With Gratitude

It’s been awhile since I’ve created a gratitude post. But their have been so many changes these first few months of 2017, I thought it was high time. I’ve always felt it’s worth a moment to pause and take time to reflect on what it is really important to me: friendships and connections. And so far this year has been incredible in both of these areas.

Change is inevitable. Change is constant. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Continue reading With Gratitude

Musing’s on Community, Belonging and Toy Photography

In my G+ mentorship program we’re asked a daily question. These questions are designed to get us to think about our lives in new and different ways. I thought I would answer one of the questions that came up this week publicly since it has some relevance to recent events. Continue reading Musing’s on Community, Belonging and Toy Photography

Change is Hard

Change is hard. Even though I knew Kristina’s last post was coming, it still broke my heart. I respect Kristina’s decision to go her own way, and I’m grateful she will continue our challenges, at least in the short term. I will confess there’ve been a few too many changes on the blog as of late; in fact that last few months have left me reeling. Continue reading Change is Hard

Not Your Typical Challenge

Recently the Instagram toy curatorial site Toys4Life has been running a challenge, and not your typical challenge either. This challenge has no winners or losers, it is more of an opportunity to acknowledge the people on Instagram that are part of your IG Family; people you admire and appreciate. I generally don’t participate in challenges, I like to do my own thing, but honestly I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to throw some Instagram love around. Continue reading Not Your Typical Challenge

Grateful

It’s a beautiful spring day here in Seattle. Basking in the lovely sunshine inevitably turns my thoughts to all that I have to be grateful for. I did a series of “grateful” posts back in August and it seems like an appropriate time to add to the list.

First up, I am grateful to Bryan Ohno. Bryan and I go back a few years when I was a part of his previous gallery. I was flattered that Bryan called me out of the blue nearly 20 months ago to invite me to be a part of a group show with my underwater photographs. I appreciate that Bryan was open to my new toy photographs even though it is outside of the art he normally shows. His openness to hosting  the upcoming show In LEGO, We Connect is testament to our mutual respect and I want to repay that faith by delivering a kick ass show.

Second on my list is my wonderful friends at KEXP. Throughout this stressful winter they have grounded me with their friendship, support and our mutual love of music. I know they have no idea how much they have helped me grow over the past six years of my near continuous volunteering and this is how it should be.  The many adventures and experiences I have enjoyed with them have tested me in ways I would never have thought possible. All the video I have shot with them has rubbed off on me and informed my photography in countless ways. It has truly been a win-win situation.

Third on this list is my amazing partners: Me2 and Avanaut.  Me2 deserves special thanks for giving me this platform to voice my artistic joys and doubts and share with you all that is wonderful about toy / macro photography. I am grateful for Avanaut and his willingness to say “yes” to both joining us here on the blog as well as in Seattle next month.  I look forward to meeting them both in two weeks(!!) and showing them my beautiful city and introducing them to all my amazing friends who have helped to make this all possible.

No matter how many doubts I have between now and the opening (and trust me there will be a few), I already know I have “won” because I have the most amazing people in my life… and for this I am grateful.

~ xxsjc

Who or what are you grateful for?

Exploring (robot courtesy of Gordon)
Exploring (robot courtesy of Gordon)

Grateful (3/3)

How could I not take a moment and say thank you to everyone who has ever supported my toy photos on Instagram, Flickr, G+ and especially here at Stuckinplastic? The connections forged here on the internet amongst this far flung group of like minded souls fills my heart with joy.

To be inspired by and to inspire like minded toy photographers is a great thrill for me. I wish I could name every person who has inspired me or made me feel happy with their kind words. But they are too numerous and I would ultimately leave someone out. I’m pretty sure if you find this post and read it, then you are one of those people and I am grateful for making a connection with you.

Everyone has a bucket list of some type. Often this list is filled with adventures like skydiving, climbing Mount Everest or traveling to some far flung local. On the top of my list is a party akin to the farewell party thrown by +Me2 after his adventure in search of the Northern Light. To sit around a table for an evening with all my Instagram and toy photography friends toasting, gabbing, talking toys would bring me the greatest joy. When I first saw his pictures here on the blog I actually got emotional. It was like my dream was coming true, even for a brief moment, and it was lovely.

I am looking forward to 2015 because there are possibilities on the horizon that could lead to an evening like Me2 depicted. The first is the Toy Photo Meet-up in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 16-19th. A few of my favorite toy photographers are going to attend and I hope to persuade a few more to join us. But who ever ultimatly attends, know we will be toasting all the friends we have made on Instagram. The second event is in early March and I will reveal more information as it becomes appropriate.

So thank you Instagram and Stuckinplastic friends. You bring me joy, humor and friendship everyday and I am grateful for all of it.

~ xxsjc

Grateful (2/3)

I’m sure this one is pretty self explanatory, but I am thankful for my family. I’m not foolish enough to think that I could be taking lego photos, volunteering, running 1/2 of Stuckinplastic as well as 1/3 of Brickcentral (as well as my regular life and job responsibilities) without some serious family support.

Not only do they support my photo antics, they actually encourage them. My husband will buy me unusual mini figs as gifts, my daughter keeps my up to date on the doings at the Lego store she works at and my son helps me build props as well as accompanies my on my photo adventures.

They all know that when we go on a family adventure there is a good chance my Lego friends will be coming along as well. They are all happy to hang out for an hour or more while I take advantage of some interesting local to snap a couple of photos. This past weekend was no exception. We went on a hike and I had some quality photo time at our destination as well as some quality time photographing at the lake at the base of the trail.

It’s not easy to be an adult playing with toys. Not having to explain myself to the ones I love is a blessing I don’t take for granted. Of course many of my friends fall somewhere between enthusiastic and skeptical, but they are slowly coming around. My parents…now that’s another story altogether.

~ xxsjc

How do your family and friends react to your hobby?
Do you have a photographic support system? If so, who are they?

Taken on a gloomy day at the end of a lovely hike.

Grateful (1/3)

I’m out of practice blogging, but +me2‘s last post put me in mind of a series of posts about gratitude. I know it’s not the holidays, but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and take stock of where you are and why.

Even though I graduated from university with a degree in photography and had a successful art career, I never felt like I knew what I was doing. I would joke that if the subject wasn’t under water I wouldn’t know what to do. This was shockingly close to the truth. 
When my art career ended I was at loose ends and struggling to find my place artistically. Through a random series of events I ended up volunteering at my local independent radio station KEXP. The gentlemen I work with have been generous with their patience, guidance and willingness to share information. I felt like I was in school again. Over the past five years I’ve learned how to handle my dslr, light a room, video like a pro, work as a team member and most importantly travel successfully with nine distinctly different and mostly male personalities. 
Our last adventure together was to a nearby music festival, Pickathon. Since we always travel short handed I volunteered to not only help with video but to take care of still photos of the bands. Basically I would be doing double duty. I took all my lenses with me: 70-200 for video, my favorite wide angle lens, my go-to 24-70 and on the off chance I could sneak in a lego photo my 100 mm macro (which is also a great portrait lens).  The upshot of taking stills for three days, 100’s of photos and multiple lens changes is that I actually understand how and when to use each of these lenses. I also learned each lenses strengths and weaknesses. It was glorious. 
Since I’m an art / casual photographer I rarely have this kind of intense photographic experience. I left mentally exhausted but happy with my efforts. It was also gratifying to find out my current toy photography editing work flow also worked great in the field. It is mazing to me how much these two hobbies of mine, toy photography and music videos, inform and influence each other. In many ways I wish my stills could be as good as the work I turn in with video. I am sure in time it will.
In the mean time there is never a day that goes by that I’m not grateful by this volunteering experience. I have learned so much over the years, made friends and met more than a few amazing musicians. 
~ xxsjc
Where did you learn your photographic skills: traditional school or the school of hard knocks? 
Have you considered sharing your photography skills as a volunteer?
If you want to see the entire set of photos I took, look here.
Pickathon’s main stage at night.