Change is Constant

It was a good week for photo books, +Me2 was not the only one getting his book ready. I sent all three of the books I am working on out for their first pressings. In addition the Lego book has been through its final edits and the final copies have been ordered. It looks like I will meet my self imposed deadline.

Putting this Lego book together was so much fun. It really helped me look at my work critically, evaluate what worked and what didn’t. I have already begun to make plans for the new year and I realize I need to clear my plate to make room for bigger projects.

The biggest change to come is that the current mods of Brickcentral (including myself) are stepping down as of January 1st. It’s been a great ride moderating Brickcentral for much of the past two years, but one I feel is coming to its natural end. The landscape of Instagram has changed dramatically since I began posting nearly three years ago. Many of the people who where active Lego photographers have moved on. There are lots of new people to fill those shoes, but their needs are different.

The concept of a photo group to celebrate and support Lego photography appears to have lost it’s meaning as our group has grown. Many other Lego groups have grown up to fill those needs; some offering weekly challenges, some offering set reviews and others offering thematic gatherings. When we first started Lego photography was getting very little respect from the larger toy photography groups, that has changed dramatically over the years and I often see Lego photos featured.

I have been running Brickcentral on auto-pilot for the last few months and I am grateful to the other moderators who have helped to keep it going: especially dear Brickandmordor who makes everything better. I also know that to truly serve this Lego toy photography community I would need to step up my game and I don’t have the time or energy to do that right now.

One of the original founders of Brickcentral will take the site over. I am not privy to his plans but I will be on the sidelines cheering him on and supporting him as I can.

In the mean time I am making plans for an awesome 2015 that includes meeting up with friends in Las Vegas in January and welcoming Avanaut and +Me2 to my city in March for our first exhibition.
Trust me it is bitter sweet to say good by to an organization that has shaped my photography in so many ways. But as we all know…

Change is inevitable. Change is constant. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

~ xxsjc

If you are a fan of Brickcentral, what is your favorite memory?
In the last few weeks of operation, is there anything you would like to see us do?
Will you participate in our final contest, Ninja Christmas?

“If you love something, set it free.”

Brick Inc.

Herr K. from Hamburg being featured by Brick Inc.

Today @brickcentral featured me on IG with this great post on IG:

“It’s hard to work for Darth Inc and pursue your love of legography, but Me2 seems to find a good balance. When he’s not performing some corporate daring do…he’s creating some of the best Lego photos around. … Now if we can only get Me2 to work less and post more” … 
And indeed there is a lot of truth in this post when it comes to striking a balance between corporate live and just shooting being Stuck in Plastic.
Would I want to work less and post more ?
For sure there are days when Darth is going crazy on the flavor of  the latest marsh-mellows on the Death Star I would like to join Dilbert and take a corporate break, but in general it is the shopfloor reality of corporate Inc. that keeps me going.
It is not a work life balance, but a balance of life.

I would not be me without the corporate Inc. and me in my relationship with Darth and corporate Inc. would not be the same if I hadn’t my legography to escape the corporate madness for a while and sharpen the saw (ouch, is it still political correct to mention the seven habits now that Dr. Stephen R. Covey is no longer setting the scene ?).

So it is a synergy that feeds upon each other and strengthen and influences each other time and time again.

I feel a drive to take pictures and work my “art” but I need the touch with reality and big Inc. to feel that same reality and feel the power balance and not just live in my ivory tower seeking for inner beauty just within myself.

Brick Inc. 
Big Inc.
Inc.

Star Wars, LEGO, Disney, … a series of Big Inc. that influences our creativity and artistic self.

  

Building Community (One of the Hardest Job You Will Ever Love)

I’ve been thinking a lot about community this past week. As I have mulled over my limited time resources and the energy it takes to move any project forward, I actually contemplated shutting down Brickcentral on Instagram. It has been saved from the chopping block for the foreseeable future by the willingness of wonderful new volunteer.

Back in the early days of the social media frenzy you heard so much about “creating a brand” to sell yourself or your product. That drum beat has changed to the “build your community” chant. It has not escaped my notice that the majority of experts who extol the virtues of an on-line community are men. I think there is a very good reason for this: most women build community naturally and don’t need a name for what we already do. We just call it something else: making connections or simply making friends.

Community is an incredibly hard thing to create and maintain. It is an ephemeral and constantly shifting set of personalities and priorities. At least that has been my experience. What might be true one month won’t be what the community needs six months later. It’s a very complex friendship that needs lots of attention.

For most people delving into this community building quicksand is not a possibility; most people have jobs, families and more important priorities than creating an on line community. But when the community falls silent a hole is left. Maybe it will be noticed, maybe it won’t.

I have no answers as to the why people crave “community”, especially one as specialized as ours, yet they do. I see this desire all the time when I post on Brickcentral and the comments often include a “thank you for being here” sentiment.

I hope this doesn’t sound critical, because it isn’t meant to be. In my own experience creating, nurturing this online community of LEGO photography enthusiasts has been an incredible experience that has enriched my life immensely. I plan on sticking with it, probably longer than I should, and on the way I will keep thumbing my nose at the “experts” who talk about community building as if it was something you can do in your spare time. You don’t create friends and family in your spare time.

~ xxsjc

Do you converse with your followers wherever you post your photos?
Have you made any friends through social media?
Is creating friends and community an important aspect of your social media participation?

I seriously want to know what you think. I would love it if you could take the time to comment on the social media platform of your choice.