The strong silent hype

We’ve been working on a project since October, but a signed NDA (non-disclosure agreement) means we can’t talk about it until February. The silence around this project almost silenced me. Almost!

Yesterday James wrote about finding inspiration to photograph from within the words and photos of books. Today I struggle to find the inspiration to write words based on the photographs I’ve been taking.

When all I’ve been working on is something that I’ve got to keep my silence about, it’s tough. When my weekly blog post generally evolves from, or relates to what I’ve been working on, it’s so freaking tough.

Being able to dedicate some serious weekend time to this project is a luxury afforded me from my wife and kids. To devote time to this project, especially during the busy Christmas build up and the frantic end of the work year wind down is such a blessing. Opening a blank blog draft, knowing that I’ve gathered no fodder to write about during the weekend’s activities is neither a blessing nor a luxury.

When I’m photographing toys I’m also thinking about words that can be drawn from that experience; creating snow, putting tips into practice, shooting someone’s shtick, tackling seasonal changes, lying in the wet sand… All of these posts emerged from the experience of taking photos of toys. Other experiences have lead to other topics to write about. However, the focus on this project keeps my thoughts from wandering.

Silence: Turning cogs
Turning cogs

I want to treat this project as a whole. I want to throw all at it. Don’t wander off in thought, thinking of other tasks I have to do, like writing my weekly post. Remain focused on the task at hand. That’s not easy for me. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m easily distrac…. oh look, a butterfly!

– Brett

Does your toy photography inspire you to do more? Where do you find inspiration to write?

If you’ve made through all my blathering and ended up here, you should sign up to our weekly email round up where you’ll get a recap of all the babbling from the week.

And while you’re doing things, you should definitely join our G+ Community where we hold monthly contests with prizes and lots of other cool stuff too.

Don’t Rock the Toy Boat!

Is there a place for social conscience in toy photography? Should a sense of responsibility or concern for the problems and injustices of society play a part in photographs of toys?

Julie has written about using toy photography to make sense of the current state of the world. Yuri wrote about the toy photography community uniting us in a world that divides. Julien wrote that toy photography is a way to escape from the daily world.

As well as using toy photography as an outlet to make sense of or escape the world, or as a means to unify in a divided world, maybe there’s also a place for toy photography to question the world?

So, you can go ahead and roll your eyes and marginalize me
Play on my insecurities
And you can feign ignorance, but you’re not stupid, you’re just selfish
And you’re a slave to your impulse
Propagandhi – Apparently, I’m A “P.C. Fascist” (Because I Care About Both Human And Non-Human Animals)

LEGO artists such and @legojacker and @pulup post photos that challenge world and local politics and society, Brian McCarty challenges the wars in this world with his toy photography, and we’ve tackled the inequity in the gender balance in the LEGO CMF series releases with the help of our friend Rambling Brick. And I’m sure I’ve left so many others out.

social conscience: Don't Rock The Boat!
Don’t Rock The Boat!

Us addressing the injustices of society shouldn’t make you uncomfortable. The injustices of society SHOULD make you uncomfortable.

I’m the little girl at the picnic
Who won’t stop pulling her dress up
It doesn’t matter who’s in control now
It doesn’t matter ’cause this is new radio
Bikini Kill – New Radio

Plastic Punks

A long time ago I wrote about the parallels between toy photography and punk culture and the D.I.Y. ethos associated with it. Consequently it’s this punk philosophy that keeps me wanting to question and challenge the socially accepted norm.

social conscience: Punks Not Dead
Punks Not Dead

I don’t want to hear it
Sick and tired of all your lies
I don’t want to hear it
When are you gonna realize…
Minor Threat – I Don’t Wanna Hear It

Surely a social conscience stretches beyond the vehicle that I choose to express that voice through? Just because I choose toys as the subject for my photography should I muzzle my principles? Is it because toys are considered a child’s plaything?

One of my favourite artists, punk art surrealist Winston Smith, creates politically charged works that challenge the viewer to confront inconsistencies and political contradictions. And he uses collages to do this, pasting pieces of paper onto another.

Didn’t we all cut and paste as children? How childish!

I know you’re right
Everything you do is right
Everything I do is true
Babes In Toyland – Bluebell

Social Conscience > Social Media

We talk about toy photography telling stories. Are toys barred from delving deeper into substantial matters? Should those stories be limited to the publicly perceived acceptable depths that toys are allowed to probe?

– Brett

Do you think there’s a place for social conscience in toy photography?

If you’ve made through all my blathering and ended up here, you should sign up to our weekly email round up where you’ll get a recap of all the babbling from the week.

And while you’re doing things, you should definitely join our G+ Community where we hold monthly contests with prizes and lots of other cool stuff too.

Ho! Ho! Whoa!

With Christmas approaching, Shelly suggested a Secret Santa gift exchange amongst the Google+ Toy Photographers Moderators.

Eight Moderators signed up, each being allocated another to find a $20US gift to add to their toy photography arsenal.

Buying a toy for a toy photographer. Easy, right? Not necessarily.

This seemingly simple gift exchange has morphed into an exercise in investigation. Trawling though feeds to gauge an interest. Scanning photos for prospective gifts that might me absent from their extensive collection. Examining posts for a gift that is likely to complement an existing assembly, or send the recipient off in a new direction in their toy photography.

Xmas has been X’d
No colored lights, no shopping sprees
No more presents under dead trees
NOFX – Xmas Has Been X’ed

Getting Lost in the Search

As I meandered through their catalogue of creativeness, I got lost and forgot why I was there.

Secret Santa: Sneaky Santa
Sneaky Santa

I became engrossed in recurring themes. I chronicled the acquisition of new toys as they joined the throng. As I wandered through the months, the seasons changed and painted different pictures. Favourite toys made regular appearances. Styles and techniques evolved, yet remained true to their origins.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
Bad Religion – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

I discovered I was one being given a gift, the gift of seeing the evolution of a friend’s toy photography, as I searched for that elusive gift. I got to rediscover forgotten photos and experience new ones.

Secret Santa or Sneaky Santa?

Good luck looking clues as to who I was allocated in the Secret Santa if you’re one of the G+ Moderators.  I covered my tracks. I made sure not to like, +1 or comment on any of the archival images I was snooping through!

– Brett

When was the last time you scrolled back through someone’s feed? When did you last look back at the evolution of one of your toy photography friends?

If you’ve made through all my blathering and ended up here, you should sign up to our weekly email round up where you’ll get a recap of all the babbling from the week.

Ready, Set, Edit!

I wrote about why I wouldn’t manipulate my photos beyond the simple edit before. I wrote about how the perfectionist in me would still see me in front of my computer hours later if I embarked down this road.

However, I’ve established a middle ground. And this medium is thanks to my old friend, time.

I’ve set the stopwatch. I’ve set a self-imposed constraint of 20-minutes for photo manipulations. Once the countdown stops at zero, Photoshop stops too!

Setting a limit puts a stop to the procrastination, the over finessing, and wasting away hours at the computer. Who’s got the time to spend hours and hours editing one photo? Not me!

Rest your head on me
I’ll smooth it nicely
Rub it better ’til it bleeds
And, and you’ll believe me
P J Harvey – Rub ‘Til It Bleeds

Continue reading Ready, Set, Edit!

The return of the pebble

At the start of this year I made a resolution. So what did I want from the year? A pebble in my shoe!

I wanted a pebble in my shoe to keep me shifting, keep me squirming, and keep me uncomfortable. I hoped that this would keep me shifting until I found my style, or until I became comfortable enough to realise my style would never be constant and it’d always need to be changing; just like my stance with a pebble in my shoe.

I don’t want a career, I got enough to deal with here
Screeching Weasel – Ashtray

I’ve still got that pebble in my shoe. Actually, I’ve now got two of those pesky nuisances in there. Continue reading The return of the pebble

Numbers Slumber

I love numbers

Did you know 2 and 5 are the only prime numbers that end with a 2 or a 5?

And did you know, 40 when written “forty” is the only number with letters in alphabetical order, while “one” is the only one with letters in reverse order when written in English? And “four” is the only number in the English language that is spelt with the same number of letters as the number itself? Continue reading Numbers Slumber

Photo or Faux Tow

When is a photo a faux tow? Is photo editing a false pull; drawing people to an artificial interpretation of reality? Or, is reality already blurred when we’re taking photos of toys?

I used to try to capture all I could in camera. Sure, I’d tweak and enhance what was captured, but I steered clear of opening Photoshop to add anything. If I did open Photoshop, it was to take away dust, dirt and imperfections. My reasoning for avoiding Photoshop was I didn’t want to unleash the perfectionist in me. Continue reading Photo or Faux Tow

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. Continue reading Fundamentally Fun

Request Inquest

Allow me to paint a cautionary tale of a request for artwork and some unforeseen pitfalls that I encountered. Pitfalls that you might avoid after I’m done babbling.

A cautionary tale is a tale told in folklore, to warn of a danger. There are essentially three parts to a cautionary tale.

  1. Firstly, a taboo or prohibition is stated
  2. Then, the narrative itself is told
  3. And finally, the one who disregards the forewarning of taboo comes to an unpleasant fate, which is commonly told in grisly detail

Continue reading Request Inquest