Everything was Awesome

This blog post is part of a series about the new LEGO Movie 2 Collectible Minifigures Series. Thanks to the folks from LEGO for providing us a box of Minifigures that we sent to 9 creative toy photographers to review for the blog.

What’s going on in the new LEGO movie? Something has changed and it is if darkness had spread across the land.


Take a look at Benny. That face looks like he’s been through a lot. What has happened that means he needs a cybernetic arm? Perhaps something happened to wipe that smile off his face. He certainly looks like he’s been through the wars since we last saw him. With a brand new tool kit hopefully he can help put something right. Then again, some things just can’t be repaired with a wrench or a spanner…

Continue reading “Everything was Awesome”

Everything is Awesome

This blog post is part of a series about the new LEGO Movie 2 Collectible Minifigures Series. Thanks to the folks from LEGO for providing us a box of Minifigures that we sent to 9 creative toy photographers to review for the blog.

Even before seeing the first pictures of the LEGO Movie 2 new Collectible Minifigures Series, we knew we would have a box to review. When I saw the first pictures of the minifigures, even though I wanted to get most of them, I didn’t have any specific idea for photos.

When we finally got our box, I decided to go with the four “Everything is Awesome” singers. I just had got one of the new LEGO Friends set for a photo of #SiPgoes53 and it was the perfect opportunity to use the main build of the set.

So like with the Harry Potter Series, my review would again feature a band…

Everything is Awesome goes live in Northern Finland
Continue reading “Everything is Awesome”

The Story behind Aria, T-Rap and the Cookie

We’ve already talked in the past about the first test shot and the struggle when it comes to recreating it. This is something I’ve experienced with this week’s SiPgoes52 word: trust.

Last year, at the beginning of the winter, and not long before we started planning SiPgoes52, I took a photo of Aria befriending T-Rap. When we kicked off our little project for 2018, I started going over all my photos from last year. I was hoping to find photos I had already taken that would fit one of our 52 human values and emotions.

Continue reading “The Story behind Aria, T-Rap and the Cookie”

Dino Surprise

Dinosaur Nostalgia and Dino Surprise

There are two things that make me incredibly nostalgic.

First, there is Space. Whether it is LEGO Classic Space, LEGO (less classic) Space from the 90s or Star Wars, it’s one of my oldest Passion.

Then there are Dinosaurs. As far as I can remember I’ve loved them. Looking backward, I think it might be because I grew up during a period with many great dinosaurs movies. I could cite “The Land Before Time” and “We’re back! A Dinosaur’s Story“. And of course Jurassic Park… It’s partly due to its commercial success (and technical achievement) we now have such great dino toys.

The first LEGO dinosaur figures released in 2000 as part of the LEGO Adventurers and LEGO Studio themes.

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Creativity and Play


I’ve decided to use our first word of 2018 as a way to reflect on the past year. Specifically, I’ve asked myself what did I create last year? And how did it happen? I’ve found out the answer to creativity is often play.

Browsing through my Lightroom catalog, one character stands out of the others: T-Rap. Half Tyrannosaur, half Velociraptor, it’s a simple mix of two LEGO dinosaurs.

Although I can hardly pretend having invented anything truly original, it’s the only character I use in my photography that is not an “official” character from a LEGO set. So instead of making a new image like Stefan and Julien did, I decided to re-use the very first photo of T-Rap. (Or Frankensteinosaurus as it was first named back then.)

The Terror of London

But what made me create this weird looking dinosaur? Continue reading “Creativity and Play”

The Arctic Road Trip

As soon as I decided to move to Northern Finland last year, my plan for the summer holidays was to go on an Adventure in Northern Norway. After two recent short road trips to the Lofoten Islands and to Tromsø and the Island of Senja at the end of the winter, I had a better idea of what my summer plan would look like. I wanted to visit new locations, but also go back to the ones I saw in the winter so I could see how different they are in the summer. Continue reading “The Arctic Road Trip”

August 29 – The Detailed Planning

August 29th is fast approaching and the detailed planning of our very first toy photography meet up on the old continent in the middle of the Stockholm Archipelago is starting to take shape.

The warm late summer weather is ordered (with all the rain that is falling out of the sky these days here in Sweden sun will be almost guaranteed as there will be no more water left in the sky) and we are working the detailed schedule of this three day photographic workshop in all things plastic.

Final registration deadline is Friday 14th, so please make sure you complete the online registration form if you did not do so. Continue reading “August 29 – The Detailed Planning”

take me back to the paleolithic era!

i recently had the good fortune to interview one of the LEGO designers behind the new jurassic world line-up (look for that piece in the upcoming issue of Bricks). and it rekindled my childhood love of dinosaurs.

as a kid, i loved hunting for fossils out at the river (the river being the missouri). i found various shells and plant bits in the shale and marveled that they might be as old as 60 million years, even tho’ i couldn’t really even grasp that number.

i always insisted that we stop at every touristy rock shop in the black hills and i scoured the ground on scorching summer days in the badlands of south dakota, hoping to find a tooth from a saber-toothed tiger. i dreamed of being a paleontologist, but abandoned those dreams early, thinking that everything would already be discovered by the time i grew up (back then, growing up seemed so impossibly far away).

i thrilled when i read of the discovery of sue, the most intact t-rex fossil ever found – you guessed it – in south dakota. (so i was kind of right, all the good stuff was already discovered.) i loved that sue ended up at chicago’s field museum, where i could visit her, since i was living there at the time. and although i moved to denmark before she was up and on display, i did go back and visit her a time or two anyway. and she is magnificent.

all of this came flooding back after my interview with nick and i had to get me some dinosaurs. now, on these long, light summer evenings, i can lay on my belly in the grass in our back yard, posing my raptors and my dilophosaurus in the glorious golden light and dreaming of all those fossils out there, yet to be found.


Naked in Seattle

So, I said yes to a photo walk in Seattle the other day. It would be easy, I thought, just another day down by the beach. But, alas, it was not, I should have known. Shooting among the others made me feel naked. NAKED!

On the day of the photo walk we met with a small group of really nice people at the statue park, everybody had their gear ready and we just went for it. As I took out my camera (note to self: never leave home without the big camera) and something to shoot, I just couldn’t do it. Not right there in front of others. You know how it is when you’re naked in front of people (come on, everybody has had that dream at least once), it can be quite distracting. I took my little scene away from others in order to concentrate even a little. It didn’t really work. I shot a frame here, another there, everything looked terrible and eventually I just decided to act as if I was photographing.

The only thing that was awkward, however, was me. I have never photographed with anyone else in the vicinity. Well, maybe the kid has watched sometimes but it’s different. I saw others go with apparent ease, enjoying the experience and the beautiful day. I was looking for an exit.

Then, a kid offered me a red gummi bear candy, it dropped to the ground and I figured that was my chance. I picked it up and yes, I shot a few nice frames of it just like that, on a rock.

Then Shelly gave me a dinosaur. The dinosaur and the gummi bear made a swell pair and I took them to a rock near where Wiiman was shooting his scenes. As I was setting the dinosaur and the gummi bear by the shore I fell into the familiar state of flow and everything was right.

The contemporary urban dinosaur (Bellariavenator Urbanus), surviving on leftovers, preferably candy because of the high sugar content. Dinosaurs love candy!

I am not used to photographing outdoors, I’ve done it a few times years ago, but as the afternoon was upon us I had experienced a really nice day with fellow photographers, and a moment when I didn’t mind being naked.

It was a good day.

What Does Success Look Like?

In LEGO, We Connect has been up for three weeks and I realize that I had some pretty lofty goals for the show. With each passing day I gain a little more distance and have been better able to judge what did and did not happen. So often as an artist you are too close and too emotionally involved to be able to judge what success looks like.

I am going to say right off that by any measure this show was a raging success. The amount of press coverage we received was phenomenal and the news still seems to be trickling through the inter-webs. The opening was well attended and everyone who came had a great time. The response to the work was overwhelmingly positive for all three of us. There was even one significant sale. Seriously who can ask for more?

When it comes to building a career it is never about instant success. Success might seem like it happened overnight, but it is always built on a series of small advances and forward movement that helps to strengthen you and help you grow as an artist. When I asked Vesa why he agreed to come to Seattle all those months ago, he told me simply that he always says “Yes”. What a great philosophy to live by, I think I will have to do the same. You never know what doors will open for you when you say “yes.” Sure there will be risks (both emotional and financial), but without risk you never know what is possible.

For me this experience has definitely enriched my life by the friends I made and the giant step forward my work took. The experience of editing and printing large can never be overstated. It was so far outside my expertise that it was frightening and exhilarating in equal measures. But the joy of seeing my photos large on a wall, rather than on a phone or tablet, cannot be over stated. The press coverage that the show received (and will receive, but more on that later) is only going to help me to continue moving forward. I have faith that a sale might still happen, but that is not how I am measuring this shows success.

So what does success look like? It looks like everything else…do the work and enjoy the process.

~ xxSJC

Sunset at Kerry Park, Seattle
Sunset at Kerry Park, Seattle

I realized after I wrote this that not everyone has people banging on their door like Avanaut. So the chance to say “yes” may not seem like a possibility. But I have found that opportunities seem to present them selves if you are open to them. If not, you can always do what I do, ask for them. If you are interested in displaying and possibly selling your work start small. Look for a local cafe or small group show. Get involved with your local photo community, build your on-line network and generally make yourself available for anything that may come along. It’s a brave new world out there! ~ xxSJC