11 apr. 2017

PS (a SiP challenge)

Toy photo blog Stuck In Plastic sometimes issue challenges to us who read (and occasionally write for) it, and in March the challenge was to do a Project. (Spoiler: I failed.)

I stared thinking: what story could I tell with three photos?

Step 1: Theme

Without an immediate creative spark I just walked into my friendly local LEGO store and asked what I should to buy. My selection criteria were simple: Something they had overstocked, and that had at least one female minifigure (because: representation). I walked out of there with set 70592--

Step 2: Story

I'm impressed by toy photographers who document as they build (like @jvanholder's Ghostbusters HQ), and not only finished sets, so I wanted my introduction to be about the build. The cliffhanger would be an action shot. One that's going somewhere.

But how does the story end? It had to be an ending, not a sequel setup, so I'm thinking victory or death. It was coming together now: I will do Birth and Death of a Mech. No P or S in there though, as required, but I'll work it in somehow. (Wouldn't be the first time a project is reined in to meet requirements after it got off track.)

Step 3: Execution

I shot the story in sequence. I built part of the mech for the first shot. Then finished it and played around with some close-ups for the second. The last shot needed to be on the ground so I took it to the forest not far from my house for some spring greens and sunlight.

The next day I had some time to do color adjustments and crop the photos for Instagram. I was done. All I needed now was that title.

And that was a month ago. As is the fate of some projects, this one stalled. Always other things needed to be done first. So time passed, and now here we are. The store is done, as is the title, since yesterday.

Step 4: Post-mortem

There will always be a next project, so never miss an opportunity to learn from each one you finish. From this I've got three key takeaways:
  1. Never underestimate complexity. Even seemingly simple project benefit from checklists to make sure nothing is missed. (Like titles.)
  2. Plan to iterate. All shots I got for the story could have been made better, if I'd made time to shoot them again.
  3. Don't move deadlines. Better to deliver little on time, than nothing at all.
So here it is, my story: Prime Salvaged - Birth and Death of a Mech

6 apr. 2017

Through Other Eyes

(Previously published on Stuck In Plastic.)

Looking at ourselves through another person’s eyes is a great way to find out who we really are. And sometimes: we’re Batman.

I got rid of my document scanner long ago and instead use my camera when I need to digitize something off paper. Just rig it facing down from a tripod and photograph the document. I did that a few nights ago and having that setup plus I recently got a new Batman minifigure, I was inspired to recreate one of my favorite shots from the first Tim Burton Batman movie—

Batman looking up at the Joker’s helicopter (screenshot from Batman, ©1989 Warner Bros. Inc)

Leaving the camera exactly as it was I tried to get the angles right on the figure, blue-tacked to the floor. I ended up with this:

Batman looking up, POC

Quite close to what I wanted, but I ran out of time to do anything more with it then. The next morning I showed it to my girlfriend, and she said: “Nice, he’s flying.” I might have said “no he’s not”, but then I realized: Maybe he was. That night I added some environment under the camera, set more lights, and shot twice:

Look, a helicopter

Flying (for L)

Now when I go back to the POC I really see both final photos in it. But if I hadn’t been told he’s flying maybe it would have forever been just one.

What new views on your photos have you gotten from others? Please share in the comments.

17 sep. 2016

Stockholm Photo Marathon 2016

1. Fotograf (Photographer)

2. Hemlig (Secret)

3. Spela (Play)

4. Fluga (Fly)

5. Ful fisk (Ugly fish)

6. I vått & torrt (Through thick & thin)

7. Grattis! (Congratulations!)

8. Förebild (Role model)

9. Gitarrhjälte (Guitar hero)

10. Sommarkväll (Summer evening)

11. Ensam (Lonely)

12. Blött (Wet)

13. Glöd (Glow)

14. Soffpotatis (Couch potato)

15. Hatt (Hat)

16. Jorden (The Earth)

17. Lysande (Bright)

18. Dans (Dance)

19. Kaos (Chaos)

20. Brödsmulor (Breadcrumbs)

21. Hemgård (Neighborhood center)

22. Kontraster (Contrasts)

23. Nästan där (Almost there)

24. Mitt deltagarnummer (My participation number)