The High of the Spring Workshops

Reflecting on the two amazing Spring workshop sessions and after attending the May #SiPspringworkshop2021, it came to light that this was going to be a very different workshop for me. Interesting, because participants were required to shoot a toy that was non-LEGO along with their chosen brick colour theme. It was important to add the brick in preparation for the final group grid.

A Monster High Doll

When we were asked what our non-LEGO favourite toy, there was discussion throughout the group and I could virtually see excitement brewing. For this particular task, I had chosen the Monster High Doll that I purchased last year and never actually got round to shooting. Her name is Frankie Stein. As a matter of fact, this particular doll previously inspired a past post I had written, titled Hey Frankie Siren in which the challenge was to create a Frankenstein model out of the different Lego body parts.

In my childhood years, I grew up with Sindy dolls. I remember very well going to my local toy shop and purchasing ‘disco dance Sindy’. If I can be so bold to say, I do believe she may even be the only ever doll to be accompanied inside her box by a 7″ 45 RPM single Vinyl. The record by The Video Kids – Everybody Boogie! We’re having a party was released in the UK in 1981. Although Barbie was around at the time, I was never a fan of her beautiful perfections and her ever growing popularity. Nowadays, as an adult, I am loving the Monster High Themed Dolls and their haunting edge look, only wishing I could have played with them as a child instead.

Frankie Stein’s love of the LEGO Brick

The Collaborative Grid

For the purpose of the task, each participant chose their own unique toy representing each individual on what seemed like a personal level. And it was great to see so many different toys being used in the process. For some of us, including myself that element of creatively leaving the comfort zone of shooting LEGO, with the aim to shoot something completely different from my usual toy photography sent my mind thinking. On the contrary, it turned out really exciting. And it has prompted my thoughts when I initially purchased these dolls. Thus, reverting to the potential conceptual photoshoots that I can create in the future.

The Collaborative Grid

The Workshop Brief

Deliver one image in a square format and the other in a 5.1 format. Indeed, 5.1 is not your average camera format. With square in mind, it is easy to convert an image to square format especially if you are already photographing images with Instagram in mind. Then you are generally allowing for the crop. However, 5.1 creates a narrower height and a wider width. Immediately I knew I had to shoot my toy with this in mind to my usually full-frame format perspective.

5.1 Landscape Format

A Designer Handbag

There have been many toy manufactures who have had lines that have not worked and Monster High has been no exception. These particular dolls were made by the toy manufacture Mattel. Unfortunately, after failed attempts to reach specific audiences, in 2018 the product line was discontinued having resulted in low sales.

Needless to say, although the drop in popularity, I really like the way these dolls look and their edgy uniqueness. They are also amazing to photograph… Well once you get the balance of standing. After the workshop, I decided to continue using these dolls as my photographic models. They articulate well and I feel that I can bring them to life in one way or another, plus I have the added benefit of photobombing the shots using the LEGO Bricks as designer handbags.

Sarah Screams and Frankie Stein sharing designer handbag chatter

“Be Yourself, Be Unique, Be a Monster”

Inspired by the concept and visual appearance of these dolls. Shooting these non-Lego toys can perhaps diversifying my toy photography, allowing me to showcase another narrative. Plus I loved their slogan which was “Be Yourself, Be Unique, Be a Monster,” However, in 2016 Mattel changed it to “How Do You Boo?” I actually prefer the original, I thought it sent out a positive message to the audience it was aimed at, and a quote I tend to relate to. Be yourself, be unique!

Sarah Screams and Frankie Stein ready to leave

Is Monster High coming back in 2022

Next year, according to the official Monster High website, Mattle Inc and Nickelodeon have entered a ghoulish partnership ready to reboot the franchise. So we could be seeing Frankie Stein and a few friends heading back to Monster High in an animated series.

Sarah Screams and Frankie Stein photographic models

With the addition of a new Monster High friend on order, I can also see what I can create with dolls. Perhaps I can get the LEGO Land Rover Defender back out. I seem to think the perspective could work together perfectly.

Some more reflection…

Before leaving the last station, I wanted to share with you one last thought on the subject. One last reflection about “Reflections“: my thought process when it comes to photographing toys.

To be perfectly honest, most of my pictures are made on the fly. Spur of the moment. When I am somewhere, I have some many minifigures with me and I come up with an idea, inspired by the location. Some ideas are good and some not so much.

But from time to time, an image or a concept pops into my mind. So I write it down. I am using for that some virtual sticky notes with Google keep (a free app on my phone), to trace my ideas. It all starts with a couple of words.

“A stormtrooper looking overboard a boat and seeing my sigfig for reflection”

Continue reading “Some more reflection…”

Reflections on a photographic journey

I like to ponder about my personal journey…
Where do I come from?
Where am I?
Why am I here?
How did I come here?
Where am I going?
Where do I want to go?
What can I do now to arrive there?

I often ask myself these questions, maybe more than I should. Multiple times a month, sometimes even multiple times a week or a day. Spending countless of hours having those reflections has become both a hobby and a need. I’m not really a New Year resolutions person, but I’ve recently used the opportunity given by the New Year to review the state of my journey. Indeed this year there was a happy coincidence that New Year happened soon after I left home to go 3000 km north to spend (at least) a few years above 65º North. Continue reading “Reflections on a photographic journey”

First station: Reflections

When I was asked by Me2 to participate to his little adventure, it did not take me long to say Yes. He did not say much but he invited me to write twelve articles on twelve mysterious words.

I have no idea what I am getting into, but I will play along.

[clickToTweet tweet=”First station: Reflections. @ballou34 joins our new series on #StuckInPlastic” quote=”‘Life is a journey, not a destination” – Ralph Waldo Emerson”]

I don’t know where I am going, but let’s put on some music, some acoustic guitar.

Hop on this train (*) with me and let’s see where it will bring us.
A journey to the unknown.
First stop: Reflections. Continue reading “First station: Reflections”

Objectives

Woody and Jessie are taking their objectives seriously this year.

When we launched the first word reflections and made the connection with objectives, an image of Woody doing something with optic glass entered my mind. Words do that to me, they make me jump from one word to the other on to a different meaning and then sometimes there is that one image, linked to a word. An association made, an image that must be shot. I am sure that some of you will recognize the feeling. Continue reading “Objectives”

Reflections

The first month of the year.

January was a month of reflections.
A month of exploring why we are doing what we do.
Where we want to go and get some guidance and directions.
We don’t want to go the heavy road of human introspection and become all philosophical on you.
Just simple reflection.
Reflect on the past to look at the future.
Come up with a plan.
A creative roadmap. Continue reading “Reflections”