Is their life beyond Instagram?

Yesterday, I was out taking photos with my good buddy Mr. S (the genius behind Bricksailboat) and we had an interesting conversation regarding our involvement in Instagram and if there is life beyond Instagram for our photographs. After some introspection (not my strong suit), I realized this is what Me2 and I are trying to find out. He is currently attempting to move our mutual fans from Instagram to Facebook or Google+ and ultimately to this blog, through his generous print giveaway. He of course has had some initially success, but I began to wonder what the ultimate end game was? 

Through my professional career I have watched photography become embraced by the masses with the advent of the phone camera. Many of these photos are distributed through social media sites like Facebook (350 million per day as of 2/2/13) and Instagram (55 million a day as of 3/6/2014) and many more never even leave the phones or cameras they are taken on. That is one hell of a lot of photos per day!! How does one even get noticed amongst this fire hose of images? Is it even necessary to get noticed? Why do we take photos in the first place? 

Me2 mentioned a Pandoras Box when we talked earlier about editing apps, but to me this might be the ultimate question: Why do we do what we do here? Or more specifically: Why do I take photographs that will (realistically) only be seen by a few friends and my family? 

Below is my most liked photo ever on Instagram and it makes me wonder if getting 500+ likes is about as good as it’s going to get? What do you think? 

– xxsjc

A little competition …

Like us on Facebook !

As you most probably know by now Shelly and me are having a little friendly competition going on here at #stuckinplastic on who can get the most engagement on G+ or FB.

Our lottery handed me the FB pages, and what better than to organize a little Easter Egg Surprise Lottery with an exclusive Me2 print.

Everyone who likes us on facebook automatically gets his or her name entered in the Easter egg and an innocent hand will pick the lucky three winners (yes, we have three signed prints reserved for you).

Now, you can seriously increase your chances (up to 5 times) by sharing this blog, reposting on instagram or sharing the love anyway you see fit (be creative and show us here or on FB and instagram).

The rules are simple.

Everyone that likes #stuckinplastic will enter our gigantic easter egg, and the innocent hand will draw the lucky three winners (yes, we have 3 signed prints reserved for you).

Only one print per household. 

Likes counted on Easter Saturday 19th April 2014.

Official drawing happens on Easter Sunday 2014

So get going and spread the word, like us here at 100% stuck in plastic and you may find an extra easter egg coming your way !

A Brave New Future!

We will definitely get back to the Pandoras Box alluded to in the last couple of posts. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves I want to back track a little it.

When I mentioned earlier that I had left both Facebook and Twitter in the same day, I probably didn’t mention that it was in one of those self destructive moods I occasionally find myself in. I certainly don’t regret the decision to essentially explode my social media life, but I realize in hindsight it was absolutely necessary. 
As an artist I like to occasionally reinvent myself. First I was a fine arts photographer for 20 years (back when that actually meant something), then a rocktographer and then a videographer. All those iterations of myself have created connections. I felt constrained by these connections and I wanted to rid myself of them. I have faith that anyone I have a meaningful connection with will find me again. 
So for three weeks I was blissfully free. No twitter, no FB, no one metaphorically looking over my shoulder. This has ended rather suddenly and I am back on Twitter and I have replaced FB with Google Plus, all for a good cause. I am committed to growing #StuckinPlastic into something meaningful and of course making a few new friends along the way. 
I want to thank everyone who has already connected with us via FB and G+. Our community is growing and I couldn’t be more pleased. If you are on Twitter, please look us up there too. 
So here is to exploding the past in the name of moving forward into a brave new future. 
– xxsjc

Total Meltdown

Total Meltdown

When Shelly opened up the pandora box of where do you want to take your editing I felt the complete scala of rainbow colors (and beyond) passing by and was actually pretty close to a total meltdown experience.

The question is maybe too large to answer in our life time but it is still a question we have to ask ourselves and is for sure part of every photographers inner monologue and will pop up here once in a while at #stuckinplastic (and we even may find its own #hashtag for it).

When IG (instagram for those of you who are not into acronyms) took filtering and direct feel good snapshots to the next level on the iPhone, we actually took the quick snapshots into the next level and added some magic to it that was previously only reserved to the inner crowd.

And that is great, and we should embrace it, explore it, extend it, use it, filter the heck out of it ….

Now, at the same time it is actually just that, taking your picture to the next level.
It is liberating the inner beauty of what is already there.
It is extrapolating it, magnifying, making it more visible.
But it can only do as much with the RAW (pun intended) material we present it.
A bad composition will not turn into a masterpiece because we apply a Hefe (not the beer, the filter) or a Lord Kelvin to it.

And sometimes we will push a good composition and well lit balance over the edge and ruin the experience with post processing and filters.

I love HDR (especially the kind that takes a tripod, a golden hour, 3 exposures and some heavy post processing in the studio and when you post it no one actually thinks it’s HDR and just loves the scene), I love filters, I love artificial lightening, I love cleanup as ultimately the picture needs to be telling the story, be magic, pulling you in, regardless of the tools used …

Now at the same time I love a low ISO, an f stop that gives me a bokeh I cannot artificially recreate and glass that allows me to blow up my pictures full frame without the need to crop (you know the whole macro discussion) and deep down I believe in craft to reach art …

So, will we discuss “technique” here on #stuckinplastic ?

Yes, for sure (unless you tell us to shut up and tell us you only want the pictures).

So whenever it make sense or Shelly decides to open up the box of magic we may be taking a deep dive in filters and techniques …

Let us know in the comments below what you think about “post processing” …

Totally M.

How far is too far?

With the prevalence of filters and their relative ease of use, how far is too far?
Rarely do I jump at the bait of contests on IG, usually I’m too busy doing my own thing. But recently one caught my eye and I decided to try my hand. The parameters are pretty simple: create an image using Snapseed’s HDR Scape filter. This is not a filter I ever use favoring a more natural look to my photos, but hey, trying new things is good! Right? So I present to you a before and after of one of the images I submitted. Personally I felt I had taken this image about as far as I could using this app, but I was informed by one of the judges I had not taken it to the “ludicrous” level. I laughed and told him I had! Maybe we just started at two different points on the editing spectrum.
Should I take my editing even farther? Where do you stop? Is this even a relevant discussion? 
I’m sure Me2 will have something witty to say.  
~ xxsjc 

Ready or not…


Three weeks ago I impulsively shut down my Facebook and Twitter accounts (more on this later), of course this was before “The Wager”. Me2 and I have a little friendly competition going to see who can get the word out fastest regarding our collaboration #StuckinPlastic. I chose Google+ as my preferred social media platform and with much bravado and trash talk set off on my quest to get the word out. Well maybe I spoke too soon. They few friends I have connected with on G+ are from my past lives and aren’t active anymore; my battle will be decidedly uphill. 


In a moment of weakness I reactivated my FB account, thinking I could lurk around the edges and help promote this new endeavor; boy was I wrong. After seeing my feed again, my reaction was instantaneous and visceral. I fled as fast as my curser could find “log out”. I may have to concede this competition to Me2 sooner than I might like, but not without reaching out and making a few new friends along the way. So all you G+ AFOL Lego community members… ready or not, here I come! 
~ xxsjc 

Pink

Pink

Here is a quick #selfie of Pink, our makeup artist who did a great job in keeping our crew and actors alike animated and refreshed during the shoot. Not only with her make up brushes, but also with her great voice.

Her favorite song yesterday on the set was the old time classic of Meridith Brooks

I’m a bitch,
I’m a lover,
I’m a child,
I’m a mother,
I’m a sinner,
I’m a saint,
and I do not feel ashamed.
I’m your hell,
I’m your dream,
I’m nothing in between.
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way.

And that is true, we wouldn’t want Pink any other way !

Spring is in the air …

Hyacinthus

While a fresh rainy snowstorm here in the Stockholm Archipelago canned the plans of an early morning spring shoot on location, we decided to stay inside and turn things yellow in The Studio this morning.

While the crew turned all their energy in setting up The Studio for what is going to be on of the first bigger projects here on #stuckinplastic we found Dorky exploring the fresh Hyacintus we had standing in the green room.

Bigger project ?

Yes indeed, Shelly and I had a great long distance working session last evening where we laid out the foundation of our first big project and the crazy thing was that we were actually already both working on our own on a very similar idea.

I am not going into the details yet, but it involves two individual art projects coming together between Seattle and Stockholm including Lego, Pictures and some great Fun …

Curious and interested ?

Add us to your blogroll, follow us on Google+ or just leave a comment below … 

Here comes the sun…

The future is very foggy right now (per usual). So while waiting for the fog to clear (or someone gives me a better road map) Emmett suggested a trip to the beach. Even though the high was only 59F (15C for everyone else) we still had fun. Emmett enjoyed playing in the sand as I read a book. Hopefully a new course will be set soon, in the mean time I’ll always have Emmett. ~ xxsjc