A photo ripple is the perfect tipple

From just a single drop, inspiration radiates outwards in a beautiful ripple.

Dave recently wrote about taking on photography challenges to replenish the creative well when it’s running dry. This month, I was lucky enough to be part of a photo challenge for the first time on G+; a photo ripple.

One person posts a photo, then tags two to post a photo following the theme. Those two then post and tag two more, and so on and so on, resulting in a wonderful ripple of photos radiating out from just one; a casual sequence, a ripple effect.

The epicentre of the ripple, and the brains behind the concept, Wara Zashi, was kind enough to share a little background behind these ripples with me….

We started the first one back in April as a replacement for the end of month event. The monthly events were just G+ events where people could submit figure photos of their liking, as opposed to the weekly event which was topic based. But even before G+ essentially killed off events, the concept was starting to languish, so I wasn’t too happy with it.

I eventually pulled the plug on events and replaced them with ripples (named after the G+ Ripple feature which I really loved).

I figured if each person is named to continue the thread and also has to name two more, it should create a little bit more motivation to participate (classic chain letter). Our community is pretty small and self contained so if the chain grew large enough, it should get to enough people. And I also wanted to see if people would start to request to participate in some manner. 🙂

We did another one for May and June at the end of each month and at that point, people slowly trickled in enough over time and participated that we thought it would be useful to just have the event start at the beginning of the month and run for the whole month. Which is why July is missing since it became an extension of the June event.

ripple: What better reminder for the middle of summer than a little time out at the water enjoying the outdoors, even with the oppressive heatwave. Complete with a nice little floatie.
“What better reminder for the middle of summer than a little time out at the water enjoying the outdoors, even with the oppressive heatwave. Complete with a nice little floatie.” – Wara Zashi

With August, I was definitely looking to expand and see where this can go outside of the community so I thought it could be fun to drag in Shelly to see where she could take it since I know she would have a completely different group of people than our community.

ripple: Rather than send Butterfly Girl to the beach with her floaty, I sent her dancing in the sprinkler with her beloved teddy bear. In the heat, what better way to cool off than some low key fun at home.
“Rather than send Butterfly Girl to the beach with her floaty, I sent her dancing in the sprinkler with her beloved teddy bear. In the heat, what better way to cool off than some low key fun at home.” – Shelly

So far, I’m pretty happy with how it’s working (hopefully the community members/participants are as well). It’s structured, and unstructured, enough that people can do what they want. Ideally I would love to somehow enforce at least a template but people seem to get the general idea of what needs to be done.

ripple: After frolicking under a sprinkler, what better way to cool off than with an icy pole whilst paddling your feet in the cool waters of a lake?
“After frolicking under a sprinkler, what better way to cool off than with an icy pole whilst paddling your feet in the cool waters of a lake?” – Brett

It’s interesting to see, as the ripple grows, how people change it over time. On the toy photography side, it seems to have especially drifted into a chain where you give reasons for recommending and add to the already existing description to explain the chain. The figure side seems to have stuck to the original template a bit more and wants to connect the new post to the previous one through the photo and description.

ripple: Babies - Kiddie Pool
“Well, when sprinklers and ponds aren’t available, and you happen to be quite small, a kiddie pool will due just nicely to beat the summer heat. Look closely and you’ll see ducky peering over the edge.” – Jennifer

I’ve only given vague hints as to how each post is supposed to connect so it’s been interesting to see it evolve.

ripple: And sometimes (once you've grown up a little) you just use a hot day to chat on a cliff, waiting for the high tide to roll in...
“And sometimes (once you’ve grown up a little) you just use a hot day to chat on a cliff, waiting for the high tide to roll in…” – Tobias

At some point, I’ll add in some new concepts, but we’ll see how it goes over time. 🙂

These wonderful ripples are like a reverse game of pass the parcel; with every step, another layer is added. As these ripples radiate throughout communities, stories twist and turn, styles merge and divide. Sometimes the ripples fade, and sometimes they journey into wonderfully, unforeseen places; just like ripples do.

Just like Dave, I find challenges are wonderful source of motivation and inspiration. Being pulled into this ripple and being invited to help it grow was definitely so.

I’ve only included a few shots from the August ripple; it’s still radiating. But, from just these handfuls of shots, you can see how a single drop can produce wonderful results.

-Brett

Thank you Wara Zashi, for sharing your words and for the fantastic ripples you generate.

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My Latest Flame

I’ve taken a few shots this week that I’m really proud of. I was going to sit on them for a few days but I couldn’t wait to share at least one of them. The arrival of the new Last Jedi SDCC Exclusives has really given me a kick to get out and shoot more. These two new figures are characters that will feature heavily in the new film, but they also have uncertain paths to take.

I, like many others, can’t wait for the next Star Wars film. Although I try to stay pretty spoiler-free, getting these new figures has given me the opportunity to  make up some of my own stories and add to the intrigue associated with the future of these two characters. It’s part of what toy photography is all about for me – telling the untold story through images. It can sometimes be challenging, when a character and their history are very well known, to tell a different kind of story; however, going off-cannon and making up different adventures for them can be both fun and exciting. It can also take you back to the way you used to play with these toys as a child. Back then, you might not have even seen some of the films starring some of your toys, but that never stopped you from taking them out on your own adventures in your back garden.

A favourite figure is something that changes so often for me. It’s often a Star Wars or a Lego related one, but usually it’s something that connects me with childhood memories of the toys I used to play with. There’s a rich history associated with releasing Star Wars figures before the next film, sometimes even before we have any idea who the character is (for example, Boba Fett).

For that reason, these two new figures are my current favorites despite a slightly dodgy paint finish here and there, and they’ve helped to remind me why I love toy photography.

Inevitably, a week or a month or so later, the next shiny figure pops up on my wanted list and I’ll convince myself that I absolutely need it for ‘that’ shot. When everyday life gets in the way of creativity, and it feels too difficult to dig out the motivation to get out and shoot, a new figure can really help spark your imagination.

Chris Rose

You can follow Chris on Instagram and G+

Being in the Game

The very first play in The Photographer’s Playbook asks the reader to figure out what game they’re playing. So, I say to myself, “I’m creating because I have a creative drive.” But this needs to go deeper. What are my goals, how do I intend to achieve them, and what is the best way to go about this? All things I have very vague answers to in my head.

And then I remembered a quote from Netflix’s The Incredible Jessica James, spoken by real world playwright Sarah Jones.

“And you’re doing it. That’s why we’re here right? This is it! There’s kinda not more to it than that.”

Continue reading Being in the Game

The Inspiration Challenge

It is probably not a shock to anyone reading this that I believe toy photography to be a very creative art form that is full of creative artistic people. One of the most blissful times in a creative person’s life is when inspiration hits and creativity flows thru them like a torrential rainstorm. However when inspiration dries up and ideas are as scarce as water in the desert, well, those times are tough.

I believe it is important for a creative type to push thru these dry times, and strive to create new things even when inspiration is lacking. For working professional photographers these dry times can often be survived by pouring oneself into projects for their clients. However as Joe McNally is fond of saying, one needs food for the table, and food for the soul. If you are a pro your clients provide the food for the table, however you still need to find food for your soul in terms of personal projects. If you are an amateur like most toy photographers are, it’s all food for the soul. Continue reading The Inspiration Challenge

Am I Creating Art?

Art as Emotion

“Art is the expression of those beauties and emotions that stir the human soul.”

– Howard Pyle

Art is an extension of the way we each feel about the world.

Emotions are what make us human. The fact that no matter how different our backgrounds, we all grieve, feel joy and show anger, is something that connects each of us on a deeper level – it bonds us together in this human experience. It can be so important to feel through every experience, good or bad. And negative emotions can be just as beautiful as the positive. Without the bad there is no good. Continue reading Am I Creating Art?

Playtime to Stay Prime

Whether it’s taking time, or making time, getting some toy playtime can lead to some toy photography time that you didn’t know about. Playtime with toys can be not only cathartic, it can also be invigorating and energising when it comes to finding toy photography stimulus.

toy
[toi]
noun
1. an object, often a small representation of something familiar, as an animal or person, for children or others to play with; plaything
2. something that serves for or as if for diversion, rather than for serious practical use.
adjective
3. made or designed for use as a toy.
verb
4. to amuse oneself; play.

My desk at work is strewn with a constantly changing selection of LEGO and toys. It’s where a lot of my inspiration comes from. I bring a new batch of toys each week to play with and see if their stories emerge from our playtime. I’ll find myself playing with LEGO or figures while I try to figure out coding problems, mentally map out solutions, debate whether I should send that email or censor it, or sometimes when I probably should be paying more attention during phone calls. Continue reading Playtime to Stay Prime

A dialog between a toy photographer and himself

Great! I’ve found a place that looks like a forest! Look at that moss!
What could i place here?
Why not a minifig riding a motorbike?
Ok, sounds reasonable. 
Why don’t make it a sidecar?
Ok, let’s do it. Who will be the passenger?
Why not a rabbit?
Ok, let’s do it.
Why don’t cornering the sidecar to make it looks taking a dangerous turn?
Yeah, a more dynamic pose, let’s do it.
Why are they together?
Don’t know. Strong bond like friendship?
Ok, everybody should have a rabbit as a friend.
Where are they going? What is going to happen?
Don’t know. Let’s take some pictures to find it out.

1-Friendship

2-Friendship

3-Friendship

4-Friendship

5-Friendship

6-Friendship

~Marco (The APhOL)

The $5 Photograph

I’ll readily admit I have a lot of supplies for my toy photography – various toys, camera equipment and other gear.

I don’t have the latest and greatest anything, but I make what I have, and what I can further source, work for me.

This concept can be true at any range of your budget. While social media can make it seem like you need a $2000 camera and $300 figure to make it in this field/hobby that’s far from true. Continue reading The $5 Photograph

Chasing “that” shot

For forever and a day I shall chase that White Whale

We’ve all spent time searching for that shot; the elusive White Whale, the Holy Grail that thwarts us. Chasing that shot is a fruitless, all-consuming quest. Or is it?

Drown like Captain Ahab
Trying to slay that Great White Whale
So tied up in their own rules
People jump ship and they fail
Jello Biafra with the Melvins – Lessons in What Not to Become

I’ve got a handful of shots in my mind that I’ve wanted to capture for some time now. Some of these have haunted me for years, taunting me with their imagined exactness.

Many of them come out with me in search for their ideal locale, more times than not returning empty-handed. They scoff at the bland parodies of their imagined precision. Their jeers at my bids to replicate them follow me to every fresh attempt.

Thwarted by their lofty expectations and demands, I usually sit before yet another lacking Lightroom import. Continue reading Chasing “that” shot

The joy of creativity

Right now, I’m more in love with my printer than my camera. This is a huge departure from where I was three years ago when I wrote: “For the pure joy of the photograph”. I’ve grown a lot as an artist in the last three years and my joy of photography has expanded to a more inclusive joy of creativity.

In my original post I talked a lot about the thrill of photography. I wanted to take photos and not actually “do” anything with them. I referenced Vivian Maier and her well know habit of taking hundreds of rolls of photographs and not developing them. The act of taking a photo was more important (easier?) than developing, printing and exhibiting her work. Continue reading The joy of creativity