SIP 28 – Fairness

I quite enjoyed thinking about this week’s challenge word – unlike words such as equality this is a slightly more “grey” word as what we consider fair is often tempered by a compromise agreement. “Why can’t I have three sausages for my dinner like my dad?” “Because he’s much bigger than you.” “Oh, that’s fair.”

So this week, I’ve gone with only two images to respond to this.  The first is very much along the lines of what I just said – it’s only fair that you share the scooter with your sister…

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and the new series of Unikitty collectable mini figures:

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This second one was more of an opportunity – in the previous collectable series, LEGO put only one policeman figure in the box of 60; consequently it was commented that some store employees were opening the box and removing that one figure (because they could then sell it for more on the second hand market). But even for the others, if you knew what you were feeling for you could get the ones you wanted.  But the Unikitty series had similar bricks so even with feeling you would still only get it down to “possibly one of three” – a much more fair and level playing field – if you are happy with the fact that if it’s not the one you wanted you will have to spend more on another blind bag.  Personally, I’m not a great fan of blind bags anyway and I’m fortunate that I know a store that will pre-sort so everyone can get the ones that they want (or they can go lucky dip as well).


Anyways, that’s fairness covered.  Next week – Balance.


SIP 27 – Power

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Power can be the physical provision – and as we can see, quite useful when you’re running low on energy!

But my images for this week are more political in nature – where influence over events and people can be made through power – whether that is directly or indirectly.  A menacing person can make you feel that you have no option but to do something..

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however power can be directed through exactly the opposite – making a stand can be the catalyst for a change in power.

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Power can also by mystical and mythical – dark arts and magic

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Images in themselves can be powerful – should we introduce gun control into our toys?

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and of course, some images can be powerful in themselves… why isn’t he paying for the artwork?

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Finally we can decide what the best course of action may be – whether that is hope for the future, or protesting the immediate situation.

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SIP 26 – Quality

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Interesting word, quality. The dictionary definition goes along the lines of “the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something” (Oxford dictionary), but in business (and for me, project management) the definition is ” being suitable for its intended purpose (fitness for purpose) while satisfying customer expectations.”

The reason for the text book definitions here is simple.  We think of LEGO as a quality product, with tolerances for clutch control being vigorously maintained resulting in a product that reflects the degree of excellence that is not met on other products.  However, if we look at the business version, the LEGO product, whilst meeting its brief, goes well beyond that of “play well” – so it could be argued that (in business terms) it is over engineered.  Using the second definition, all the clone / variant toys might well  meet their quality standards (which may include phrases like, cheap, simple..)

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That Minion is really very dodgy! but the oxford soldier with the bendable knees – that’s a neat addition to the figure!

I think for this week, I have to go with my first image as meeting the brief.  Interestingly perhaps, this is the second version of the photograph, as I noticed as I was editing the picture that I had something on his arm – which only really stood out when I looked closely!

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All this talk of quality (or rather Quali-tea) reminded me of my favourite joke on the subject: Why did Karl Marx only drink coffee?  Because he thought all proper tea was theft!

Next week: Power

SIP 25 – Action

Generally when photographer’s talk about “action” images, they are referring to some form of dynamic image, where movement is captured in a single click.  This might be, for example, the motorbike taking a corner at Druids Bend at Brands Hatch, where the bike is clear and crisp but all around is a blur.

But Action (as a noun) is just doing something – which could include just sitting still and meditating – which isn’t the most exiting, but a good introduction for toy photography on this subject.

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Toy photography has it’s own challenge here in that the subject matter will be (typically) stationary, requiring some sort of editing to show any movement.  Here’s William and Benjamin mid fight:

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The only way I could endeavour to show movement (that leg moving upwards) would be to edit the picture and start blurring parts to fool the viewer into thinking that there is movement.  I decided not to… because Action can also mean films and movies.

This is the more “easy” approach, as with simple setting up you can capture a “film still” and imply the action that’s about to happen:

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Make my day!
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“Hey you!”
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… and ACTION!

There’s still a need to carefully place the figures and ensure that the focus is correct (on the first, the focus is the gun, the second we take the hazmat guys and in the last it’s the clapper board) and in all cases, the action is implied as coming next.

next week: Quality.  This could be a challenge!

SIP 24 – Hope

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This week’s challenge word is HOPE, and perhaps I am a child of my own generation, but the only thing that could really come to mind was this now infamous piece of Sci-Fi film.  Fortunately I did have the two characters in my collection that I could re-use (I very nearly got rid of many of the Star Wars figures in my attempt to radically downsize).

What was interesting for me this week wasn’t the subject of hope (perhaps more on that in a little while) but my thoughts when I realised the above would be the image for this week.  You see, earlier in the week my boss had made a comment about “wessells”, apparently for my benefit.  As I’d been knee deep in aligning spreadsheets at the time I may have been curt, but once he had explained it was a Star Trek reference I had to admit that I didn’t really like Star Trek, or Star Wars, something he found a bit weird (obviously I give off that kind of vibe.  Must be because I work in IT). As with so many things, this dominated my thinking for the next couple of days.

I know I have many interests, and they do touch on Star Trek (and perhaps very, very, very lightly on Star Wars), but I have friends who are very much into these things and have a way bigger interest than I do.  I hadn’t picked up on the Star Trek reference and had to google it, so if you weren’t aware it was a reference to Checkov from the ORIGINAL Star Trek (because let’s face it there is the original, the next generation, the Captain Archer one, Deep Space 9… err, oh, plus the eight? films).  I saw the original Star Wars film, I think I may have seen the second but it’s all a little hazy… mainly because at that time I was starting to work through the many films of Mr Arnold Schwarzenegger, including Cactus Jack (1979) and Hercules in New York (1970) (the latter which features a brilliant and silly car chase including squealing tyres… across a grassed park). And a reference to something that you only have a passing interest for isn’t necessarily something that you would automatically pick up on.


Anyway, hope. I did think of a couple of other images this week, but they were all on a similar theme, or on a cross-over with “Prayers” and “Wishes” such as “I hope my phone doesn’t run out of power”. Sometimes you just have to go with a good idea.  At least, I hope it was a good idea!

Next week: Action



SIP 23 – Surprise

This week’s challenge word is Surprise.  It could be the impromptu visit of the in-laws whilst you and your significant other weren’t expecting you… or it could be the present on your birthday of thing you always wanted.  Anyway, surprises can be fun, scary or mysterious.

And as a special surprise, there’s not many words to this blog – just enjoy the pictures.

Next week – Hope.

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What’s in the box? WHAT’S IN THE BOX???!!!!
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He’s behind you!!!
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Forming a chi ball

(I included this last image into the group because I was surprised at how well it came out!  I studied Tai Chi for many years, and it was always felt really cool how your mind and body could project a ball of energy if the will is strong enough.  I thought that this simple image projected that really well!)

SIP 22 – Honesty

When thinking about this week’s seed, honesty, my initial reaction was to go to the very atypical image of Abraham Lincoln and the cherry tree. “I cannot tell a lie”, honest Abe is reported to have said, “but I cut down the tree”.

Except it would seem that this could be a complete myth as only source for this came from an unnamed neighbour, ten years after Lincoln’s death (source:  This then got me thinking about Scouts.

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“I found it. And the tree was already like that.”

Interestingly again perhaps, the Scout Law, the cornerstone for good behaviour, does not include a Scout Law about being honest.  Trusted, loyal, friendly and considerate… but not honest (

To some extent, this isn’t a surprise. Being a considerate person may mean saying things to not hurt people’s feelings (or not saying anything at all).  When I taught canoeing, a favourite question of young people on our trips was “how much further is it?”. On one regular trip the river wound round the base of a hill – with the result that the end was only a mile at most “as the crow flies”… the river route was another four.  My response, “just round the bend” was factually correct, but not wholly honest… I knew how long that bend was going to be.

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“That’s a very bold look…”

This week I managed to get hold of the new Lego collectible minifigures – the Unikitty range. These figures neatly fit into this blog post.

Lego have released several of these collectible minifigure ranges now – and certainly for many they are designed as “blind packaging” – you are not supposed to know what you are buying so it’s a “fun” challenge to get the one(s) you want. You may know where I’m going to go with this.

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“That’s a hat… or a briefcase… or a tail.”

The “morally honest” people will just take a bag, pay for it and later find out what they have bought later.  But as these are collectible figures, many will feel the bags to work out what the contents may be.  It is interesting that there are many other blind bags out there that have further disguised their contents by wrapping them in the sealed bag, or putting them in a box.  I used the words “morally honest” here because for Lego, these figures are pocket money prices… so effectively they are hoping that children will empty their piggy banks repeatedly in the hope that they may get the figure that they actually wanted.  Ultimately, the company is hoping that children won’t find the ones they want so they’ll keep coming back.  And for adults, who may have slightly more “flexible morals” their challenge is made harder by having only one of a figure in a box of 60 (the policeman in the last series)

Perhaps the playing field has been exposed a little more with the Unikitty series. Of the twelve figures,  two are cats sitting, six are cats standing and four are dogs standing. You can tell the cat from the dog by feeling for the tail (dogs have a ball, cats have a weird tail) and sitting cats by feeling for a lego slope brick.  Apart from that, it is all on the printing – so for those collecting them they will have to do so by paying aftermarket prices through resellers who will have determined the contents.

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Which will you get?

In terms of photography for the challenge, I think my favourite must be the Scouts.


Next week is Surprise.  Which could be fun!


Image credits:

The Scout was bought on eBay, the Scout Leader was a custom print by  The Axe was made by V&A Steamworks as part of a Kickstarter campaign.  The Log is a standard Lego offering, the upright trunk was bought through

“All you need is love” torso from

All other elements and parts by Lego.

Backgrounds were by Walker Books (part of the animation kit) and Kanban artscapes.


All images taken with the Samsung S9+ and cropped using Google Picasa 3.