Do you have an endgame?

endgame: noun / noun  end·game   \ˈen(d)-ˌgām\  the stage of a chess game after major reduction of forces; also  :  the final stage of some action or process

Do you have an endgame? This is a question that came up a few weeks ago that seems to have caught the attention of a few of our followers, including my self. While I think this is a valid question, I also believe it misses the point of being a creative / artist / photographer.

Lets start with the word itself. The first part, ‘end’ implies there will be a point where you finish what you’re doing. That you have a goal that you’re working towards and once you make it, you’re finished. If you decide to embark on the path of the creative individual there is no end. You simply move from one creative project to another. You have dedicated yourself to exploring yourself and your world through a creative outlet that brings you pleasure. There is no end – there is only the journey.

The second half of the word, ‘game’, implies winners, losers and also a perceived reward for finishing. This is not a word that I associate with creating art. As an artist you create for yourself; as a means of expression or as a means of communication. Being an artist is not a game that is played for a reward. There are no winners and losers, only participants. I wrote a long time ago about being a ‘happy liker’ on IG. I tend to be rather generous with my likes and for good reason. I’m more impressed by the effort than I am by the results. Its much easier to sit on a couch and binge watch the latest hit television show than it is to conceive and execute a good photograph. In my opinion that effort should be rewarded and respected.

Of course, maybe I simply misunderstood the question? Maybe what was meant by the use of ‘endgame’ was simply having goals. Goals are good, I’m all for goals. But even goals can be a trap. What if your goal is to have a fabulous gallery show and impress the local art critic? Not a bad goal and one many artists aspire too. Lets say you make all this happen and your wildest dreams come true…then what? Did you sell anything? Did you cover your expenses? Where do you go from there?  Another gallery show? A show at a more prestigious gallery?  No matter how far you climb the professional artists ladder, you’re never at the top. All that striving for success on the art world’s terms, even on social media’s terms, is exhausting and rarely financially rewarding.

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. Greg Anderson

I was lucky last week and we had a break in the weather. It lasted about 36 hours and I took full advantage of the situation. I slogged through the mud and the brambles and spent two wonderful afternoons exploring new areas of Magnuson Park in anticipation of the upcoming Seattle meet-up. Whenever I find myself in a situation like this, I always have the same thought: “Do I take my LEGO photos outdoors simply so I have an excuse to explore my environment, go on amazing hikes and generally hang out in the woods?’  I then smile to myself and answer: “Yes, that’s exactly what I do.” This blog and the various social media sites I post to, are only a smoke screen to keep me outside playing in the woods – because that’s where I’m happiest.

If someone asked me what my endgame is I know what my answer would be: For me photography is a love affair, it’s a personal journey, it’s a creative outlet, it’s a source of happiness…it’s not an endgame.

~ xxSJC

Why do you take photos of toys? 

A Lego Chima bird sits in a tree beginning to leaf out with his quarter in his hand ready to burst into song.
Bird Song
A lego version of the Mouse Guard character Lieam journeys down the sparkling river in his Lego canoe.
This was taken at Magnuson Park while I was kneeling in the mud near the beaver damn. I’m pleased with the results.


  1. aliceincleveland

    I’m so happy to finally read this and see we share very similar views! I always get squeamish around the phrase “what’s the endgame” because I think, as you point out, it takes away attention from the journey. I’ve never experienced an end that was better than the journey. Not in books, not in games, not in life. Endings should just happen. They shouldn’t be planned.

  2. Stefan K

    I don’t see an endgame. So much to learn, so much to try, to many things in my head that wants out. A storyarc has an end, Bur all in all, this is just me thinking about endgame.
    Stefan K

  3. revexoy

    I think that a passion never has to come to the end.
    We put some effort in it.
    We enjoy doing it.
    Sometimes we can’t spend our days doing what we love to do cause of work or obstacles.
    But if we strongly love a passion, we will always find a moment to dedicate on it.

  4. “There is no end – there is only the journey.” I could describe my way of living with this sentence. I can’t see an endgame in photography because I can’t see an endgame in anything. I just try to do what I like. If I don’t enjoy doing something and can’t learn anything from it, I just stop doing it.

  5. Great post Shelly! I completely agree with you. I don’t have an endgame either. I enjoy the process of taking photos, most of the time anyway 🙂 I take photos of minifigures because I enjoy watching these little plastic people come to life in front of the camera. A minifigure that can seem static or “boring” just sitting in my plastic container can suddenly be full of life in a photo and that’s very rewarding to me 🙂


  6. Leila (Brickandmordor)

    I totally agree with your views in your last paragraph, and for me I would like to add that toy photography is also just plain addicting! I’m also quite obsessed with documenting in general, not just toys. Always trying to capture moments… Our lives are made up of so many moments! Photographing is a way to freeze particular moments to savor them.

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