Week 50 – Agatha Christie

I’ve always loved a good old classic detective story. You know the kind where the reader is presented a set of suspects, follows a detective and gets the same clues. Eventually, the detective gathers the suspect to reveal how the murder was done. At that point, if you’re as smart as the detective, you should know who’s the killer.

Agatha Christie’s stories are probably the best example of such stories.

While I’ve actually read only one of her novels, I’ve seen plenty of adaptations of her stories on TV. In particular, I’ve always been a fan of the ones with Hercule Poirot.

For this week, I would really have loved to take a photo inspired by my favorite Hercule Poirot story, Death on the Nile… But that’s not really an option in Northern Finland at the start of winter. (And I’ve already done the Egyptian Elves in the Snow.)

So instead I decided to go with probably the most famous one, Murder on the Orient Express. The snowy environment being much more fit. To get some inspiration for this week, I decided to (re-)watch a couple of the film adaptations of Agatha Christie’s work.

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Getting ready for Xmas

Christmas is a magical time, even at Hogwarts. As soon as December comes around, The Great Hall transforms into a Winter Wonderland. But did you know that the annual display isn’t forged by magic?

Xtra to the rescue

Despite Hogwarts being the home of some of the world’s most skillful witches and wizards, they just can’t quite do Christmas like Muggles can. And that’s why the job of bringing the festive spirit to the castle is sub-contracted to Xtra, the Muggle-based decoration company (you may have seen their signage, botanical installments, or catering business before?)

Dumbledore and Hagrid welcome the Xtra team to Hogwarts. Two boats were just enough to transport all of their kits. But boy was it cold out on the Great Lake, beanie hats were a must!
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Week 49 – Walt Disney

I doubt there is much need to introduce Walt Disney. Loved or hated, it is hard to deny the cultural impact of his company when most currently living generations (at least in the Western world) have grown up surrounded by Disney animation movies.

For this week, I decided to pay tribute to Disney by making a series of photos rather than a single one. (A bit like I did for J.K. Rowling.) I mixed and matched my collection of Elves and Disney minidolls. Practically, that mostly meant making elvenized versions of Disney princesses.

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Best Photo of 2019?

Every year, towards the end of the year, Flickr creates a group called “Your Best Shot”. This year’s group will be open on Monday.

Every year, it is an occasion for me to reflect on my own photography. Decide what is my favorite and most representative photo of the year. Reflect on a journey and think about how to plan the future. But this year I actually have a hard time choosing a single photo.

For the past four years, choosing my favorite photo has been relatively easy. From the time I had taken and edited each of them, I had that feeling of “it might be the best of this year”. But so far, it didn’t happen in 2019.

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Week 48 – Ada Lovelace

This week, our human being of #SiPgoes52 is no one else than Ada Lovelace. Daughter of Lord Byron (a key figure of Romanticism and one of the first modern celebrities), she is known as the first programmer… A century before the construction of the first computer.

Raised by her mother who encouraged her to pursue her interest in mathematics, she got into contact with scientists and intellectuals from the 19th Century including Faraday and Dickens. Because of her keen mathematical sense, she collaborated closely with Charles Babbage who had invented a machine similar in essence to modern computers.

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Week 47 – Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan, in his original Portuguese form Fernão de Magalhães, was the man who led the first circumnavigation around the world. This week is all about the age of discovery and the great explorers from the 15 to 17th century.

Christopher Columbus is the most well-known explorers, yet we picked Magellan as a less obvious choice.

I’ve always been fascinated by Magellan. It’s with certainty to discover a route South of America that he led his expedition to success. Moreover, we now know that Columbus wasn’t the first European to set foot in America. While I don’t want to reduce the significance of the (re-)discovery of America by Columbus, I find that circumnavigating the world is one of the most important milestones towards a globally connected world.

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A little bit disappointed …

Last week I got an email from LEGO asking if I was an Original.
You most probably got the same.
We all got it.
How original is that.
Yet I was intrigued.
A beautiful crafted LEGO minifigure.
Five-time the size of the real deal.
An exclusive, handcrafted oak minifigure, challenging to unleash my creativity.

An exclusive, handcrafted red oak minifigure

Challenging me to unleash my creativity …

I was hooked.
And I clicked the link, and swiped my credit card.
I am after all a fan of all things LEGO, and this exclusive Original begged to come over to my place. The checkout page told me I was limited to two pieces max. While I was tempted to buy two, the pretty steep price point (yes, pretty steep) made me think twice and I only bought one.

On Friday I got a notification a package was waiting for me.
I got that creative feeling that this would be fun, and my mind drifted away to all the things I could do this weekend with my new minifigure in red wood oak.

Unboxing

Take it out into town.
Have a portrait photoshoot with my new camera (more on that later).
Get some creative street photography with my new friend.

I could not wait with unboxing it.

A little bit disappointed …

And that is where the disappointment started.

This little dude is completely not poseable.
A minifigure whose arms can’t move.
Whose legs are frozen in time.
One solid block of LEGO wood.

A sustainable block of wood as the FSC stamp stands for.
And a nice little visit card for roomcopenhagen.com which I was surprised to find here.
I would have hoped to get a unique serial number, since every piece is handcrafted, but I doubt my (H)/0001 is a real serial.

A beautifully crafted dead weight I can have on my desk to hold my Wacom pen.

Now, for 1399 SEK (130 EUR, 144 USD, 0,016 Bitcoin) this is a pretty expensive high-end dead weight. And LEGO advises me to get creative and build the buzz by painting or carving this beautiful dead weight. Now, at 1399 SEK one is not directly inclined to make a disruptive move.
At least I am not, as the object is beautiful on its own.
And so it actually does not invite to be a blank canvas that screams to be sculptured.
While you can see the inspiration may come from the CowParade, at this price point it is very elitish and I am not sure a lot of creatives will buy one to “create the buzz”…

My Buzz

My creative buzz … for now.

And this is where I think LEGO did not get it all right in this first of its Originals.
Or maybe LEGO tried to get too much in this little minifigure.

  • A collector item – yes
  • An expensive price point – yes
  • Beautifully crafted – yes
  • An inspiration to get creative with – maybe
  • A blank canvas – no
  • Playable – not really
  • Poseable – nope
  • And did I say – very expensive? Very expensive indeed.
  • And not something you give to kids to draw on and make their own art.

I am not saying you should not buy this for an AFOL that is looking for a timeless beautifully carved sculpture to have in their AFOL cave. But be aware of the limitations. This is not really a toy for kids to get creative with, and for us toy photographers it is a very static model, to say the least.

Looking for my Geppetto

So, here I am.
A little bit disappointed…
And looking for a carpenter that can make me a real poseable minifigure out of this one. With moveable legs and arms. My Gepetto…

Anyone around that knows someone that could help me out?

Week 46 – Edith Piaf

One of my favorite things about not living in a French-speaking country anymore is that I don’t have to put up with French music on a daily basis. I truly dislike (or should I even say despise?) most music sung in French. There are a few exceptions though. French punk. French and Breton folk music. And Edith Piaf.

Edith Piaf is one of the most famous French singers from the mid-20th century. This is due to her incredible voice. I’ve always been stunned by how powerful, unique and so hard to imitate her voice was.

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Week 45 – Ingrid Bergman

This week’s human being is no one else than Ingrid Bergman, one of the most famous Hollywood actresses of all time. To be honest, I don’t who picked her to be on our list, and even less why. (Besides being one of the most famous actresses of all time…)

Personally, I know Ingrid Bergman for three roles: as the co-star in Casablanca, for starring in Gaslight and for her supporting role in Murder on the Orient Express. Out of those three, my favorite is Gaslight, and thus the one I chose this week for inspiration. (That said, we might revisit Murder on the Orient Express in a few weeks…)

Like The Birds, Gaslight is one of those classic movies I watched as a teenager thanks to Arte. While it’s nothing like The Birds, the movie has some truly beautiful film noir cinematography and Ingrid Bergman’s performance is at its best. (I also can’t resist mentioning the appearance of a 19 years old Angela Lansbury.)

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Off Roading the Land Rover Defender

LEGO Technic Land Rover Defender 2019

The wonderful designers at the LEGO Group have only gone and done it again. The new Land Rover Defender 2019 has been released and like its original design, it is a force to be reckoned with. The new model 42110 from the Technic range is authentic and iconic. Developed in partnership with Land Rover, this impressive LEGO replica does not disappoint.

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