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 … 

Spring is in the air …

https://flic.kr/p/nan7n2

Walpurgis, or the preparation for trick and treat in six months time from now on All Hallows’ Eve kicks off the Spring Season in this segment of the world.

It is most interesting to see that the pagan celebration of nature elements is popping up  in our pictures once in a while.

Must be the sun and the golden hour
Maybe something we should explore in more depth.

Pagan, turning of the tides, Christian calendar and great shooting moments …

Enjoy Vappu / Valborg / Spring / Walpurgis …. and let us know what you captured now that spring is starting in this part of the world !

Me2

Footnotes to self:

Day 11 in my personal challenge.

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

K. I. S. S.

K. I. S. S. stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”.

I was reminded of that simple phrase when +Christoffer Östberg posted this photo of Embo to G+ today. When you are editing photos on an iPad or iPhone it is so convenient to whip out an effects app to create a little mystery or a little sparkle.

It was inspiring to hear Christoffer say this mysterious effect was simply the smoke rising from a recently extinguished match. It was great to see him take advantage of the macro format as well as the unpredictable element of the rising smoke.

So not only did I walk away with a great reminder of one of the basic tenants of photography, I was also inspired to try something new.

Oh…and did I mention that I now have a serious case of mini figure envy.

~ xxsjc

No Selfie

Today I had the great pleasure to be invited to a small reception where I had the opportunity to meet the King and the Queen of the country I call mine (I am living in my second home country).

While most of the time I am surrounded with NDA and other corporate agreements and these kind of opportunities just only make it as a backdrop in my shoots (unless the personalities walk into The Studio™ off-course) and so it was great to hear the royal protocol did allow for some discreet pictures, but we were explicitly asked to not take any “selfies“…

It was a unique experience (no pictures though as I want to respect the royal protocol) and I promise tomorrows post will include a gorgeous shoot for you to enjoy.

Me2
 

Footnotes to self:

Day 10 in my personal challenge (and the first without a picture)

While this my sound more like a tweet, this blog post will proof it historical value.

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

Kodak

Yesterday I posted a quick #selfie from the 2012 archive showing me with some classic Gevaert paper from my grandfathers collection which triggered Shelly to ask for your influences in a very strong post (do read the full story on the buffalo posting as it gives a great insight in the political inspired photo work that also this generation is not afraid of).

For me one of my key foundation influences is that I grew up in a family of passionate photographers and spent quite some time in supporting developing film in the dark room or long afternoons in diapositive working sessions.

So photography has always been there as a medium and became a natural language for me.

A language which further developed into a way of expressing myself.

Me2

Footnotes to self:

Day 9 in my personal challenge (soon we are in double digits)

This is only the first post in who influenced me, but for sure Kodak and Gevaert did contribute like a toddler gets formed by kindergarten games.

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

Who are your influences?

We are all influenced in our work, whether we are aware of it or not.

Last fall I had to write an artists statement about my work that included its origins and influences. I named the usually suspects like Sally Man and Jock Sturges because I am first and foremost a figure photographer. These two photographers have been very influential in my work over the years, but I needed to bring my figurative work around to toy photography. As I wracked my brain one image came to mind immediately. 

Untitled (falling buffalo) 1988-89 by David Wojnarowicz

I remembered when I first saw this image in Aperture Magazine and it’s always stuck with me.  I think it may be the original seed planted way back in the dark ages of my youth that has blossomed into my current plastic passion. When I revisited this image I was startled to find out it was not a toy photograph at all. I had originally misinterpreted (or conveniently forgot) its origins. This was an image taken by David Wojnarowicz of a museum diorama in the late 1980’s. (For an excellent analysis of this deceptively simple photography go here.)
The humanity, agony and tragedy captured in this one off image quickly taken in a museum with a film camera with poor lighting before a guard stopped him is a very powerful image to me.  It’s one I turn too over and over again in the hopes that I too can create an image as powerful and simple as this one that will stand the test of time. 
So the question I ask you to consider is this: who inspires you? Who are your influences? What are the images that you have seen (in any relevant medium) that inspire you to do your best work?
If you care to share please leave a comment. I would love to know what stokes your creative fire.  
~ xxsjc

Gevaert

It has been hectic this week.

All three winners of the Easter Egg Hunt have been announced on IG (no more pink posts today) and the proof printing has been succesfully completed amongst others.

No big, long or deep posts from me today (I think I may have a few interesting topics lined up for next week) just this old #selfie from 2012 which really felt right to close this weekend from my end.

Old and new paper coming together.

I will leave the deep thoughts for Shelly post later today …

Me2

Footnotes to self:

Day 8 in my personal challenge.
As always, stay tuned and leave your view in the comments below or on your social platform of choice …

Big Is Better

When Shelly mentioned a while ago you should shoot in RAW on the largest format of your DSLR she was of course completely right, but she left a critical piece of information hidden from all of us.

You should not only shoot big, you should also print big on a regular basis.

Printing your pictures on a reasonable “big” size (so not the IG 620*620 size) is your own best and hardest judge.

It will tell you if your shoot really holds out and is ready to be put against your wall.
From your own bedroom over your local coffee shop to your spotlight in the MoMa.

Blowing up your pictures to a reasonable A4 or US letter (we all have a vivid HP printer somewhere to start with and then we can use local print stores as well) and have them printed out on paper not only for that art exhibition we all dream off but also for our own education and continuous improvement.

Prints will give you direct (harsh) feedback on the quality of your shoot you may not see directly on your digital media of choice (iPhone, iPad, iMonitor, …).

We have been doing some extended proof printing here over the weekend on our latest addition and even blow up some shoots beyond the A4 size, and what looks good on a 620*620 canvas on IG is not always that attractive on a full blown A2 printed size and will need rework.

So, if your only goal is to share pictures on a 72 dpi screen on the internet, printing big is maybe not for you, but if you secretly (or openly) want to fill some walls and conquer the real word you should not only shoot big but also print big on a regular base …

Me2

Footnotes to self:
Day 7 in my personal challenge.

Our Ski Trooper came along to check out the paper and ink we will be using for the limited edition Easter egg print we organized and saw everything was under control (the above image was just a working proof picture and not the final result)
Image shot with iPhone 5

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