The Photo Challenge Books Begin to Arrive!

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Photo courtesy of @Herrsm

The books created for the Best of 2014 Photo Challenge are starting to arrive. I have seen several posts on IG featuring books by both Me2 and myself so I know they are arriving at their destinations.  I have received a handful myself and I can understand the enthusiasm that the recipients feel. Opening each book is a true gift; a gift of the heart.

These little books are packed with memories, back stories, unique presentations and of course lots of outstanding photographs. Each book reflects the individual creator, but they also represent everything good about our toy photography community. In short they are amazing!

The stories I have read within their pages reflect the camaraderie, the joy, the relationships and the common experiences that bind us together. I am pretty sure that Me2 and I are the true winners in this endeavor because we will receive eight to nine books each. A veritable treasure trove of photography goodness.

So to everyone who took the plunge and created a book I thank you for making this a truly special holiday.

~ xxsjc

There where seven participants in the book exchange; Sweden (2), Germany (1), Turkey (1),  Columbia (1), United States (3), Belgium (1)

Should we do this again? If so, how often?  

If we do this again, would you like the opportunity to exchange with everyone who participates? 

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Photo courtesy of @sandi_gee

To Thine Own Self Be True

When this blog started it was party of two, just Me2 and myself. Then we invited Avanaut to join us a few months ago for a variety of reasons, our upcoming group show for one.  But let’s be clear, it is very hard on my ego to be sharing a blog with Avanaut. After his post yesterday that revealed the level of detail he is willing to explore to capture a photo, this was both humbling and intimidating.

I have never shied away from a challenge and this one is no different. I like that fact that Avanaut keeps the bar raised high; it keeps me reaching and striving for my own version of an incredible photograph.  I will continue to push myself so that in my own eyes, we stand on equal footing.

I know I have come along way since I started on my own journey several years ago as a toy photographer.  When I first ran across Avanaut’s work  I didn’t even know what toy photography was. I was merely a distant admirer in awe of what he was able to accomplish with forced perspective, Lego and some baking powder. It makes my head spin a little to know that in just a few months I will be sharing wall space in a gallery with one of the people who has been a major influence.

Will my work be able to stand up to the inevitable comparison? Probably not, but I am not worried. We are each on our own journey that makes sense for our individual needs; and this is how it should be. Avanaut strives to capture a specific world, to bring a beloved movie to life, to recreate and understand that world in all its complexity. While I am on a journey to discover the world I live in. I want to understand my own humanity and I seem to have found the perfect vehicle in the lowly Lego mini figure.

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” ~ William Shakespeare

~ xxsjc

If you are new to Stuck in Plastic, please take a moment and look around; I hope you will like what you find. If you are already a fan of Stuck in Plastic, thank you for your continued support! 

Help! Who Should Be My Travel Buddies?

One of the ways my family copes with the chaos of the holidays is we escape them. Next week we are off on another travel adventure that will undoubtedly include some outdoor toy photography.

I have to start packing my Lego mini figures soon, but I don’t know which ones? Frankly I’m overwhelmed and a bit frazzled going into the holidays (I know, aren’t we all!), and I need some help choosing the subjects of the photos you will be seeing over the upcoming months.

I have more than a few mini figures so you can also think of this as a game of “Does she have…?”  Please keep in mind I will be on sandy beaches, old lava flows of black sharp rocks and at least one volcano, plus the usual tropical vegetation;  the possibilities are endless.

You can also think of this as a way to challenge me photographically. As you may have already noticed I have my favorite mini figs and accessories. By suggesting your favorite mini figure(s) you can help me to break out of my rut and try something new!

Any and all suggestions will be considered and if feasible, included. So what do you say, who should my travel buddies be?

~ xxsjc

Who are your favorite Lego mini figures to photograph?

If you where ship wrecked on a desert island, what mini figures would you want to have with you? 

Landing Party

 

CC: Creative Class

I appreciate yesterdays post by Me2 . It was a thoughtful response to the article about artist Christopher Boffoli and his legal actions against Pinterest.

This is a complicated issue that has many sides and Me2 has addressed just a few of them. Sure we need to think out side the box to make sure that artists are credited fairly for their artistic creation be it a photograph, a movie or a song as it is passed around the internet. But lets call all of this what it really is…content. We are all content creators. With every Instagram post, pin to Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter update…rest assured , we are creating content that Big Inc. is packaging and selling right back to us.

Me2 says we should all get on board and share freely with an updated distribution model, just like the music and movie industry has done. That may be well and true, but the last I saw, this issue is still up for debate, especially in the music industry. Most middle level and beginning musicians still have not cracked the money question.

Prime example of this is the band Pomplamoose who’s lead singer, Jack Conte, wrote an article detailing the band’s touring costs that was picked up by Tech Crunch.  The gist of the article was about how   a modestly successful mid level band can’t make money when they tour and that they have to think out side the box to make ends meet. The article was roundly criticized on many fronts and I think the heart of what Jack had to say was overlooked in this firestorm. The concept of a “creative class”; that group of artists that does whatever it takes to keep the lights on by creating content to distribute via the internet to their fans. This creative class may not lead the glamorous life of JayZ and Beyonce, but it can be a rewarding one.

I think it is in the best interest of the Big Inc.’s  of the world to support these content creators (je: us) by creating new ways to address copyright concerns. How tough can it be to educate their users about the correct way to Pin, Post, Tumble etc so that artists can benefit from their work being shared.

If we want the internets to remain a lively place to interact and share unique and original content, lets do more to protect the content creators…us.

~ xxsjc

Do you think of yourself as a member of the “creative class”?

Do you care that Big Inc makes money off of your creative endeavors? 

Krash_Override

The epic toy photography meet-up in Las Vegas, NV is less than five weeks away. I have already written about Captain Kaos who I am excited to meet; but Matt is not the only one I am looking forward to meeting. I am also excited that Dennis Taylor, otherwise know as Krash_Override on Instagram, will be joining us!

Dennis is one of the nicest people on IG and certainly one of the most talented people I have encountered. Not only does he take incredible photos, he makes his own unique toys. Just imagine toys made by a nicer version of Sid from Toy Story, but just as beautifully twisted.

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Dennis’s feed is a mixture of toy photography, custom builds in progress and new toy purchases. Basically an eclectic mix of toy fun. There is a constancy to all this madness though. Every monday morning I wake up and I am greeted by a photo of Shipwreck hung over from another weekend of debauchery. This has been going on so long I don’t think it would be Monday without seeing a new photo.

Mixed into his wonderfully gallery are photos of custom toys in various states of deconstruction. I enjoy watching the creative process take place, all the way from a new batch of less than stellar toys sent to him by friends, crazy half finished mash-ups, all the way to the often breathtaking finished creations. The transformation is absolutely fascinating and many times I can’t help but laugh at the wacky mashups that somehow always work.

It is easy to get side tracked by Dennis’s creative custom toys and forget he is an incredibly talented toy photographer. He really has an emotional connection to his toys and it shows through in his photography.

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It will be my absolute pleasure to spend the weekend shooting beside him, talking shop and swapping photo tips.

As Smeagol says: Vegas or Bust!

~ xxsjc

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If you are interested in joining us in Vegas, there is still time!

Have you ever tried to make your own custom toy?

Collaborations

Yesterday Me2 dedicated a post to one of our dearest community members Lyn Miller Lachman. Lyn has been one of the first and most supportive members our our community. Since Me2 and I are blogging newbies her advice has been appreciated. She is just one of the many unique people who we are happy to be #stuckinplastic with.

Today I want to talk about another interesting member of our community: Gordon Webb.

I first met Gordon in the G+ version of our Dark Room Forum where he posted images of his MOC’s (My Own Creations) and asked for feedback. He wanted to improve his photography so he could show off his creations in the best possible light. Gordon and I bonded over our mutual love of the Lego Galaxy Squad line and our mutual respect for each others work. (Gordon has the best Instagram tag for a builder: #instructionsareforwussies!)

After receiving such a great response when I posted a picture of one of Peter Reid’s Lego robot creations on Instagram, I have wanted to do a photo series of small robots exploring the world. This would be a chance to break away from traditional mini figure photography and bridge the gap between photographers and builders. Unfortunately I am not a builder, at least not yet. When Gordon posted a photo of Dutch on IG I fell in love with him and reached out to see if he would be open to a collaboration. Lucky for me he was!

I am excited about this project and I wanted to share it with you. StuckinPlastic is a unique community with lots of opportunity to work together and support, nurture and feed off each others ideas and energy. As you become familiar with our new home I hope you will take the time to post a few photos in the forums and lets see what else we can develop together.

I am happy to be StuckinPlastic with you!

~ xxsjc

Dutch

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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Change is Constant

It was a good week for photo books, +Me2 was not the only one getting his book ready. I sent all three of the books I am working on out for their first pressings. In addition the Lego book has been through its final edits and the final copies have been ordered. It looks like I will meet my self imposed deadline.

Putting this Lego book together was so much fun. It really helped me look at my work critically, evaluate what worked and what didn’t. I have already begun to make plans for the new year and I realize I need to clear my plate to make room for bigger projects.

The biggest change to come is that the current mods of Brickcentral (including myself) are stepping down as of January 1st. It’s been a great ride moderating Brickcentral for much of the past two years, but one I feel is coming to its natural end. The landscape of Instagram has changed dramatically since I began posting nearly three years ago. Many of the people who where active Lego photographers have moved on. There are lots of new people to fill those shoes, but their needs are different.

The concept of a photo group to celebrate and support Lego photography appears to have lost it’s meaning as our group has grown. Many other Lego groups have grown up to fill those needs; some offering weekly challenges, some offering set reviews and others offering thematic gatherings. When we first started Lego photography was getting very little respect from the larger toy photography groups, that has changed dramatically over the years and I often see Lego photos featured.

I have been running Brickcentral on auto-pilot for the last few months and I am grateful to the other moderators who have helped to keep it going: especially dear Brickandmordor who makes everything better. I also know that to truly serve this Lego toy photography community I would need to step up my game and I don’t have the time or energy to do that right now.

One of the original founders of Brickcentral will take the site over. I am not privy to his plans but I will be on the sidelines cheering him on and supporting him as I can.

In the mean time I am making plans for an awesome 2015 that includes meeting up with friends in Las Vegas in January and welcoming Avanaut and +Me2 to my city in March for our first exhibition.
Trust me it is bitter sweet to say good by to an organization that has shaped my photography in so many ways. But as we all know…

Change is inevitable. Change is constant. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

~ xxsjc

If you are a fan of Brickcentral, what is your favorite memory?
In the last few weeks of operation, is there anything you would like to see us do?
Will you participate in our final contest, Ninja Christmas?

“If you love something, set it free.”

Bridging the Gap

So as you’ve surmised +Me2, Avanaut and I are excited about our upcoming #stuckinplastic exhibition. For a variety of reasons this is a big deal for each of us. Of course it is always risky when you put yourself forward artistically, and this situation is no different. 

On IG the other day I came across a comment that touched a nerve:

“I feel like a jerk posting images of awesome things with the shiddyest (sic) camera. I love those high quality shots just as much as any other Lego fan. But at the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of minifigure pictures. I’m not trying to get the most expensive camera award.”  

This comment comes from a person who identifies themselves as a “Master Builder” and while I don’t agree with their point of view, there is a kernel of truth in his statement. It directly addresses that little voice in the back of my head that holds all my doubts. 
 
I know I will have to answer this question directly to the patrons of the Bryan Ohno Gallery and to any potential collectors.  What makes this work worthy of purchase? Since the subject is a common household object, can’t anyone do this?
 
I’ll be very clear that I never set out to take the art world by storm and make “whimsical, powerful, iconoclastic and often unconventional art which speaks to, challenges, and provokes discussion about cultural, political, and social issues and the role art plays in our evolving global community.” (This is actual language taken from a gallery invite I received.) This is not me and it never has been. 

What I do strive to create is art for Lego fans. I want to make art that any fan would be proud to display on their wall and so they can tastefully let their freak flag fly. I want to bridge the gap between the casual fan and those incredibly creative master builders. And if my images touch a deeper emotional truth along the way, then I couldn’t be happier. 
 
I think the Lego universe is big enough for all of us to play in; each in their own way be true. 
 
~ xxsjc

Does this fellow Instagram user have a point, is it just a mini figure picture?
If you don’t think it is just a pretty picture, how would you describe the photos taken by the members of #stuckinplastic?
If you missed out on signing up for the book exchange and would like to still participate, please contact us immediately.  

By shelly Corbett


This little guy was created from Lego Space: Building the Future by Peter Reid. He has proven to be very popular. 

#stuckinplastic: The Exhibition

One of our goals here at Stuck In Plastic (#stuckinplastic) is to create opportunities to show toy photography away from a computer or hand held device and place it squarely on the walls of fellow fans, board rooms, coffee shops and galleries alike.

To that end I am pleased to announce the very first Stuck In Plastic exhibition which we just branded for now #stuckinplastic: The Exhibition.

My friends +Me2Avanaut and I will be showing our collective works – large, and we mean large- at the Bryan Ohno Gallery in Seattle, USA, Planet Earth for five weeks starting March 5th, 2015.

And yes we want YOU to come and celebrate our very first art exhibition in my hometown with us.

In fact if you are able to make the opening we will all three be in attendance (yes, these two Nordic dudes are coming over to this side of the pond).

Showing my work with these two gentleman is a sincere honor, and the additional opportunity to meet them…well lets just say 2015 is looking very bright indeed.

We will be talking about this exhibition periodically between now and March 5th as our plans take shape and offcourse we are interested in your views, so stay tuned !

I hope you will take time out of your busy schedule and meet up with us for the opening reception on the 5th (or at least help us spread the word). It would be wonderful to turn this into a mini meet up and show the world and beyond (or at least Seattle for now) that we are a force to be reckoned with.

My sincere hope is that this is a grand success so that we can travel #stuckinplastic: The Exhibition to a town near you, add a few more members, and continue to grow this movement.

~ xxsjc

Our very first picture we posted here on Stuck In Plastic.

If you would like more information about this, or future exhibitions, please let us know. 
Have you signed up for the Best of 2014 Photographic Challenge? If not, sign up here!