Sip-A-To-Do-List

Sip-A-Dee-Ay , my oh my what a wonderful day.

Aaaand…“click”…send!

And with that seemingly insignificant click of the keyboard, all my photos are sent to the printers for the exhibition. I was kind of hoping for some sort of fanfare, or maybe some streamers and balloons to burst out of the laptop, however, I’ll happily accept the feeling of relief and the chance for my life to return to somewhat normality. Continue reading Sip-A-To-Do-List

Requiem For Esteem

Finding Inspiration In Words, Again

I recently had to leave town for work. After packing my bags (including the now mandatory for any journey off the property, LEGO minifigures), I grabbed a book from our bookshelves (I’d just finished the latest BricksCulture magazine cover to cover) for the plane flight and the few days away. Continue reading Requiem For Esteem

A play with words

A play on with words

What’s the good word?

Anyone who’s read my posts here on Stuck in Plastic, or indeed, chatted with me, will know that I have a tendency to go off on a tangent.

Bear with me! This post goes way out there, but hopefully I can reel it back to a succinct point relating to toy photography.

Here goes… Continue reading A play with words

A clean bill of wealth

Out with the new, in with the old

Lacking motivation. Inspiration deficient. Stuck in a plastic rut. Brick block.

We’ve all be there.

I too was recently on the precipice of a tumble deep into the inability to initiate.

And what does someone like me do in these times? I clean. Continue reading A clean bill of wealth

Succession session

New kids off the country block

From rant to gallivant.

From Bellbrae to Erskine Falls.

Well, from Bellbrae to Erskine Falls, via Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Fairhaven, Moggs Creek, Big Hill and Lorne, as we snake our way along the Australian National Heritage listed ‘Great Ocean Road’ that hugs Australia’s south-eastern coastline. Continue reading Succession session

Into The Wild

The weekend of the recent Seattle Toy Safari presented several opportunities for us toy photographers: The chance to meet friends we only really knew by their Instagram handles, to make new friends (and, in turn, swap Instagram usernames), to borrow toys for unexpected and unplanned shots, and more. For me, the meetup also came with a challenge: I had to actually shoot outdoors!

I consider myself primarily an indoor toy photographer. A viewer of my photos will find more shots of superheroes playing with their cats than they would Chima in the wild. Part of that has to do with the fact that Mike, Vesa, and Chris McVeigh were my biggest inspirations for getting into Lego photography, and as you know, they primarily shoot in-studio. While I’m not quite as control-oriented as they are, I do find that my particular sensibilities and ideas as a photographer gravitate toward indoor scenes.

At first I was anxious when looking at the schedule for the Toy Safari, which took us into the heart of Seattle, and to various parks, forts, and nearby waterfalls. Beyond that surface-level nervousness, however, was the excitement to try new things, and venture outside of my own photographic comfort zone.

“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” – John Maxwell.

As Shelly recently mentioned, approaching photography with “an openness to the possibilities” can lead to some fantastic surprises. Over the weekend, I discovered something about myself I didn’t know: I actually enjoy shooting outside!

Granted, it took me a while to get the hang of things. I’m used to setting up my scenes in a lightbox or near a window, placing my camera on a tripod, and slowing my shutter speed to let in more light. Upon taking my first outdoor photos, I had to immediately mess with the camera settings – taking them away from the numbers I’d found so familiar and “safe” – and do some good ol’ fashioned trial-and-error.

Apart from the technical changes, I also had to examine my own creative process. How could I take my actual ideas and place them in the real world, away from the small living rooms or alien landscapes I’d created on my kitchen table?

This turned out to be a pretty satisfying creative problem to have, as it required me to examine my batch of minifigures differently. Rather than literally creating the scene around the figure, I had to do the opposite, and find a way for the figure to inhabit the natural surroundings I found myself in.

Monkeying Around High Res
I was lucky to find a tree with some branches small enough for Lego hands – letting this monkey enjoy some much-needed time outside!

From there, new ideas had to be forged. What was the minifigure doing? What story was I trying to tell? I didn’t want to simply shoot the figure in the grass or by the ocean – I needed an angle, some kind of hook.

To my surprise, it was extremely fun to dig through my toy box, mix and match accessories, and see what kind of scenarios or stories I could create using a natural environment. I can’t exactly create an ocean at home (not without my wife or landlord getting upset, anyway), so it was fun to gaze upon my minifigs and place them in situations I’d never be able to conjure up while inside the comfort of my own home.

Jawesome High Res
When stuck indoors, this shark minifig was destined to pose for a recreation of Katy Perry’s infamous Left Shark/Right Shark halftime show. Luckily for him, he enjoyed a day at the beach instead!

I’m very happy with the results, and I learned quite a few things over the weekend. Apart from some new technical tricks, I learned more about myself, the nature of my own creative process, and how fun it can be to bring my ideas into a new situation or location. I doubt I’ll soon get used to seeing these outdoor photos on my camera roll, but I’m sure glad they’re there, and I cannot wait to add more of them!

~ James Garcia

Fearless Warrior
When adventuring away from your comfort zone, always make sure to pack some of the things that make you feel safe.

Stuck in another photographers work

In moments when I’m in search for inspiration, I usually spend some time looking through various photo books, websites or just end up on Instagram or Flickr. Often I get stuck in a particular photographers work, and in the best cases, this exercise makes me end up in an imagery world of my own, but sometimes it just becomes an exercise in procrastination. Continue reading Stuck in another photographers work

How the…? What the…?

Somewhere along the line I lost year.

It goes like this. My wife asked what I would like for my birthday (1/6 scale Sideshow Collectibles C-3PO with light up eyes, full articulation and bonus com-link!) when my age came up.

“48! Guess you’re an old man now!” she said jokingly.

“48? I’ll be 47.” I replied. Adding a year to my age . . . HILARIOUS!

“No Honey. You’ll be 48. We’re 47 now.Continue reading How the…? What the…?

#jANTMANuary

Instagram is no stranger to challenges.  Some are organized events that take place once a week/month while others come on like a covert operation with secret instant-messages, planning and coordinated drop times that end up becoming an inside joke to a select few.  These challenges are a key cog in the comradery that makes Instagram a special place for artists. Continue reading #jANTMANuary