Review: LEGO Friends 41305 Emma’s Photo Studio

Inspired by my foray into the LEGO City theme last week, I decided this time to expand my horizons and review a line of LEGO I’ve never purchased or photographed before: LEGO Friends.

The LEGO Friends theme has been controversial since it first launched in 2012, largely for being stereotypical about gender (a problem we’re still facing today even outside the Friends theme). It’s clearly marketed as a “girl’s toy,” with its bright purple boxes, wide range of pink and pastel colors not found in other LEGO lines, “minidolls” in place of traditional minifigures, and scenarios specifically targeted at a female audience. These often include boutiques, cupcake and frozen yogurt shops, and many cute animals (Bunnies, puppies and ponies, oh my).

You won’t find the various Friends characters fighting fires, going on jungle adventures, or traveling to space. Those are reserved for the “boy” sets in blue boxes on the other side of the aisle (insert massive eye roll here). It’s hard to look at the Friends line and not see the stereotyping. I’m ashamed to admit it, but this distinction has largely kept me away from them. I’ve always been more interested in the Star Wars, superhero, or Creator themes, and assumed that the Friends sets had nothing to offer me.

I was glad to find that that’s not necessarily the case…

Emma’s Photo Studio

For my first trip into the world of Heartlake City (the fictional place in which the LEGO Friends line exists) I chose to review set 41305 Emma’s Photo Studio for two reasons. Firstly, at just $9.99 USD it’s one of the more affordable kits, meaning that my experiment, if failed, wouldn’t have been that big of a loss. I was also drawn to the promise of a photo studio with a handful of camera accessories to add to my collection.

lego friends 41305

The 96 piece set comes complete with a photography backdrop adorned with yellow flowers and a brown pot on which to place Chico, Emma’s adorable bluish gray cat. Atop the backdrop are two cleverly constructed studio lights.

lego friends 41305
These lights show that Emma’s serious about photography


I had the most fun and success when playing with this backdrop, the accompanying umbrella light, and Emma’s camera on a monopod. While I found the purple, flowery backdrop itself highly limiting for photography, I discovered that with a bit of modification, it provides an excellent base for a photo studio.

lego friends 41305
Alternate setup #1: Now THAT is a professional setup!
lego friends 41305
Alternate setup #2: Simply replace the purple backdrop with a different piece that rocks.

The umbrella piece was my favorite of the entire set. While dark blue instead of the traditional white or black, it takes the photo studio aesthetic to the next level, and is useful as a plain ol’ umbrella as well!

lego c-3po r2-d2
R2 really does have a gadget for every occasion

I was less successful with the other two builds in this kit, Emma’s photo printer and beauty/grooming station. At first glance, I thought the printer would be more versatile, but the colorful buttons and cat photo on the front sticker are pretty limiting.

lego friends 41305

For the purposes of this set, the printer is a great touch. I love its basic construction, so I think I’ll try modifying it for future shots.

lego friends 41305

The grooming station fits the set well, and while I didn’t get any great test shots with it, I am looking forward to playing around with its accessories, the blue hair brush in particular. I’ve found that the accessories will be the largest allure for the Friends line for me in the future. You simply don’t see accessories like this in the Star Wars, Creator, or even LEGO City themes.

The Minidoll

lego friends 41305

The most off-putting aspect of the LEGO Friends line for me is the use of “minidolls” instead of minifigures. I simply don’t like their design, and find it frustrating that the LEGO Group thinks it necessary to create a different version of the classic minifigure that’s specifically “for girls.”

For starters, the legs don’t move independently, they both move as one and only in one direction: forward. I guess minidolls don’t walk, they simply sit or stand. Second, the arms are thinner and angled differently than a minifigure’s, and look a bit awkward when extended. Gone too are the round heads, replaced instead with humanoid faces with noses and large eyes. I’ve always liked skin-toned LEGO pieces, and actually like the detail in the facial features. But… these minidolls just don’t look like true LEGO to me.

lego friends vs lego minifigure
Minidoll vs. Minifigure

I found Emma to be difficult to photograph, and doubt I’ll find an occasion to do so beyond the confines of this review. I do adore her hair piece though, which will fit traditional minifigs, so keep a look out for that in the future!

lego friends 41305
Emma’s got a nice camera too!


Chico the cat is the true star of this set (he is, after all, the subject of Emma’s photos!) and I found him far less frustrating than Emma herself. His design is much different than the cats in other LEGO themes, which I notice to be true of all the animals in the LEGO Friends line. He’s not only posed differently, but has a small hole on top of his head allowing for accessory placement. Emma has a few of them on her hair piece as well.

lego friends 41305
Say “Chico!” I mean, “cheese!”

Chico sits atop a flower pot piece that I will definitely be swiping from this set to use in future photos. He also comes with a box of cat treats, which I had fun photographing.

lego friends 41305

I’m excited to add Chico to the menagerie of LEGO cats already in my collection. You can bet that I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for other interesting animals in the Friends kits. While mainly adorable, I found that his pose lends itself to more dramatic shots as well, specifically his tail.

lego friends 41305
Rain, rain, go away…

The Verdict

So, has 41305 Emma’s Photo Studio changed my mind about LEGO Friends? Not really. However, it has placed the entire line more firmly in my radar. I’ll try to be less dismissive of it in the future, mostly for its animals and accessories. I also now have my eyes on several larger sets, in hopes of tweaking them to fit my particular style.

Have you found success photographing the LEGO Friends line? What do you and don’t you like about this controversial theme? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! 


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I prefer not to talk about my work.

I was out last Saturday and photographed in a parking lot. I was down on my knees with my toys in the pool of water in front of me when a car drove in and parked. I saw it happening in the corner of the eye and realized that it was probably best to leave.

Yes, I confess… I’m not like Shelly that I say it out loud

I work by myself

I prefer to photograph for myself, not hiding, but with my own company. I had already picked up my things, when I realize that it was too late. The man in the car has decided that it was time to ask me what I do. But when he reached me, I realized that he already knew or had guessed. Because he wanted to see the images.

With a deep exhale I showed him the back of my camera and one of the images I had just done. But doing this it made me think: why am I like this? Why do I think it’s so hard to talk about my pictures?

Why is it so hard to talk about my work?

I think I know. It’s the same feeling that makes me be moderate with my presence in social media. My photographic work is a lot about me. Talking about my work is, in a way, talking about me, myself, my experiences and my own life. I prefer not to talk about that. And if I do, I want to talk about my photos in rooms that I feel safe in. A stranger who wants to know what I’m doing when I’m kneeling near a water puddle; or an avatar on social media that pushes the like-button; these situations don’t make me feel safe or understood. I prefer to work for myself and save my work for places that aren’t about being the most popular, or the best.

In short: I take myself too seriously. I wish I didn’t and that I saw all the possibilities to share, to talk, or to make sense of my work, but I don’t. Now you know.


Ode to the LEGO Ladder

I really like the LEGO ladder. So much so, I thought I would write an Ode to the LEGO ladder. I think the LEGO ladder is a frequently over looked accessory. Sure we see plenty of cats, dogs, teddy bears, coffee mugs and the like well represented in toy photography. But when did you last see a LEGO ladder used?

James made a great case recently about how accessories can bring depth to your story or add an unusual twist. I even wrote a piece a while back about how the venerable teddy bear seems to be everyone’s favorite prop. Now it’s time to take a closer look at the possibilities of the humble LEGO ladder.

A Few Uses for The LEGO Ladder

You can use the LEGO Ladder to climb into a flower to hide from your mother like this little bunny. (An except from The Runaway Bunny, re told with LEGO.)

You can use the LEGO Ladder to climb the stack of books on your must read pile!

The LEGO Ladder comes in handy when its time to decorate the Christmas tree!

The Polar Bear lookout finds the LEGO ladder a handy tool while on duty. He uses it to see over those high snow drifts.

Or maybe the best use for the LEGO ladder is to help a certain dapper gentleman to cross the river safely?

Rich in Symbolism

Besides being a fun and useful prop, did you know that the ladder is rich in symbolism? The ladder is often used to represent a connection between heaven and earth or the physical and the spiritual world.

The Ladder, which is rich in symbolism and Metaphor, consists of Horizontal Rungs and two Vertical Uprights. The Horizontal rungs represent progressively higher levels of consciousness and the two Vertical Uprights, ( I I ), represent the symbol for duality.

Each rung represents a gradual ascent whereby
wisdom, knowledge, enlightenment and perfection are earned
by us one step at a time. However, we must also keep in mind
that no journey is without its rests and pauses. Therefore,
whenever we require a respite during our spiritual ascent, the
rungs of The Ladder provide us with the support and strength we
need until we are ready to take our next step upward.

– Joseph “Joe” Panek, A Seeker’s Thoughts

Who knew a simple LEGO Ladder could add so many layers of meaning to a toy photo?

There are many other uses for the LEGO ladder, these are only a few that I’ve found. The whole world of comedy and slapstick seems like a natural fit for a LEGO ladder. Or maybe you could use a ladder as a prop in your LEGO township? The LEGO ladder can also be used as a makeshift emergency stretcher in your LEGO City. There seem to be many unexplored uses for the helpful Lego Ladder.

I’ve grown to appreciate this thin piece of white plastic and you’ll always find one or two in my bag of tricks. They are always at the ready to assist a figure across a raging river or to a better viewpoint.

Do you have a favorite over looked accessory?


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Small Surrealism

“A photograph passes for incontrovertible proof that a given thing happened. The picture may distort; but there is always a presumption that something exists, or did exist, which is like what’s in the picture.”

– On Photography by Susan Sontag

Toy Photography Movement

When photography first came about it was a way to further describe an actual thing. It was meant to be truthful. Overtime of course, photography evolved in many ways, even becoming its own art form as creators found ways to lie through the camera lens.

Toy photography as a part of that movement, is and was a groundbreaking departure from the truth. While we may not be photographing the already existent world around us, we’re storytellers finding our own truths within the posed photograph. And I argue that sometimes we can delve deeper into a truthful topic by creating a whole new world that reflects our thoughts.

Surrealist Movement

This is a similar idea to that of the surrealist movement.

Surrealism: “a 20th-century avant-garde movement in art and literature that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images.”

The term itself was coined in 1917 and 3 years later referred to a Parisian art movement.

Surreal work relies on juxtaposition and unreal compositions. Think dream-like states. Original surrealist art was meant to be freeing to the viewer of restrictive customs and structure.

The Combination of the Two

Honestly, while I might be biased here, toys are a perfect medium for surrealist narratives. We can combine, edit, and alter scenes, scale, etc. just by adding in and removing toys from the field of the photo.

We give toys new meaning by combining them in interesting ways.

Tourmaline .

Do you ever take surreal images of your toys? Tell us about it and leave a link to a photo in a comment below.

Also, if you enjoy this post idea let me know what photo genres you’d most like to see next.

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Fundamentally Fun

Things have been pretty heavy on the blog of late. There have been some meaty subjects to sink our teeth into, which is cool. But, as I vegetarian, I thought it time to step away from all this meaty content, and get back to my roots. Fun.

Essentially Entertaining

I started posting LEGO photos back in 2012, with simple photos accompanied by silly captions and puns. Scouring the interwebs for puns was the source of inspiration for my photos. If a pun made me giggle, I’d then create a LEGO version of it.

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
– Dr. Seuss

This was back in my early days on Instagram. It was before Instagram was flooded with users hell-bent on chasing numbers and fixated on follower counts. I think most of my early photos ended up in the feeds of 100 followers. But that was cool, I wasn’t doing it for numbers; I was doing it for fun.

fundamentally fun: "There's no eye in team" - Hieroglyphics teachers. Probably.
“There’s no eye in team” – Hieroglyphics teachers. Probably.

Primarily Pleasurable

I was also given a book around that time by my friend Mark that became a great source of inspiration, Letterbocks Top Tips. This book is filled with ‘pearls of thrift and wisdom’ and is ‘an invaluable compendium of 500 handy hints’. Or so they say!

“Save time when listening to LPs by playing them at 45 r.p.m.”
“When buying a camera, always buy a second one so that if you sell the first you will be able to take a picture of it for advertising purposes.”
“An old television with a toaster inside makes a cheap but effective ‘microwave’ oven. For making toast.”

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.”
– Dr. Seuss

fundamentally fun: Gavin went to an underwater disco and pulled a muscle. Probably.
Gavin went to an underwater disco and pulled a muscle. Probably.

Looking back through some of my old posts, I realised two things; these were taken back when I was stubborn and only used my phone, and they were posted before I’d joined G+. With the chance to reshoot some old photos and share these puns and tips with a new audience, I didn’t have to think up new ideas. I only had to plan the new shots around the puns. That gave me more time for fun. And more time to focus on the photos not the ideas behind them!

“If you never did you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.”
– Dr. Seuss

Fundamentally Fun

Armed with a back-catalogue of puns and a better camera, and a new audience to inflict the puns upon, it was refreshing to revisit my roots. Shooting with the sole purpose of fun in mind freed up my creativity. It allowed me to be freer in my planning and thinking.

With fun the focus of the shots, I found myself having fun shooting them. Toppling LEGO was funny. Uncooperative bokeh was somewhat comical. I don’t think I swore once while shooting! 

fundamentally fun: I went to a zoo. The only animal in the entire zoo was a dog. It was a Shih Tzu. Probably.
I went to a zoo. The only animal in the entire zoo was a dog. It was a Shih Tzu. Probably.

The fun I was having must’ve been noticeable. My younger son asked if he could borrow my camera and take photos using the close-up filters.

But that’s another fun story!

– Brett

Why did you start photographing toys? Is it the same reason you do it now? Is fun one of those reasons?

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Review: LEGO 40170 Build My City Accessory Set

This week’s review takes us back to the world of LEGO. This time, we won’t be discussing one of the many licensed sets, but something from LEGO’s long-running and under appreciated original line, LEGO City.

I will admit that I don’t purchase LEGO City sets very often. While I was a big fan of them as a kid (back when the line was called Lego System), the various police, fire or airport kits haven’t caught my interest. I did snag last year’s 60134 Fun in the Park and this summer’s 60153 Fun at the Beach people packs, due to their assortment of minifigures.

LEGO City 40170 Build My City accessory set
LEGO City 40170 Build My City accessory set

The subject of today’s review, 40170 Build My City accessory set, is similar, but is missing the minifigs altogether. Without them, is it worth investing in for photography? Let’s find out!

Streetlight Construction Zone

This accessory kit comes with an array of pieces organized into nine mini-builds. The first is a streelight with an attached speed limit sign, a yellow rack of tools (holding a generic shovel and push broom), and a construction sign depicting a minifig using a shovel.

For photos, I separated these pieces, though looking back I could have easily used them to make a construction zone scene. By experimenting with the streetlight next to some of my modular buildings, I got a nice photo depicting the hustle and bustle of city life!

lego city 40710
Hustle & Bustle

The shoveling sign is, admittedly, a bit less fun to photograph. Maybe I’ll take my own advice and build a construction zone next time…

lego 40170

Bench and Box of Fruit

lego 40170
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

The second mini-build is a bench, with two drinks and a newspaper, and an accompanying box of fruit. The box holds a carrot, banana, and rare green apple piece. These little builds themselves are nothing special (the bench in particular is built using a blue 2×4 tile, which is a weird color choice), but the accessories are a nice bonus. You likely already have your hands on the very common coffee cup, newspaper, and fruit pieces, but it never hurts to have more.

In order to get the most of photographing these builds, I inevitably paired them with minifigures. Mostly, I chose to stick to generic, smiling yellow faces, to really tap into the LEGO City’s more simplistic style. I don’t photograph these minifigures often enough! Hopefully I’ll do more of that now that I’ve played with these setups.

lego 40170

Bus Stop

Another sign depicts a bus stop, built next to a green trash can and a clear wine bottle. Bus stops like this are extremely common in and around cities, so I like that it was included. I didn’t find much use photographing it out in the real world (I don’t own any LEGO buses to include in shots) so I used it in conjunction with my modular buildings instead.

lego 40170

Bike Rack

My favorite of the mini-builds is the red bike rack, with a map tile and blue bike. I thought the use of the bluish gray lattice plate for the actual bike rack was clever, and fits two bikes nicely. I took it to a bike path on one of my photo walks, and got a nice photo by including another bike piece of my own.

lego 40170

Plants and Fountain

Next up are a small fountain (complete with a water leak and green frog) and a batch of plants. The plants are a skinny tree and group of red flowers, which are pretty common. The instructions also place a gray jackhammer piece in the group, though I think it should have been with the streetlight construction zone. Perhaps it’s what caused the water fountain to spring a leak?

lego 40170
“Oh I hope she kisses me.”

Again, I found these most photographic when paired with minifigures. I actually found them to be nice scene-setters, as simplistic as they are.

lego 40170
“He’s not Prince Charming, but he did bring me flowers!”

The jackhammer piece came in handy for one of my favorite test photos:

lego 40170

Parking Attendant Booth

Last but certainly not least is the largest of the nine mini-builds, a parking attendant’s booth. The hazard stripes on the barrier are a perfect touch. By omitting the small blue parking sticker this could easily be a toll booth, and I could see it going well with just about any vehicle, LEGO City or otherwise. I actually got a great shot by using it with a few Star Wars figures!

lego star wars 40170
“Luke, do you have any spare change? Jedi mind tricks don’t work on parking attendants!”

The Verdict

All in all, this ended up being a fantastic set to photograph. At first I worried that I would be limited by its simpler, more generic nature. To my surprise, that actually made it more versatile. I began by thinking, “How am I going to shoot that?” By using the pieces as accents instead of the focus of my shots, the ideas came naturally and freely. Looking back, I’m surprised by the wide range of photos I managed to get!

At just $9.99 USD, this kit has tremendous value. I suspect it’ll be a popular set for the MOC crowd and LEGO City collectors, but I think it’s a must-buy for photographers as well!

Have you gotten your hands on this accessory kit? If so, what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below! 


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Posting with Purpose

How do you decide which photos to post? When do, or should you post them? Is there a specific time of day, or a specific reason why you publish a photo online?

I’m constantly asking myself these questions. It stems partly from working in social media marketing, where it’s important to optimize your posting in order to reach the widest audience. I also feel a need to “curate” my output.

I want there to be a method to my madness.

Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t

-Polonius, Hamlet

Perhaps it’s an insecurity, but I tend to overthink when it’s appropriate or “best” to post a particular photo. As a result, I tend to post more often on special occasions, which I’ve found isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

While the amount of reach or attention a particular photo gets isn’t the most important thing about my art, it’s still the nature of the social media world we live in. Of course I want my work to reach the widest audience possible, or strike a nerve at just the right time!

Calendar Man may be a dastardly Batman villain, but he sure knows how to plan ahead!

Posting with Purpose

This may all have started from some underlying fear of rejection, but I can’t deny that it’s there and ultimately part of my process. So, I use it to my advantage, and do something I like to call “posting with purpose.” I’ve found that utilizing this “special occasion” mentality can actually help my creative output and bring me out of creative ruts.

Here are a few ways you can post with purpose:

  1. Holidays present the perfect reason to post a photo. As a bonus, they’re predictable, giving you a clear deadline on when an image needs to be taken, edited, and posted.

    Your holiday photos can be as literal or broad as you want. I found the Joker to be a great subject for April Fool’s Day!
  2. “Newsjacking” is a term used for marketing, defined as “the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed.” Is there something particularly news-worthy that’s sparked your creativity? Seize that opportunity and make sure to use the coinciding hashtag if appropriate! You can pick big, important events like the Women’s March, or pop culture events like the release of a new movie or movie trailer.

    This shot was a recreation from the recent Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer
  3. Contests and challenges. We’ve talked a lot on this blog about using contests to fuel your creative fire. I also like to pay close attention to communities on social media that hold weekly or monthly challenges. There are even themed hashtag events (like Raptor Pack Day on Instagram) you can use to generate new photo ideas!

    Brickcentral’s #bc_gloriousfood challenge for October gave me the idea to finally photograph the new Justice League Aquaman figure
  4. Days of the Year. Just about every single day of the year has some kind of special and (more often than not) bizarre holiday attached to it. Today, October 14th, for instance, is National Dessert Day. Luckily, plenty of websites provide calendars for such days so that you can plan ahead. Scroll through the list and see what kind of ideas you can come up with!Months and weeks have designated themes too. October is, among other things, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Pizza Month.

    July 19th was National Hot Dog Day!
  5. Life Events. Is it your birthday? Your nephew’s high school graduation? Your marriage anniversary? Turn these life events into opportunities to take personal and memorable photos!
A photo to commemorate the first time I guest starred on a podcast

Hopefully, over time, I’ll get more comfortable with sharing shots on a random day, unprompted. In the meantime, I’ve found that posting with purpose has helped me stay consistent, and keeps my creative juices flowing!

Do you find yourself curating your feed, or post for specific reasons? Share your methods in the comments below! 


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Why aren’t there more Female Collectible Minifigures?

Have you ever wondered why there aren’t more female minifigures represented in the LEGO Collectible minifigures line? Series after series we mention in our reviews the absence of female minifigures. It seems there is an explanation for this disparity: Boys complain when they open up a blind bag and see a female character.

Really? The reason why there are so many male figures is that girls are happy with any mini figure that looks good and boys complain when it isn’t a boy?

At least this is the reason related to me by my friend Alice Finch who attended a work shop at the Skærbæk Fan Weekend given by Austin William Carlson, a minifigures designer for The LEGO Group. I know that this is very second hand information, but I heard this same quote from two different people who attended the talk: the boys complain and the girls don’t.

As we all know, The LEGO Group is finely attended to their customers and they take customer feedback very seriously. They want to accommodate their customers and give them what they want – even if it’s historically inaccurate.

The Ten LEGO Characteristics

In 1963 Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, son of LEGO founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen, developed a set of guidelines – a LEGO constitution so to speak – to guide both the consumers and the customers of LEGO. His 10 basic characteristics become the core of LEGO development and guided the company.

Notice number two? LEGO is for girls, for boys. LEGO is designed for all children, with girls even coming before boys. Back in 1963 LEGO was designed for all children, not just the ones who complained the most. It seems in the intervening years The LEGO Group has put company profits ahead of the ideals the company was founded on. I might be able to understand this line of thinking of there are shareholders to be accountable to; but The LEGO Group is a privately held company. They are accountable to no one but themselves and their own ideals.

Who is complaining?

So who is doing all this complaining? Certainly in the talk given at Skærbæk there were no details given about how these complaints were received. Were they generated by focus groups or were they generated through customer service calls? I can imagine that LEGO’s response will be different depending on how these complaints are generated.

When boys complain, who is really doing the complaining? Do these young boys, who are so disappointed by receiving a female collectible mini figure, ask for LEGO’s customer service number so they can call and complain? Or is mom or dad complaining on behalf of the ‘disappointed’ child? If mom or dad is actually making the phone call – who is the one disappointed? Why doesn’t the parent use these moments of perceived disappointment as a chance to explain that all figures are equal and that they can have as much fun with a female minifigure as with a male minifigure?

When we show our children that boy mini figures are more valuable than female minifigures it doesn’t take a big leap to see how this plays out years later in today’s newspaper headlines.

Collectible MiniFigures

Have you ever sat down and looked at how many female collectible minifigures are in each series? In series 1-4 there are only three characters that are recognizable as female. In Series 4 and 5 there were four female characters. Ever since series seven their have been five of sixteen characters that can be identified as female. The exceptions to this is the Lego Movie, the second series of The Simpsons and the Disney series, each has six female characters.

Maybe the LEGO minifigure designers are having a hard time thinking up ideas for collectible minifigure characters. I know that I would have a difficult time creating 48 distinct characters every year. So to help The LEGO Group out I asked my fellow Toy Photography moderators to come up with ideas for new female minifigures. Here is our list:

This list only took a few minutes of brainstorming. Who knows what amazing characters a room full of professional minifigure designers will come up with?


I don’t think it is the LEGO Groups responsibility to change the social injustices of the world. If LEGO is only hearing the complaints from the boys, then as a female and as a mom, I am officially registering my complaint that there are too many male oriented figures in the collectible minifigure series. I demand to see a better representation of female characters intros series. And I don’t mean simply offering up a female scientist, female snowboarder, female policeman. I’m pretty sure that this mini figure designers are more clever than that.

I don’t think it is too much to ask The LEGO Group to live up to the standards they set for themselves: dee beds er ikke for godt. This roughly means “only the best is the best” or more literally “the best is never too good”. Would it be too much to ask to create toys for both girls and boys equally? Is it really asking too much to treat boys and girls the same? They can begin making amends by increasing the number of female oriented mini figures in the collectable minifigure series and to start taking the complaints from their consumers with a little more skepticism.


What female mini figures would you like to see represented in the popular collectible minifigure series? 

Feel free to leave your own thoughts below on gender equality.

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Dealing with Fears of Rejection

“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” 

-Brene Brown

Our fears of rejection within the realm of photography vary by person – whether with putting an image on a social media platform and not getting any likes, or maybe getting negative comments, to submitting something to a publication or gallery and getting denied. As with any type of rejection or negativity it’s so important to not take these things too personally.

The internet for one is mean. Some people are just looking to get out their own insecurities and maybe you’re the unlucky one they’ve settled on today. Others may very well think they’re giving constructive criticism and therefore helping you – even when it’s uncalled for. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong, but in the end it’s all subjective.

On the other hand, if you get denied from a publication or gallery – maybe your work didn’t fit with what else was submitted, or with the feel of the publication as a whole, maybe the specific judge just doesn’t like toy photography or whatever other genre you sent in, maybe it was something more technical all together, but once again, it’s subjective. Another judge, another day, another gallery and you very well could be looking at an acceptance email.

Someone’s going to read the above and say ‘or maybe their work sucks.’ And they’re right, sort of. Maybe you’re not a very good judge of your own work and it’s legitimately questionable in skill level or content or a laundry list of other reasons. But seriously, go and look at the contemporary art world – you’re not going to deem everything out there as good, but it’s there.

My point is, sometimes you’ll post your work online or you’ll submit it to some art space and you will only get positive responses. Other times you’ll hear nothing or get a negative response or two. It is all part of making photos, of making art, of creating. If we as creators accept that, the path ahead gets so much less stressful.

I can’t say that I’ll ever actually get over my fear of rejection, and negative comments, especially public ones, still sting. As an ingrained part of my personality I take things personally. But with the art world side of things, I have learned to let rejection slide onto the wayside. I’ll drag and drop the ‘Sorry, but…’ emails into a folder in my inbox and there they’ll stay.

It can be great to consider negative feedback – to try and find a takeaway from that feedback in which to improve your photos. Consider it, but don’t meditate on it or let it burrow down deep. And as far as rejections from publications or gallery spaces – most denials don’t come with feedback – so there’s really no point in obsessing over the whys.

Overtime, you will hopefully get to where you want to be. Until then, do your best, continue to learn, and the growth that comes will propel you closer to your goals.

~Tourmaline . (previously Jennifer Nichole Wells)

How have you learned to counter your fears of rejection?

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