Thank you Me2

I want to take a moment to thank Me2 for all his (on going) hard work behind the scenes for StuckinPlastic.com. He was instrumental in setting up our original blog on Blogger and making it look pretty. Now he has moved us lock, stock and barrel  to Word Press with minimal problems. Way to go!

Yes, their has been a few kinks, but with your help and feedback we are working them out. This community is not only a platform for conversation, growth and support, it’s a group effort. We are all StuckinPlastic together.

I am most excited that this new site will allow us to interact more effectively as a group! We have incorporated the various rooms created on G+ here at our new home so we have one place to post, interact and help each other on our individual journeys.

Here is a brief explanation of the different forums:

  • The Foyer: This is a place to post topics of general interest that you find interesting or important. This can run the gamut of “simple chit chat and bubble talk” to heavy hitting issues like copyright and trademark issues. You decide the topics.
  • The White Room: This is where we encourage you to post your photos. Whether you are looking for a friendly critique or a round of applause, this is the place. In time you will be sharing with both collectors and artists alike.
  • The Green Room: This is where we would like you to introduce yourself. Please post a representative image of your work or your signature figure and tell us a little about yourself. As Me2 says: “anything goes as an icebreaker”.
  • The Dark Room: This is where we can talk shop: camera gear, lighting techniques, editing software, organization techniques are just a few ideas. Let’s geek out together!

When Me2 asked me to join him on this adventure at the end of 2013, I had no idea where it would lead but I was more than open to the possibilities. I feel this past year we have made good progress, we added our friend Avanaut and built the foundations of a wonderful community. But I want to do more! I want to take us all to the next level and I feel Me2 has given us the tools to do that.

Thank you my friend!

~ xxsjc

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Have You Started?

Have you started editing your photos for the Best of 2014 Photo Challenge?

I sat down last night and narrowed my choice down to 20 images, seven of which are solid choices.  Not quite the 12 that Ansel talked about, but I will take it. As I begin to choose the last five images that will round out my top 12, I keep thinking about this quote:

“It can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get. – Timothy Allen

This is definitely an editing trap I have fallen into before. It is hard to eliminate images from a group that you worked hard to get. It is so easy to get wrapped up in an image emotionally and not see clearly how it can strengthen or weaken the whole. For me, I am often entranced by a certain aspect of an image, a compelling detail, that it is hard to see it within the context of the group.

But then this is why editing is hard.

The other by product of this exercise is that I am seeing relationships I was not aware of. So many of my favorite images are taken near or in water it is almost comical. If you are familiar with my past work this makes a certain amount of sense. I also noticed my favorite images tend to be rather dark, not the usual playful imagery that you expect from Lego photography. I will have to consider lightening the mood with my final choices.

Once I lay out my book with its final 12 images I will be adding text to each image. I want you to know why I chose each image and what makes it special to me. I hope you will consider adding similar explanations in your book.

I look forward to seeing what you choose and why.

~ xxsjc

Have you signed up to partake in the great Best of 2014 Photo Book Swap?
Does your book have a theme beyond “Best of…”?
Please let us know if you have any questions, we are here to help. 


I adore this image which automatically makes it completely suspect. 

2014 Photo Challenge (details)

I am very pleased with the response to my photo challenge. Your enthusiasm is infectious!

Here are a few more details.

If you have never made a photo book before you are in for a treat. It is a very satisfying way to display your photos and of course they make great gifts. There has been some concern that this activity would be cost prohibitive, so I did some research and found some options of publishers that offer modest pricing.

Artifact Uprising offers a 6 x 8 soft cover book for $22.99.
Shutterfly offers a 7 x 9 softcover book for $15.99.
Mosaic offers a 7 x 7 hard cover book for $20.00
Apple offers a 8 x 6 soft cover book for $11.00
Lulu offers a 9 x 7 soft cover book for $12.99

These sites all have pre packed designs that you can drop your images into. This is not a design challenge. Simply pick a simple layout and upload your photos to it. It couldn’t be any simpler. If you plan to print multiple copies of any book I recommend printing one copy to proof color and density. Just because your photo looks great on the screen, doesn’t mean it will look good on paper.

If you want to get super fancy I would suggest checking out Blurb Photo Books. You can go crazy and get a beautiful hard cover book for around $36.00. (All the pricing is approximate and quoted for a book of 20 pages or less. All pricing is in US currency.)

Each of these options have there pluses and minuses. You will have to decide if you want to add text or let the photos speak for themselves. Mosaic is a photo only layout. I have found that text is really helpful down the road to remember the time and place; those details that become fuzzy with time.

If you are ready to commit to exchanging a photo book with me please click here. Please send me an e-mail and let me know your intentions by December 1st. Ideally we would all have our books printed and mailed by December 31st.

In other news I wanted to share with you my first large scale print that I received from the printer. I am no stranger to printing my photographs large, but this is the first Lego mini figure photo and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

Have a great weekend friends and I hope to hear from you!

~ xxsjc

If you want to research a full range of custom book publishers check out this article
If I haven’t answered your specific question, please leave a comment and I will get back to you.
This challenge is open to all photographers who are friends of this blog, not just toy photographers. 
What is the biggest art photo you have ever printed? 

Have a great weekend and we should be hearing from +Me2 and Avanaut before long.


Best of 2014 Photo Challenge

It is that time of year when I turn my thoughts to assembling a photo album of pictures I have taken of my children during the past 12 months. This is a tradition I started nine years ago with the birth of my second child. Each book is an epic adventure in its own right, but all the books together is mind blowing. For my 17 year old daughter, it is her most cherished Christmas gift.

After a Twitter conversation with Arby of @Worldofminifigs regarding her annual calendar, I was wondering if this might not be a good exercise for my Lego photography as well. Why not start with 2014 and create a small book of my favorite 12 images that I can then share with my family and friends? You know, the special ones that have been supportive throughout the year.

But I want to add a twist to this project; I want you to do it too.

…and then I want us to swap them.

I want to share my photos with you and I want you to share yours with me. Why?

  • We can feed the Marketing Beast together.
  • It is good practice to edit your images.
  • These images could be the seeds of a future photography show.
  • It is a great way to look back and appreciate your year in photography.
  • We can move one step closer to making our internet friends into real life friends.
  • Create an inexpensive holiday gift for friends and family alike.
  • A tangible way to show people what your passion is.

Not to mention that if we keep doing this every year, making a book of our12 favorite / best images, we will have a great archive and a tangible view of our progress. There is no substitute to seeing your images printed in a book or framed on a wall to give a real sense of accomplishment.

If you accept my challenge, please leave your intentions in the comments below. I will keep you up to date on my progress. Ideally, I will have all books printed and mailed before December 15th.

I hope you will accept my challenge and share your photography with me because I want to share my photography with you.

~ xxsjc

I wonder if I can persuade +Me2 and Avanaut to join in?
This challenge is open to anyone who has been a friend of this blog, not just toy photographers. 

Will this image make the cut?

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.