taken all of us up here. With 47 words since the beginning, I’m sure there will be more than 47 reasons to get inspired :)

Completing SiPgoes52

I plan (and I’m sure I will) to complete the project. Even though I’ve tried to be up to date with every word, I haven’t managed them all. But I’m still in the game!

Humanity

I learned it’s not a good idea to let work pending to do until the last day…but I still fail sometimes at it. At least I’ve learned to be more constant with my work and not to give up if things don’t come easy. Additionally, I’ve found with every week tag many photographers on Instagram who have really good shots, as well as very different visions of every word.

I would recommend SiPgoes52 to anyone who wants a fun and complete challenge. It’s also good for learning to take photos with a broader meaning. For me, it’s been my very first long challenge in photography, and I hope it will not be the last one. Maybe I can take the chance someday for a 365 challenge…

Let’s thank José for his time with us! Be sure to keep following his photography on Instagram: @jdpinto91.

(And see you next week for one last #SiPgoes52 #FeatureFriday!)

And feel free to join the conversation and let José know what his images mean to you.

5 Replies to “Meet José”

  1. Hi Josè,

    Amazing journey. I am not sure where to start as this coffee talk touches on so many interesting points it feels like a four courses dinner :)

    I jotted down some notes when I (re) read your post.

    1. Chemistry and Scientists. I am not sure if there is something special to the LEGO brick, but it does feel it has a special attention point with scientists of all kinds. Something we need to keep a close eye on and maybe open a science corner in our forums to talk Avogrado, Newton, and Plank. Or maybe we should focus on this next year (sweet innocent smile). Just happy to have met another passionate toy photographer.
    2. DSLR. I do think that getting a “real” camera still helps to become a better story teller. The best camera is the camera you have ready to use is for sure a true adagio, but taking the (intermediate) step of shooting with a DSLR helps on making the story more clear. Today the latest smart phones are producing amazing results with build in AI and smart focus and DOF. However look at the power you can unleash on such smart devices when you add your knowledge to it you picked up with a DSLR. I really think a smartphone is a good camera, but a DSLR helps you in your journey as a storyteller and makes you even take better picture with a “lesser” camera.

    3. Please do share some of your LEGO Stop Motion movies here. I really would like to see them. Please do.

    4. Sony Macro Style. Another so spot on remark. You liked the style of your Sony Macro and that is awesome. We all have to look for our own pencil that help us write our story at that time of our journey. Filters, cameras, gear, glass, all makeup of the language, that vocabulary we have in our bag. Remember that Sony moment. It is important to continue develop your own voice. Your own story telling.

    5. Spirituality. I just love that image. It just blows me away.

    6. Fresh. Words of wisdom. Fresh is in the eye of the viewer. We really should look at the total body of our work. Great work is timeless and has no experation date. One of our challenges we have today is that we are made to believe we live in a instant stream of fresh content. And while our audiences will remember when we repost an image 5 times, our body of work should be a continous inspiration for fresh work. It does not matter we clicked the shutter 5 years ago. Hmm. I feel a post upcoming.

    7. I love POWER. That image is for me number one. It really speaks to me. It is … very powerful.

    8. Faith. Beautiful image. Yet, for me, 6 is soo much more powerful. So remember to keep these two angles in mind. Your audience may have a different taste :)

    Thanks again for hanging out with us and sharing your work with us.

    Sorry if I sounded like an old man, you just got me inspired to get lengthy.

    Boris

    1. Hi Boris,

      Thanks a lot for your comments and notes. I’m gla
      d you got inspired to get lengthy…it’s always good to see how things are seen from another point of view.

      1. I don’t know if scientists are a major collective interested on LEGO…I can only tell for sure I am. I actually enjoy reading and talking about science, so if someday you feel like opening a corner for Avogadro and his friends I would be happy to join the discussion :)
      2. At that moment, getting a DLSR camera meant to go a little bit further from the configuration limits my camera had. I’ve been always happy with my old Sony camera and as you have reminded me, specially with its macro mode (you can see science photos and the cookie guy from this post had been taken with it). Nevertheless, I wondered how it was to play with manual adjustments an trying new photography fields. It got me a lot of reading and thinking before I finally took the step forward…and I definitely don’t regret it.
      3. I don’t know if I might have created so many expectations about my few stop-motions…you can find my steps on this field in this old youtube channel:

      https://www.youtube.com/user/estonoesserio08

      I have one or two more videos I didn’t post at that moment…maybe I should find them and share so my small collection of stop-motions is complete.

        4. I think I am getting back to that style even with new camera and materials…some months ago I bought some “macro” filters (not as good as a macro lens, but sure a lot cheaper). One curious handicap I had with my new DLSR at first was I couldn’t take photos at very close distance due to my lens, so if I wanted to shot a close-up I had to take a broader pic and crop it later, and the final effect wasn’t the same.

        5. I’m glad I managed to transmit the feeling :)

        6. I agree with you on that. Maybe trying to create new content with not much anticipation does usually lead to lack of time, inspiration or just not feeling in the mood to shoot something new. Probably it would be better to focus at the moments we really feel inspired or motivated to shoot, no matter which moment it is but being another brick to our total body of work.

      7&8. I’ll try to keep as many angles in mind as I can…so I can get to more and better images that really speak.

      Thanks again for your comments, and thanks to all you for offering me this virtual coffe (although I also agree with you it better looks like a long long dinner) and letting me be a small part of all this wonderful community.

      José

  2. I’m also working in a “lab” in a university (but I don’t wear a lab coat and my tools are mostly computers). I also started to take photography seriously when I got a DSLR. For me what blew my mind was the ability to frame a photo through a viewfinder and ignore the surrounding world. (Funny thing… I now mostly rely on my live view for toy photos.) And I was also watching LEGO stop motion movies on Youtube before discovering toy photography. But I’ve never tried stop motion myself though… I doubt I would have the patience it requires.

    It’s always fun to try different toys than LEGO. That said, I still come back to LEGO because they have something other toys don’t have.

    Oh and finally, I also used many old photos for SiPgoes52, sometimes even repositing photos I had already posted. I think it’s fine. SiPgoes52 is not only about taking photos, but also about looking back and reflecting on our own journey.

    1. Hi Maëlick,

      I had the same feeling about shooting a DLSR from the viewpoint…I almost didn’t use it in my old camera.

      Regarding stop-motions…I didn’t work too long on them but it really needs a lot of patience. And not only that but also thinking how much you should move the figure and scenery to fit the movement you have in mind with the final frame speed, plus the time spent in post-processing and adding visual effects to animations (I barely know anything about it, but I bet it takes a lot of time). I used to work with the old Windows Movie Maker and Camtasia Studio.

      Definititely I will have a look at different toys for new photos…LEGO are the ones I have most, and the ones I feel closer to.

      It is true that it’s also a good point to see how we have changed from time ago. For #sipgoes52 I first felt I could take a photo per week, but sometimes I’ve found it quite hard. And I agree with you…looking at pictures from the past, you really see how you’ve changed over time.

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