Pins and Neatness

(low) hanging fruits (of our labour)

Sometimes, words fall short. Sometimes, they fail to sum up emotions. This is one of those times.

The lead up to the exhibition opening this weekend had drained me; both physically and mentally. In the weeks leading up, I’d poured so much into it, I had nothing left in the tank. I couldn’t muster the motivation to shoot LEGO for Instagram (even with new Rogue One sets built and begging to be photographed. I’ve struggled to find words for this blog. I even made to trip up to A Gallery In Preston with a cloud of disinterest and indifference hanging over me. Continue reading Pins and Neatness

Toy Photography is another form of FanFiction

In certain circles legography is considered product photography. We’ve tried to define toy photography as still life, travel photography, tableau-vivant as well as the catch all narrative / action. Lately I’ve come to think of toy photography as a form of FanFiction.

What is FanFiction? Continue reading Toy Photography is another form of FanFiction

Do you shoot or do you create a photograph?

Do you ‘shoot’ or do you ‘create’ your photographs?

This might seem like an odd question but lately I’ve found myself using the words ‘make’, ‘create’ or ‘take’ whenever I talk about photography. This change in language goes beyond the philosophical issue of what we do when we pick up a camera; my reasons are a reflection of current events. Continue reading Do you shoot or do you create a photograph?

Ideas into Pictures

Our newest challenge, “Ideas into Pictures”,  comes from one of my favorite photographers Cig Harvey.

As I was thumbing through The Photographer’s Playbook in search of a new challenge, I was pleasantly surprised to find an entry from Ms. Harvey. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m a big fan of her work for both the simplicity of her images and the emotional reaction she is able to invoke in me. I admire her seemingly effortless combination of text and photo. Each of her images are a glimpse into a story, a mystery, an unfinished poem; they’re pure magic. If I could achieve half of what she is able to achieve with my own work, I would be thrilled. Continue reading Ideas into Pictures

Choices

I would be lying to you and to myself if I said I took photographs only for the joy of it. Sure, at some point that was true, but it’s also true that in the last year that has all changed. As doors and opportunities have presented themselves I have made choices that have taken me down a path that has led to a certain amount of success.

Some of those choices I have been happy with, others, not so much.

Continue reading Choices

Rules are Made to Be Broken

LEGO Chima bird holds custom sterling silver double headed axe on the edge of a cliff
The Tipping Point

 

I have certain rules I set for myself when editing down images into a cohesive set for exhibition. One of them is to not be too attached to any one image and always be suspect of any image I am too attached to. But rules are made to be broken, even this one.

I have an unnatural love for the Chima line of LEGO mini figures, I will freely admit this. Even though LEGO sells this line well, the online toy photography community tends to be pretty disparaging of these figures. I see this opinion reflected repeatedly in the number of likes for a Chima image compared to just about anything else I post. I know that an images popularity is dependent on many factors: when you post the image, who is active during that time and of course the subject. Some figures just have more pop culture resonance than Chima.

Because I can’t seem to make up my mind on the final six images I will be showing next month, I printed two extra images so I could do some last minute editing. I was uncertain what the last alternate image was going to be until I was tagged in someones feed that had posted this image:

IMG_7520

This image hit a little too close to home because I was (am?) this kid. Maybe this is why I like the Chima sets so much, because they are the underdog, the nerd, the misfit, much like me.

So I went to my desk and found my favorite image featuring a Chima figure and got it ready for printing. I sent it to The Color Group (who are beyond awesome) for enlargement. I know this image will look great but has little salability (I admit I could be wrong), but I don’t care; I am super excited to see it hanging proudly on the gallery wall.

I can’t stop haters from hating, but if I am going to lay it all out there, I should include one of my personal favorite images of the year. I’m going to break my own rule of not including an image I am overly emotionally connected too, and let the chips fall where  they will.

~ xxsjc

I want to extend a very large thank you to our friends at The Color Group who have been more than wonderful to work with. They are printing all the images for this show (18 large scale prints), working with two artists from out of the country and holding my hand as I periodically melt down. They have made every deadline and printed the work with care and professionalism. I can’t recommend (or thank) them enough.

Another Point of View

Psst… want to know a secret?

+Me2 and I have been working together for nine months and have only talked once on the phone. All communications have been through Kik, this blog and an occasional e-mail. If you know anything about communication then you know this is a very limited palette.

Sometimes I think that +Me2  and I see eye to eye and then he posts a piece like yesterday and I know we don’t. Don’t get me wrong, we have much in common, more than we can both properly express. But we arrive at our mutual love of legography from such different roads it is almost laughable.

I have never worked for Big Inc. the closest I have gotten to a real job was a four year stint in an arts non-profit. I have been out of the corporate work force for so long that when +Me2 starts expressing business concepts I feel that he is speaking another language.

I am really trying not to take offense at this choice bit:

I feel a drive to take pictures and work my “art” but I need the touch with reality and big Inc. to feel that same reality and feel the power balance and not just live in my ivory tower seeking for inner beauty just within myself.

Seriously is this how he views artists? I am sure you can find this stereo type practicing their art somewhere, but I am pretty sure I can lift the lid off any corporate hive and find similarly delusional individuals. They are not limited to the arts world.

Any artist who can count themselves as successful (by which I mean they can pay their bills) has been playing the business game just like any Big Inc. The scope might be smaller, but the spreadsheets, meetings, budgets, advertising campaigns, search for marketshare is no different. We just get the work done without the buzzwords.

Maybe +Me2 and I need to pick up the phone more because something seems to have been lost in translation.

~ xxsjc

After this post I wonder if +Me2 and I will make it another 9 months?
An interesting article on Art graduates and income from the WSJ. 

I was surprised to run into this little Chima bird when I went hiking this weekend. A welcome sight after a tough hike

The “Like” Trap

This was posted on G+ the other day by a photographer I follow:

“I may have hit the inevitable conclusion that more I try to find a fit for my photography in other’s lives, the more unhappy I become. Social media has inevitably turned from the place of hope to just the typical empty echo chamber that it is. I really need to find a way to go back to shooting for myself and not others.” ~ Anonymous

After reading the comments it seems that he is looking for validation for his photographs in terms of “likes” and favorites. It is easy to fall into the trap of having lots of followers who give feedback to feel like you are moving in the right direction. But this is an ugly trap.

Social media, be it Twitter, Facebook, Google, Flickr or whatever, will not give you the feedback you need and most likely crave. (Let’s be realistic, we all have egos that enjoy an occasional stroking.) I talked earlier about the sheer volume of photos posted daily to FB and G+ here. With this volume of photographs being posted you need to find your motivation from within yourself or from with the work you are doing. It’s near impossible to be seen in this onslaught of imagery. Lets face the harsh reality, more than likely you will be making work that no one really cares about except you.

So stop chasing “likes,” chasing followers, chasing the latest photo trend and create the work that makes you happy. If it’s photos of babies and cats, then make them the best photos they can be. Be it toys or water droplets it doesn’t matter…the only one who is setting the rules is you.

And you know what, if you do the work you love, you never know who is going to start following you. Sometimes miracles do happen.

~ xxsjc

I used an image of a Chima because I have noticed that they usually get 50-100 less “likes” on Instagram than any other image I post. If I was going for the most likes per image I wold post only Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle photos. But I love Eglor and all the characters of the Chima tribes and I will continue to explore my universe with them.