So, why am I going on toy safari in Edinburgh?

First, a little background

My name is Matt, also know as Hellbelly on pretty much every platform, I’ve been taking photographs for about 15 years, and taking toy photos for around 11, although over the last couple of years I’ve been suffering a bit of a creative slump, and have had limited time and inclination to take photos.
This is one of the reasons I’m going to Edinburgh. Continue reading “So, why am I going on toy safari in Edinburgh?”

2,786 m under the sea

When Boris asked us to write, this month, an article about numbers, I was a bit puzzled.

'You don't have to be a mathematician to have a feel for numbers.' - John Forbes Nash Jr.Click To Tweet

There are so many numbers I could talk about, like the 3,098 Lego minifigures that I own (according to Brickset), the four spacemen that I use in my exploration series, the number 42 because of “H2G2” (of course), my #100_Shadows series or even the number 142,857 a number that fascinates me because of its mathematical properties. But none of those numbers are special or personal enough.

So, I decided to tell you a little story about me and my number (2,786).

“Numbers have life: they are not just symbols on paper.” - Shakuntala DeviClick To Tweet

A year ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time at sea on a vessel. Not the small boats that are used for leisure, neither the big cruise ship. It was a work vessel and I was onboard for work. That was a very unique experience that I really enjoyed. Continue reading “2,786 m under the sea”

Marcel, a Parisian in Paris

Marcel is a Parisian.

He is a lover of good food, good wine and good art. He is a connoisseur of some sort. And, being 4 brick tall, he likes to wander around his own city: Paris, the city of lights.

Always carrying a baguette, he walks around with his small dog, a French Bulldog (of course). He wears a marinière (a striped shirt), a beret on his head, and a small red scarf around his neck.

Marcel, a Parisian in Paris

Marcel likes his city. He often starts his day at a café. His favourite one is “Le café des 2 moulins”. That’s where the movie Amélie (or Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, in French) was shot. A charming place. 

‘Can I get a coffee with my croissant?’ / ‘Are you sure you don’t want some grape juice?’

After a coffee and a croissant, he stopped by a “boulangerie” (bakery) to buy a baguette for the day. Leaving Montmartre (that’s where he lives), he passed by the Moulin Rouge and jumped inside a “Metro” (the subway). Continue reading “Marcel, a Parisian in Paris”

A trip to Japan: work travel and toy photography

12 hours…!

I have just spent 12 hours in a metal can to fly across the globe.

It’s Thursday afternoon and I have landed at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport after a long trip back from Kobe, Japan. I was there during 2 days, for work.

My job demands me to travel a lot (in France and internationally). And, at the same time, I like my job and I like to travel, so when I am not at the office, I am happy.

I have been to the US, to several countries in Europe and to more “exotic” places such as Brazil, Australia, Taiwan, Laos, Tanzania, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and now, Japan.

“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.' - AnonymousClick To Tweet

Continue reading “A trip to Japan: work travel and toy photography”

A little Easter baking

Hot-cross buns!
Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons;
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!
– traditional English nursery rhyme, credited to ‘Mother Goose’

Happy Easter everyone! It’s Good Friday here in the UK, which means just one thing in my house – hot-cross buns! It’s always a baking day for me, and the series 17 gourmet chef arrived just in time to help whip up a batch of buns for us to enjoy!

Whisks out everyone!

For a professional, she’s a pretty messy baker. Flour took over the whole kitchen (along with the heavenly smell of oranges and mixed spice!) Continue reading “A little Easter baking”

On the subject of projects… and pandas

Why do we do projects?
Why do we start photographic projects?
Why do we launch ourselves in the daunting task of taking pictures on a regular basis or with particular constraints?

It’s intimidating, stressful and exhausting.
So why do we do it?

'Every project has challenges, and every project has its rewards.' - Stephen SchwartzClick To Tweet

When you tackle a project, you know that it will not be easy.
You will suffer but in the end, you will learn something from it.
Continue reading “On the subject of projects… and pandas”

How can I (be) inspire(d)?

I started taking pictures of toys because of others.

At first, I had seen the work of Chris McVeigh, AvanautSmokebelch and Brett Wilson among others and what they created inspired me.

I wanted to do like them, but not exactly like them.
I was inspired but I did not want to copy.

I believe that our imagination does not have any limits so why going the simplest path and just copy the work of others.
We are creative people, so let’s create.

'There are really three parts to the creative process. First there is inspiration, then there is the execution, and finally there is the release.' - Eddie Van HalenClick To Tweet

Let’s focus on the first part.
What are my inspirations?
How do I get my ideas?

What is my recipe for making pictures?
What are the ingredients that inspire me?

As I said in my last post, I can get photo ideas everywhere so I write them down not to forget them. My ideas arrive when I don’t expect them: at work during a boring meeting (the best time I get my mind to float away…), during my daily commutes, in my shower (I don’t have waterproof sticky notes, though), …  Continue reading “How can I (be) inspire(d)?”

Some more reflection…

Before leaving the last station, I wanted to share with you one last thought on the subject. One last reflection about “Reflections“: my thought process when it comes to photographing toys.

To be perfectly honest, most of my pictures are made on the fly. Spur of the moment. When I am somewhere, I have some many minifigures with me and I come up with an idea, inspired by the location. Some ideas are good and some not so much.

But from time to time, an image or a concept pops into my mind. So I write it down. I am using for that some virtual sticky notes with Google keep (a free app on my phone), to trace my ideas. It all starts with a couple of words.

“A stormtrooper looking overboard a boat and seeing my sigfig for reflection”

Continue reading “Some more reflection…”

First station: Reflections

When I was asked by Me2 to participate to his little adventure, it did not take me long to say Yes. He did not say much but he invited me to write twelve articles on twelve mysterious words.

I have no idea what I am getting into, but I will play along.

'Life is a journey, not a destination” - Ralph Waldo EmersonClick To Tweet

I don’t know where I am going, but let’s put on some music, some acoustic guitar.

Hop on this train (*) with me and let’s see where it will bring us.
A journey to the unknown.
First stop: Reflections. Continue reading “First station: Reflections”