Wes Anderson (SIPgoes53)

Phoebe: Relax, I know what I’m doing, this is how HE wears it
Monica: How who wears it?
Phoebe: Demi Moore
Monica: Demi Moore is not a he
Phoebe: Well, he was a HE in ARTHUR and in 10, eh.
Monica: THAT’S DUDLEY MOORE. I said I wanted it like Demi Moore
Phoebe: Oh, oh.
Monica: OH MY GOD
Phoebe: I’m, sorry, I’M SORRY. Which one is Demi Moore?
Phoebe: Oh! Oh she’s got gorgeous hair.
Monica: I KNOW!
– Friends, the One with Ross’s New Girlfriend (1995)

I say all this because when I saw it was Wes Anderson, I thought of the horror film director – so was somewhat baffled that the director of such classics as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream had decided not to have them listed on their Wiki page, instead favouring the more arty films like the Fantastic Mr Fox and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

As my film preferences tend to head towards action and sci fi rather than “literary geek chic” as the Wikipedia page notes some have termed it, once more this was a bit of a rubbish result for me.

Instead I decided to try something in the style of – which resulted in the image above. One of Anderson’s noted features is an almost obsessively symmetrical composition, which I tried to recreate above.

Next week: Marie Curie


Annie Leibovitz (SIPgoes 53)

I started off my thinking “who?” but then I started to look into the images and there was a “oh, her…” moment. If you’ve not heard of her before, she is a noted American portrait photographer and her works included photographing John Lennon earlier on the day that he was murdered; she photographed the actress Demi Moore for Vanity Fair – once nude and pregnant (1991) and once nude with a suit painted on her body (1992).

I decided to reproduce one of Liebovitz’ more unusual photos (I decided against the one of Whoopi Goldberg lying in a bathtub of milk) and instead used the image of the artist Christo fully wrapped – to the point that you just have to accept that the person under wraps is the artist! Having seen Christo’s giant work of art “The London Mastaba” floating in the Serpentine lake this one seemed most fitting.

Next week: Wes Anderson

Yuval Noah Harari (SIPgoes53)

So I’ll put my hand up here; I had no idea who this person was. In fact, to be thoroughly honest even after reading the Wikipedia page I still had a bit of a shrug on my shoulders. I think I saw an advert for one of the books at a London Underground station. But I suspect that these are books that I *should* read (if I had time… I’m too busy taking pictures of toys!)

So an upshot from someone else’s cribbed notes (thanks Boris at stuckinplastic.com) is that Harari has suggested that in the same way Homo Sapiens evolved and surpassed the Neanderthal that in turn it is possible that Homo Sapien will be evolved to Homo Deus – a hybrid of mechanics and organic. Certainly as we upload more and more data to “the cloud” and the internet starts to become more and more intertwined in our lives (did you say “Alexa, turn on the Christmas lights” this year, or did you bend down with a stick to get the switch behind the tree?) and connections made in the cyber world start to become almost as real as connections in real life this separation becomes lessened.

The challenge is that there is a need to be wary of the impact that the advancement of technology has. The idea of mechanic prothesis to enable people who have lost limbs is great – but how far before that becomes a mecha suit to enable 1 person to lift and move more than the ordinary person? And with online sellers like Amazon getting faster, smarter and in many ways more convenient it’s no surprise that we are seeing more and more empty high street shops.

So I’m sorry that I didn’t really know this person – and I guess this post will be the first this year where I may not have met the brief. But with seven billion people (approximately) on the planet, I guess I can’t know everyone!

Next Week: Annie Liebovitz

Marilyn Monroe (SIPGoes 53)

This week’s person is the famous actress and model Marilyn Monroe. In reading about her for this blog, I started to think that whilst it was clear she knew how she wanted to live her life, her experiences and internal issues probably made that route a lot more difficult – and of course at the time society’s views meant she was probably manipulated too.

I decided to focus on two classic images – the “skirt shot” and the Warhol image. Rather than use a standard Lego figure, I thought it was more appropriate to use a Friends mini-doll. Editing was undertaken in Pixlr on my tablet.

The first image was taken using my phone, I then cropped, applied the “sand” filter and the border.

For the second image, I took a closeup, edited the colours, then ran it through several filters before applying the collage that you see here.

Next week is Yuval Noah Harari.

Charles Darwin (SIPGoes53)

Charlie, no you can’t make a
Monkey out of me
This isn’t the planet of the apes
Its the nineteeth century!

Charlie Charlie Charlie
Now you stand accused
Of calling Victoria’s dad a chimp
And she is not amused!

  • “Charlie” by The Men that will not be blamed for nothing
“Are you saying my mother’s an ape, sir?”

Charles Darwin was born in 1809 and is most famous for his book “On the origin of the species by means of natural selection” which was at the time considered revolutionary and flew in the face of the “made in seven days” thinking that the church was proposing.

Rather than focus on the man, this time I thought I’d look at toy photography. In their collectible minifigures, the Librarian has a wonderful pun to Darwin’s book – “Oranges and Peaches”


The other reference that makes me smile is the cartoon “The Amazing World of Gumball”. Gumball, a 12-year old boy cat is accompanied by his best friend, an evolved fish called – yes, you guessed it – Darwin. And yes, there’s a toy! Personally, I love this joke in what I think is a cartoon series that is mostly wasted on children!

Next week is the blonde bombshell that is Marilyn Monroe!

Cleopatra (SIPgoes53)

Whilst there is no doubt that Cleopatra seems to have been an amazing person (you only have to read the Wikipedia page about her); however what I did wonder is how much of this is written from the side of the winners.

So whilst she was an Egyptian Queen, she was in fact Greek by birth. She became queen after her dad (Ptolemy XII) was exiled to Rome, her sister took the throne (and was killed) and managed to kill (or have killed) her brothers Ptolemy XIII and younger brother Ptolemy XIV with whom she was supposed to be joint ruler (at different times). She also managed in her time to have liaisons with Caesar (producing a son Caesarion (Ptolemy XV) and Mark Antony (having three children – Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II and Ptolemy Philadelphus).

[side note: when I was reading this, I so wanted to head into “made up” history, suggesting how Alexander Helios invented the helicopter, or Ptolemy Philadelphus travelled and found America…]

“come on in”

The history books tell us that she bathed in sour milk from donkeys (nope, still can’t bring myself to write asses’ milk 🙂 ) which is still known to be good for the skin.

What I did find interesting was the myth around her death.

When Octavian’s forces invaded Egypt in 30BC in the battle of Actium, defeating Antony, he and Cleopatra fled; Antony committed suicide and rather than than be brought to Rome by Octavian she committed suicide by poisoning – not from the bite of a snake as the myth holds.

Maybe it was just me, but as I read through the history of Cleopatra I perceived her life as being one of luck and chance – with a dash of psychosis. She was certainly a fascinating person!

Next week: Charles Darwin

JRR Tolkein (SIPgoes53)

For the next 53 weeks, the challenge will focus on a person and whilst I will learn a little about them, I will also endeavour to capture something about them in a toy photography image.

The first person in this challenge was the poet, artist, writer and linguist, John Ronald Reuel Tolkein (1892-1973). His story is quite fascinating, having lived through World War I (having only signed up once he had completed his degree), but it is probably his study of language that he is most famous for.

He learned Esperanto in 1909 – but in addition he invented many languages and codes; one of which he used in letters back home to his wife so she could follow where he was during the war!

Tolkein is best known for his stories in Middle Earth, The Hobbit published in 1936 and later Lord of the Rings, published between 1954 and 1955. LOTR is still considered one of the best works of fiction ever, taking the claim to be the “best novel ever” in a BBC poll in 2003. He did write many other books which were published after his death, including his translation of Beowulf (a published essay from 1936) .

For this week’s image, I decided to follow the obvious route of using Gollum holding “his precious”. Gollum appeared in both the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Formerly a hobbit called Smeagol, he was corrupted by the One Ring. Some scholars suggest that Gollum was inspired by Beowulf’s Grendel which would make sense given Tolkein’s efforts in translating that story.

Next week: Cleopatra.