Past, Present and Future …

 

Exposition Universelle – Paris 1900

What started off as an innocent question on why we are shooting plastic has turned into a deep dive of old dinosaur emotions and recognition of our roots and influences. Most probably we will also be taking a little detour back to the future before we are done.

The Eiffel Tower for sure laid the foundations for the “Mechanics Made Easy” play sets found in 1901 and must have played an inspirational role in why some of our LEGO bricks contain holes in the middle.

Nobel prize winner Sir Harry Kroto actually goes as far as blaming the UK railway failures on the younger generation growing up with plastic (read LEGO) instead of perforated metal (read Mecanno).

We don’t want to turn this into an epic discussion of which toy is best (remember those epic Nikon vs Canon discussions) but stay on the why we are shooting plastic.

Do we look for capturing that perfect simple plastic smile?
Do we want to create epic movie scenes in our own cellar ?
Do we …

We will continue to search for the why, in our past, our present and our future …

Shooting plastic, one brick at a time …

Me2

Sun, Sea and Dinosaurs …

A selfie in the streets of Granada

Only last week we openly asked ourselves why and triggered a great response across our social platforms of choice, from instagram to G+ and FB alike with lots of likes, shares, great comments and food for thought …

From saving the world to just having fun …
From exploring our roots to paving new roads …

Talking about roots,  I really enjoyed the guest post of Mike aka Balakov this week here on StuckInPlastic (if you did not read it yet, go ahead and do read it now).

Mike is one of my personal dinosaurs (or should I say heroes) and I really like his work. He is most probably one of my key influences and single handed responsible for outing myself as a LEGO photographer.

While my rebellious plastic jacket once in a while wants to storm the barricades of injustices and protest for freedom of speech or take a friendly stab at big Inc., I am far from the political passion and journalistic photography style you will find in the works of pulup or lynn to just name two.

A smile, a recognition, a warm feeling of childhood memories … are for me key emotions I try to explore in a lot of my photographs as well.

When walking through the cobbled streets of Granada this week, aimlessly drifting through history and exploring the beautiful colours, light and tapas when taking a break from corporate air-conditioned meeting rooms, it was great to see how history determines our future and there is this ethernal search to beauty all around us.

From simple cobbled stones to gargoyles alike.

We for sure have not answered the question of Why with a conclusive answer but key ingredients of the quest are for sure beauty, fun and emotion …

Let’s see what next week adds to our quest …

Balakov

Why?

Why do I take photographs of small plastic figures?

Well, I’m not doing it to change the world. Neither am I bringing attention to worthy causes, or highlighting injustice with my photographs. I do it for the same reason most people do most things, I do it for me. I want to take the sort of photographs that I’d like to see. I want to look at my photographs and say “that’s cool, I want to hang that on my wall.”

The limitations imposed by LEGO minifigures are a big part of the fun of photography for me. Bernard Suits famously defined a game as “the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles”. That perfectly sums up my approach to LEGO photography. I rarely use anything but standard LEGO smiling faces, or the expressionless helmets of Stormtroopers or Darth Vader. Trying to create an emotive photograph with a barely-posable, inert chunk of plastic is a challenge that I never seem to tire of trying to beat.

I take pleasure in the whole process. Combining ideas together within my own set of rules for what makes a good photograph. Finding angles and interesting lines in the viewfinder. Moving the composition around to balance the scene. Changing the lighting mood as I shoot. Playing with hues and saturation curves to add some life to the clinically clean digital capture. It’s all good.

Sometimes it works, and sometimes everything goes in the trash can. As I make more photographs I’m getting better at knowing when an idea doesn’t translate into a good photograph. Over the years I’ve tried to weed out poor qualities and work out what the essence of a good photograph is to me.

I read an excellent quote from Magnum photographer Constantine Manos today that summed up something I have never been able to eloquently put into words – “Try not to take pictures which simply show what something looks like.”. That’s why I take the photographs I do. To try and take LEGO photography above mere “photos of things” and make a story, evoke an emotion, or at least raise a smile.

Mike Stimpson

Autumn by Mike Stimpson

A guest post for stuckinplastic com by Mike Stimpson – mikestimpson.com
You can find Mike also on the following great social media platforms:
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