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…?

My attempt to make an exact copy became a homage!

I know that I disqualified myself at the beginning of this challenge. when I said I have tried this before and that I didn’t make it. But my past experience didn’t stop me thinking that this time would be a success. Yesterday I decided to give the challenge my best try. I started by telling my twelve-year-old son that I was going to make an exact copy of the picture “Guys? Hey, guys? This ain’t funny! Guys, where are you? HELLO?” by Vesa Lehtimäki. It’s a picture that I really like. My son looked at me and smiled, looked at Vesa Lehtimäki’s pictures and responded, “You will never make it. You will never do the same picture. I know you, you will do your own picture and it will look like yours.” I smiled back at him and said, “I’ll give it a try…” Continue reading My attempt to make an exact copy became a homage!

Congratulations…?

 

On December 18, 2015, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was unleashed upon the planet.

On December 18, 2015, a picture of mine was featured by Instagram in their “Search and Explore” tab within the popular app. I was thrilled, right? Wrong.

Let me explain. Continue reading Congratulations…?

the anxiety

tiesoverthebay HAVE YOU FELT IT ?

or …have you seen the trailers, the commercials, the action figures, the clothing, the cereal, the coffee creamer, the toothpaste, the mouthwash, the toilet paper !?!!!

The Force  is going to awaken, not too long from now actually, and I couldn’t be happier. It seems as though the entire world is anticipating the movies release and it’s been nothing short of amazing to kind of sit on the sidelines and watch the excitement build.

The trailers have been extremely inspirational as far as my toy-photography goes. I’ve been watching the original trilogy non-stop when time allows. The theme music has been on “endless loop” in my head and I have my tickets to the premiere stashed away in a very, very safe place. Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to December 18th.

BUT…

I have a problem. Right now, anytime I feel the need to immerse myself in the Star Wars universe, I can do so. I can plop myself down in front of my gigantic television, mash a few buttons on a remote and TAH-DAH, instant Star Wars!

I can watch any of the six movies anytime I want! I can watch them back to back, I can watch them the way they were released (IV, V, VI, I, II, III) or I can sit back and relax, just knowing that if I want to visit Darth, Luke and the gang, I can. Until the 18th of December that is.

After that I will have to make the arduous trip from where I live (a small island two hours away from any real theater) to where “they” keep the new episode hidden away. Now “they” will only show you the film after you’ve handed over the official “view the greatest movie ever released in your lifetime” fee. Now “they” control access to what may go on to be known as “THE MOVIE THAT BROUGHT WORLD PEACE, ENDED HUNGER and MADE EVERYONE INCREDIBLY HAPPY”.

How am I supposed to live that way?

 

Dear Captain Phasma, Please be more like Boba Fett and less like Jar Jar Binks.
Dear Captain Phasma,
Please be more like Boba Fett and less like Jar Jar Binks.

Additionally, what if The Force Awakens and it looks like it’s hungover? Like…. like it’s been on a thirty year bender?  What if it’s (gasp) terrible? What if J. J. Abrams has completely lost his mind and is about to unleash an episode that will go down in history as the worst movie ever seen by anyone ever? I can’t take another Jar Jar Binks. Enough said about that.

I’ve been using the hashtag “inJJwetrust” in my toy-photography and I sincerely mean it. Mr. Abrams and I share a love and enthusiasm for a movie we both saw in 1977. I’m POSITIVE that his love and enthusiasm will shine through on December 18th and I hope to feel like a nine year old kid again around 7:05 p.m. that evening.

But still… the anxiety.

 

 

The problem with Star Wars

In Shelly’s post “The problems with Chima” she pointed out that there is a benefit, for us as still life photographers, to work with toys  that have a well-known back-story.  We can use them as symbols and let the back-story work for us in the picture. I try to do that in most of my pictures, because for me the roles that these figures play in my photographs are to be symbols. There is also a problem with toys with a well know back-story, in my case the problem is Star Wars. Continue reading The problem with Star Wars

The Plastic Awakens

"...have you felt it."
“…have you felt it.”

 

Like most folks, I have two days a week off from work. Most times I spend those days taking pictures, getting caught up around the house, running errands and avoiding phone calls from…work. These past couple of days off were much the same with one exception. I sat down and watched Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Continue reading The Plastic Awakens

Who Inspires You?

The hardest thing about keeping going with any project, be it toy photography or landscape photography is the concept of challenging yourself. Instagram is filled with people who take essentially the same photo over and over again.

I know I can be accused of this as much as the next person. 
So I want to take a moment to talk about someone who seems to be challenging himself on a daily basis: +east mountain.  Even though he is nearing the end of his 365 daily photo challenge he continues reinventing his photography style. Sure you can attribute some of this to his desire to master the basic concepts of photography since he is relatively new to the hobby, but most people do not take it to this level. 
If you look back through his photos he has played with different lenses, natural elements like fire, water and sand, as well as experimenting with a variety of lighting styles. Just thinking about the amount of effort that goes into these shoots is a bit mind blowing, but at the same time I am inspired to push myself in a similar way. 
Ok maybe I’m not going to start melting my mini figures, but I know I am capable of accomplishing more than what I am doing. 
It is easy to look to the likes of Avanaut for inspiration but don’t stop there. There is as much to be learned from the new kids like East-Mountain, as from the masters.

~ xxsjc

Who inspires you?
How do you keep your work looking fresh?
Do you have any inspirational tricks you can share with the community? 

East-Mountain

“Welding” by Christoffer Östberg

Why?

Why do I spend the majority of my free time photographing small pieces of colourful plastic?
I first tried the ultimate answer to any question and realized 42 wouldn’t cut it at all (although going Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with LEGO is definitely a challenge I have to visit someday, without panic). At first this question may have seemed easy enough and the answer self evident, but looking deeper, there’s nothing simple about it. What are our personal reasons for taking photographs? The answer is different for all of us. It can be as simple as love, a story that needs to be told, or a way to revisit childhood.
I have only been active in LEGO photography for a year now, and still my reasons have changed during this time.
My wife is a professional photographer and so I have always had her support and knowledge. I have also found many talented and inspiring photographers out there. Even though I have changed the way I photograph, Vesa Lethimäki will always stand as a source of inspiration. I promised always to challenge myself in photography and find new ways to play with these bricks, to cast away the innate limitations and bring them to life, sometimes with the help of the four elements. Especially close to my heart are those pictures involving fire and natural light. It’s about not having control of the situation, acting within a limited time frame with the camera to capture that which is unpredictable, be it fire, wind, water, or earth. What I appreciate about the unpredictable photographs is that they capture a moment in time, impossible or almost impossible to reproduce, triggering a realistic cinematic feeling.
Alexander Rodchenko said, “One has to take several different shots of a subject, from different points of view and in different situations, as if one examined it in the round rather than looked through the same key-hole again and again.” There are endless perspectives on the simplest of objects, and all of them tell a different story.
But there are other reasons besides the joy of drowning figures or setting them on fire. The main reason still stands: I am a father of two kids who love playing and being creative with LEGO. Much inspiration is drawn from them; the imaginary mind of the young knows no boundaries.
I found that even though I strive to make all photographic effects in front of the camera, with as little post-processing as possible, my goal now, almost a year later, is to express my emotional response to the scene. This has led me to modify the image captured by the camera. If I did not alter the image, I would be showing what the camera captured, not what I saw and felt in my head. Even so, I still work more with the camera rather than post-production software.
There is a story behind every image, and it is a great feeling when my family and I decide to frame one of them and hang it on the wall. The images may seem uninteresting to people, but to me they are a reminder of what ideas spawned in my mind and what emotion stirred them to life.
So why do I keep doing this, day in and day out, sacrificing sleep and mental health. I think George Bernard Shaw said it best: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.I don’t want to grow old.

“Mono Wheel” by Christoffer Östberg

“River Crossing” by Christoffer Östberg