When in doubt, deadlines and challenges!

A challenge a day keeps the sickness away

This week I’ve been engrossed in “The Chronicles of Nausea”.

As you can imagine, when you’re captivated by such a literary chef-d’œuvre (don’t mention chef), your motivation, inspiration and appetite (literally) wane.

Today you’re gonna be sick, so sick
You’ll prop your forehead on the sink
X – Nausea

So, after Shelly filled in for my regular slot (thanks), I put my hand up to post a few days later than usual.

But, what?!

“When in doubt, my dear fellow, do nothing.”
Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace

Yeah right Leo, that’ll work!

I prefer the “When in doubt, you knucklehead, do LEGO” philosophy.

So, with a promise made as the haze of the abating illness still hovered, I grabbed a handful of random Minifigures. I say random, but they were on my “to do” shelf. The shelf I’ve set aside for Minifigures, LEGO and toys that have been neglected of late, haven’t yet been photographed, are there as a workshop of ideas, or are there just to taunt and challenge me. A casting couch, if you will.

Waiting at the Bussk Stop
Waiting at the Bussk Stop

Could I photograph this snatched plastic in a way that would live up to my “all” mantra? Is it possible to grab, plan, shoot and end up with a succinct story in such a short time? Do “good” photos need “good” time to develop?

Well, there’s nothing like a challenge and a deadline to sweat out the remains of a virus.

There goes sickness
In my daddy’s car
Good riddance to the both of you
I hope you go far
Mudhoney – Here Comes Sickness

Less is more?

I can’t say if these few shots that I took live up to my expectations. Maybe because I had none? But sometimes, I think the notion of “think less” and “do more” can result in some pleasantly surprising outcomes; outcomes that might never eventuate if there was more time to think and plan.

Radioactive treats
Radioactive treats

So, thanks to Shelly for filling in for me during my infected absence. Thanks to my “to do” shelf for helping me get this post done. And thanks to this post for helping me to mend.


Do you have a “to do” shelf or a casting couch for ideas, the neglected, or the ones that you think you should photograph? Is it a physical space, a list, or a mental note?

If you enjoy posts like this, we invite you to join our G+ community. We have an entire section devoted to sharing photos that showcase behind the scenes glimpses and as well as photo tips and tricks. 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog. You will be notified when we have a new post ready for you.


    • brett_wilson

      Oh I couldn’t agree more! More often than not, I’ll grab a mismatched Minifigure from my ‘casting couch’, that no doubt I had a clear idea for at the time of putting them there, but for the life of me can’t remember what it was. And from that forgotten idea, a new one will emerge. Sometimes, it’s good to be old and forgetful! 😉

  1. Shelly Corbett

    Brett – despite your illness this is a fabulous post. There are a few nuggets you dropped that I’ve been thinking about myself. What? Do great minds think alike? I don’t have a shelf but I do have a desk which always has a pile of mini figures on it. Sometimes the jumble gets me thinking in new ways. Maybe I should be more organized and have a little designated area I play in to see what I can come up with; although sometimes my photos find me when Im least looking for them. After all these years the artistic process is still a mystery. I hope you feel better soon! Shelly

    • brett_wilson

      Great minds? You might be selling yourself a little short if comparing yours to my forgetful one.
      I find my ‘to do’ shelf invaluable. It not only reminds me to pay some attention to the neglected, but it’s a constant source of forgotten ideas and inspiration. So many confused hours are spent examining Frankenstein creations, wondering what I had in mind for them. So many times they are simply bundled into a bag and taken out to see if they spark a story. Often they return to the shelf still a befuddled mystery. There’s a few that have been there for over twelve months and still puzzle me as to what the heck I was thinking of! I’m sure one day I’ll remember their intended yarns, or think up a new one.
      And thanks, I’m back to full health now, a little lighter on the scales, but with an arsenal of backlog post to catch up on! 😀

  2. Leila @brickandmordor

    Nice insight! I keep a “to do” list on my phone of toy photo ideas I want to execute. Some are very old, but I still intend to get around to them someday! I already have too many random piles of minifigs all over the house or in travel containers from previous outings that I have yet to put away, so having a “to do” shelf would just add to the clutter, but I really like the idea.

    • brett_wilson

      Ah, the containers of outings past!
      Yep, I’ve got them too! Too many of them. Although I’m trying to train myself to take out the ones I shoot on those outings, leaving the forgotten to venture out again, and hopefully see the light of day next time.
      Random piles can easily be passed off as a ‘to do’ list if they’re all bundled up and put on a shelf? Well, that’s what I keep telling myself, and my wife!
      And yeah, my phone is also filled with frantic memos of (what at the time were obviously brilliant) ideas, many of which, I fail to recall what they were! Like what the heck does ‘salt patronage’ even mean? Maybe it’s a reference to the Swedish sweet ‘Salta Patroner’ I like? Maybe I’ll never know? :/

  3. I’ll sometimes have one or two sitting on my desk while i’m ruminating on their story. Then I take the photo and in doing so the story I’ve spent a while thinking up changes.

    I had one figure that I took a photo of, thought about his story and then it sat on Flickr, hidden from public view for a year to the day before his story finally clicked. Others they come straight out of the box talking and telling me their story like their little plastic lives depend on it.

    • brett_wilson

      Ah yes, the stories that change as soon as the camera comes out!
      I sometimes enjoy the ones that don’t scream a story. Other times they sit there silently on my shelf taunting me to give them a purpose. There’s a couple that have been up there for around a year, silently ridiculing me.
      Pesky little antagonists!

  4. Pinar (@pinar.of.brickland)

    I often find that when the mind isn’t in its best state, when there’s a bit alcohol, drugs (medical, of course 😛 ), fogginess, or right before you sleep-just after you wake up involved… it’s in a better state, creative-wise. I’ve had some of my best ideas in these states. My dad used to say that’s when it’s not held back by rights or wrongs we know, that it can open itself and flow freely. Even though I never liked “less is more” architecture-wise (and believe me, I kinda grew up with that saying), when it comes to photography, thinking less and doing more, I believe the word I’m looking for is intuition, creates wonders. I keep my minifigures all organized and on display, so no to-do shelf for me, but whenever I want to take a picture and can’t find a subject, I stand in front of them and let them “talk” to me, tell me their stories. If I hear them, then it’s time for a photo session.

    I’d say even with your sickness, you managed to create yet another beautiful piece of writing. I do hope you feel better soon 🙂

    • brett_wilson

      I love the idea of the Minifigures talking to you!
      The ones on my ‘to do’ shelf just silently mock me, daring me to think of their story. Others, the more chatty ones on other shelves, are often screaming their stories at me. Maybe they drown out the others?
      And thanks, I’m all better now. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.