My struggle with Instagram (and social media)

I struggle with social media. Particularly with Instagram.

It’s been going on for years now. More than once, I wrote a draft for a blog post about it, but never posted any of them. It gradually became worse, but it felt like it couldn’t get any worse during this summer.

I still check Instagram multiple times a day. However, each time I scroll the app on my phone, I feel the same: there’s barely anything interesting. I feel completely disengaged from the platform as a viewer.

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How I failed at recreating one of my toy photos

Sometimes you make an image that you love, but end up not entirely happy with it. There is a tiny detail that you think is a bit off. You might notice it as soon as you take it. Or it might be years later. Eventually, you decide to attempt to fix it by reshooting the image.

The sad truth is that this is not always a successful endeavor.

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First impressions on the new LEGO Haunted House

I’ve been lucky to spend the past weekend building, playing with, and photographing the new LEGO 18+ Creator Expert 1073 Haunted House.

A week ago, on Monday, I got a notification from LEGO that a mystery package was on its way. Back then, I had no idea what to expect. Stefan told me it could be the leaked set that was “everywhere” online. As I don’t really follow people sharing leaks, I didn’t know what it was. When I finally saw the photos, I had mixed feelings.

I knew at some point I would have to take photos of the next Fairground set for LEGO. Yet, I had no clue what it would be, and couldn’t really imagine what LEGO could come up after the Ferris Wheel, Carousel, and Roller Coaster.

Even though I’m currently busy taking photos for our friends at LEGO, I want to take a break to share my early thoughts on this set. As I’ve said, my initial reaction to the official pictures was rather mixed. But I also knew I just couldn’t really judge such a set based on images. Now that I’ve had time to build it, play with and look at it over multiple days, I think I can put words on the good, the bad… and the ugly.

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Photographing a modular building

I love LEGO’s modular building series. But while they’re among my favorite sets, I had never photographed any. They’re great sets to build and look great in Beastburg, my own LEGO city. As an outdoor photographer though, they’re not what usually inspires me to photograph.

However, I didn’t buy the two previous modulars, the Diner, and the Garage. I initially wanted to as they look beautiful, but I ended up making the decision of skipping them. The main reason being that the style is quite different than the previous buildings I own, and thus they wouldn’t fit that well together. (And then there was the other problem that my city would eventually be full…)

But when I saw the first images of this year’s modular, 10270 Bookshop, I knew I’d have to get it. And then it happened that we’d get one for review from LEGO. The idea of challenging myself with photographing yet another type of large LEGO set was planted in my head.

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Road Movie

Our first theme after resetting SiPgoesTT is Road Movie.

A road movie usually tells the story of one or multiple characters who leave home and go on a road trip. Often, it is all about the protagonist(s) changing and growing from their travel experience along the way. Road movies do not focus on the goal of the trip, but rather the journey itself to reach it.

Road movies have a long tradition in North American culture. This isn’t surprising. Most people in the USA live alongside the two coasts, separated by thousands of kilometers. Quite the opposite of Old Europe, where everyone’s live close to each other.

While travel stories can go back to The Odyssey, it’s the story of Huckleberry Finn in the late 19th Century that inspired the modern concept. It was also popularized during the Golden Age of Hollywood with movie adaptations of classic literature such as The Wizard of Oz and The Grapes of Wrath. Following World War 2, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road also became a significant source of inspiration. It’s then in the late 60s that the concept of road movie became a genre of its own, with classics such as Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider.

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Celebrating 4 years of LEGO Pirate Photography with the Pirates of Barracuda Bay

Today is a special day.
The new LEGO Ideas set, the Pirates of Barracuda Bay, is publicly revealed.

But Sunday, I noticed it’s even more special to me.

For the past 10 days, I’ve been playing with the new Pirates of Barracuda Bay LEGO Ideas set, taking pictures for LEGO. All this in secret. This has been a very special project for me as I have a special relationship with pirates.

And today, on the day I can finally talk about it, it also appears it is the 4th anniversary of one of my favorite photos. The One that changed everything.

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Winter Holidays at the Elven School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Over a week ago, I noticed it was already February and that the Winter Holidays (and 2019) were already far behind us now… Yet I still haven’t written about the photo project, centered around the 2019 LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar, that kept me busy in December.

Without any doubts, this calendar was for me the best LEGO ever made. Not a single gift felt unnecessary, uninteresting, too simplistic or lacking details. Maybe this was because of the novelty and maybe the next one (assuming we will get another HP calendar) will feel repetitive like the other Star Wars or City calendars. Yet, I loved it so much that I don’t care if Christmas is long gone and I can’t wait until next year to write about my little HP/Elves cross-over project.

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What’s the Best Disney of 2019?

This blog post is a bit different from the usual ones about toy photography. But being a (toy) photographer is not only about taking photos (of toys). It’s also about inspiration. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might have noticed that I’m a Disney fan. Like LEGO, it’s been an integral part of my childhood and something I can’t separate from being a toy photographer.

During the holidays, I decided to catch up with all the Disney releases of 2019. Initially, I wanted to make a short Instagram post about my opinion on last year’s Disney movies. However, it quickly became too long so instead, I decided to write it as a blog post. Maybe this will be the first post in a series about movie reviews.

Elsa invited her “LEGO colleagues” to enjoy the mild Nordic winter so Woody could pick his favorite movie of 2019.

Frozen 2 – the one I wanted to see most

The only one I was genuinely excited about was Frozen 2. I usually don’t expect much from sequels though. But the first trailer got me quite intrigued. And after all, Frozen is the Disney movie about the North.

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The Best of the 2019 LEGO Friends Advent Calendar

My experience with LEGO Advent calendars has been quite a disappointment in the past years. After regretting not getting a Star Wars calendar in 2014, I got one in 2015 and 2016. Then LEGO stopped including exclusive Christmas-themed minifigures in the Star Wars calendars, so I stopped buying them. While I’ve been tempted more than once by the City calendars, I had got one in 2014 and felt like there was not enough novelty for getting one again.

But this year, I decided to get two calendars: the new Harry Potter calendar, and for the first time the, Friends calendar. With not much left to do with SiPgoes53, much of my photographic effort has been focused on these two calendars.

So on this Christmas morning, I wanted to share my thoughts about the Friends calendar.

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Week 51 – René Magritte

This week’s human being is Magritte, one of the most famous surrealist painters. The idea of including him on the list came from wanting to include painters.

When I think of painters, there are names that come first. Like Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Picasso, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Monet, and Magritte.

It seems natural to me for Magritte to come among the firsts, but maybe this is because I grew up in Belgium. If I try to go back to my oldest memories of paintings, I think of “La grande famille”. But I would expect it’s not the case for most people. Thus, Magritte seemed like an appropriate non-obvious choice for SiPgoes53.

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