What Is Your Inspiration?

Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information. – Man Ray

I could spend my time explaining photography technique, talking camera gear or trading tips on editing apps…but I think a more interesting question is why do we (all of us toy photographers) take photographs of Lego mini figures.

I did not grow up with the toy, it is not a part of my history, it is not a big part of my cultural heritage. In fact I am probably one of the most inept brick builders on the planet. Think Emmet at the beginning of the Lego movie. My greatest skill I bring to my family’s Lego obsession (their’s not mine) is my impeccable sorting skills.

So what is so attractive about these little plastic friends? Is it our ability to project our own thoughts and dreams on the many different characters created? Is it a need to revisit our child hood and rediscover the joy of play? Is it sheer boredom? Is it a release from the stresses and pressures of life? Is it simply proximity and easy access?

What is your inspiration? What keeps you motivated and moving forward photographically?

Once you know this, life will not be able to side track you, no matter how hard it tries.

~ xxsjc

Ansel Adams, the WSJ and a bowl full of mush.

This morning while I was enjoying my morning bowl of mush and reading the Wall Street Journal I came across a wonderful article on photography. It had me on the first paragraph:

Ansel Adams, a piano prodigy before he picked up a camera, once declared that the photographic negative was like a musical “score,” while the final print was akin to the concert “performance”. – except from What does Art Look Like by Richard B. Woodward

This brought me right back to the conversations that +Me2 and I have been having about the pros and cons of printing your own work. Yes, printers are a pain in the ass and the ink expensive. Yes, you can send your files out and get a perfectly serviceable image back. But if you want to take your game to the next level there is nothing to compare to making minor and major edits to a print based on seeing a proof come directly out of your own printer.

When the world was only shooting in black and white it was not uncommon to have a dark room in your own house. With the advent of color printing this became unfeasible and most photographers where content to send their film to a lab for printing. Now with excellent inexpensive printers (a relative statement I know) plentiful, it seems a shame to send out what can be done easily in the comfort of your own home.

I’m not usually a control freak, but I find it indispensable to see what my images look like off the screen before I deem them worthy of showing and selling. Light, color, shadows, highlights all look different and once the image is on paper. I will often see corrections that need to be made that I could never have foreseen by looking at a screen.

So call me old school, but I agree with Ansel Adams and feel that to fulfill your potential as an artist you need to print your own work.

~ xxsjc

Go ahead and read the WSJ article I mention earlier, it refutes everything I just said. 

In further defense of printing, if I had not enlarged this image myself, I would never have seen the spider climbing on the rock. This is a detail that can only be seen at A2 or larger, but in my opinion it makes the image. 

Stuck in the dungeons …

The coming weeks will be silent from my end.

From secret meetings rooms without smartphones to underground sessions in non disclosed locations will make it a challenge to post long and deep posts here.

I will however try to get out a daily #selfie out.

Footnotes to self:
Day XVII in my personal challenge.
As always, stay tuned and leave your view in the comments below or on your social platform of choice …    

  

Monsieur Croissant

Today Shelly and me had an interesting discussion about influences, copyrights, inspirations and bluntly stealing (I should not have taken that donut from her).

I am sure we have not said the last here on this topic, and while I want to stay far away from big ticket items like copyright infringement and big Inc. owning the worlds of our dreams, there is a big difference between stealing and stealing.

Like Shelly wrote in her post earlier, steal like a real artist and get inspired but don’t just copy without the credit.

So, if you are liking someones style or art work, and you work hard to recreate it in your own, then give credit by starting of with an homage.

Tell the world who is inspiring you and which dreams you want to explore …

It not only gives you the chance of being recognized by those who have inspired you, it also makes the difference between stealing like an artist and being a douchbag.

 Me2

Footnotes to self:
Day XVI in my personal challenge.
As always, stay tuned and leave your view in the comments below or on your social platform of choice …   

 

Wanted: Your Board Room

Shelly and me are working hard on getting our first annual recurring “Stuck In Plastic On Tour” real live exposition organized and are looking for some exclusive locations around the globe like your corporate board room or private coffee shop to show off the very first ever Stuck in Plastic traveling collection which will be traveling around the globe later this year …

Interested ?

Give Shelly or me a tweet, message, comment or good old voice call …

Me2

Footnotes to self:
Day 14 in my personal challenge.
As always, stay tuned and leave your view in the comments below or on your social platform of choice …

Englishmen in New York

Aliens

As part of the annual spring cleaning and preparing myself for the summer ahead I brought my body in to my local favorite store for a thorough sensor cleansing ahead of May Fourth.

After a good twelve minutes I got the verdict my body was too dirty and needed attention of the mother ship.

The Death Star …
Ouch.

Luckily I was close to the mother ship and was able to leave the body for a complete clean and check up session but was not mentally prepared to hear it would take a good two (or three weeks) to get the body rejuvenated by the friendly Stormtrooper on duty.

I keep my fingers crossed the friendly Trooper on the other side of the counter will do everything possible so I get it back before the photoshoot planned in two weeks from now.

That said, getting a mental break from being *forced* to shoot *new* and have the opportunity to revisit some of my older shoots, clean up and redefine my workflow and spend some quality time with Lightroom Five and  Epson 3880 may give a refreshing view here …

On the way back home, I felt very naked having to leave my body of choice behind and Sting was blasting from the speakers … An Englishmen in New York

Sometimes I feel like Sting or Crisp and feel like a legal alien here in Stockholm.

So what better as revisiting these shoots from our Alien friends who came in peace in 2012 …

Did you have your body checked recently ?

Me2

Footnotes to self:

Day 13 in my personal challenge  (and this is on old repost from 2012)

As always, stay tuned and leave your view in the comments below or on your social platform of choice … 

May the Fourth and my stormtrooper theory

Today we are between May 1st and May 4th. Both days have major significance. Yesterday +Me2  reminded me it was International Workers Day in much of the world and right around the corner is May the Fourth. This is practically a Star Wars holiday in the geek world. The closeness of these two “holidays” is not a coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidences. 

Earlier when Me2 asked in a post if the seasons effected how and what we photograph, it got me thinking. Why do we choose the figures we choose to shoot? Why is the most photographed figure in the toy community the ubiquitous Stormtrooper? You’ve seen him, I know you have, he’s everywhere!

Personally I haven’t been attracted to the Stormtrooper figure but a lot of people are. He has been photographed in every conceivable situation in a variety of sizes and styles. He is portrayed as the bumbling fool, the guy who can’t shoot straight, the deep thinker, the adventure seeker and the doting parent. A far cry from the elite soldiers who used brutal tactics to keep the Empire in line. This photograph by +Cellblog 1138  is a great example of the humanization of the Stormtrooper into the stern parent sending his “child” off to bed. The Stormtrooper has morphed from a dreaded enforcer of the Emperor’s will to a representation of the fallible yet lovable every man. 

Maybe I’m stretching a point (it wouldn’t be the first time). I think the figures we are attracted to photograph actually mean something. I think we choose figures / character we can relate to. I think we then take it the next step and imbue them with our own emotions and personalities. 

Do you have a favorite mini figure you like to shoot? Have you thought about what that figure means to you? Would you be willing to tell us who your favorite is and why? 

Feel free to tell me I’ve gone over the deep end or tell me “Duh!”, whichever is most appropriate. 

And as always, May the Fourth be with you! 

~ xxsjc
For the record I have replaced the Pandas for Storm Troopers in my little plastic world; they represent my Everyman. My favorite mini figures are the Chima Eagles. I like that they come in both black and white and therefore can represent good and evil. 

May Day

 

May 1st is in a lot of countries around the world (except the US) Labour Day and while some of us recover from a long night of partying others go out and march for labour rights and commemorate the Labour movement and the achievements of equal rights.

May 1st 2014 will also be remembered as the day the infamous working class hero family of Homer Simpsons joined our world in full force and are as of now ethernally stuck in plastic.

Homer and family passed by today at The Studio™for the annual May 1st Beers and Donuts, and young Bart was wearing a red shirt … 

No clue if it was symbolic or just the last clean one he had available.

Me2

Footnotes to self:

Day 12 in my personal challenge (and this picture will end up in the dark room on G+)

As always, stay tuned and leave your view in the comments below or on your social platform of choice …