First off, I’d like to introduce myself; In the real world, my name is Danny. Yet, ever since my first steps on the Internet – somewhere in early nineties – I am Dwaas. I am the keeper of foolishlego.com, the home of my Lego photography and webcomic. ‘Foolish Lego’ and Dwaas are special to me. Both partly born out of the feeling of wanting to escape (or make sense of) reality and for the other part born out of wanting to share stories.
Have you ever felt the desire to do something whilst knowing you just couldn’t do it? I used to feel like that. I had many shards of stories in my mind; images, words of wisdom (or quite the opposite), small scenes, undefined thoughts, etc.
As a kid, I got the ideas out of my head by playing in my own little childhood world. As an adult that world broadened and I couldn’t figure out how to give my ideas form anymore; I’m not a gifted writer, nor can I draw any good. I tried a personal blog (in Dutch), talking about all kinds of things that were on my mind but it just wasn’t it.
Then, in late 2012, I ran into the brilliant site of a guy called “Dan of Action”, one of the Lego photography pioneers. Actually, I think he might have been the first one to do a Lego 365-project (go check it out!) and I instantly loved his brilliant work! At that precise moment, everything came together.
This was it! The perfect way to express myself besides being fun. Furthermore, I finally found a use for my Lego collection and this was the perfect opportunity to do something with my photography. Up until then, my camera was only collecting dust mainly because I had no inspiration for photography. Also, I was convinced I sucked at photography and didn’t make the time to learn. I’ve been told It’s always easier to learn something if you know where you’re going. Now I had found that goal!
I stopped thinking and just started. To put the bar up high and force myself to search for inspiration I decided to do a 365. In the real world, it’s easy for me to simply ‘forget’ to relax, a heavy workload as a medical specialist can do that to you. So, to give me some extra pressure to keep going and prevent life from getting in my way, the 365 would have to be a public one. January 1st 2013 felt like the perfect starting date and so it began.
A 365 turned out to be more challenging than I expected. Overall, shooting one photo per day was okay. Yet, there were the busy days and stress was detrimental to my inspiration. Looking back through my photo’s I instantly recognize the uninspired ones. Other challenges were vacations and business-trips. My minifigs travelled the world with me; Nepal, Turkey, The U.S., etc. By the way, I t was always a fun moment watching the looks on the faces of customs-people at the airports, pulling the bag filled to the brim with minifigs out of my hand luggage.
Despite the challenges I (mostly) absolutely loved doing a 365! So much that at the (first) end I had completed a 730! I learned so much. A lot of technical stuff about photography & cinematography, and about all kinds of communities (a. o. Lego, photography, Lego-comics and toy-photographers). I learned photoshop, which also comes in handy in other areas these days. I also learned Lego-photography relaxed me, dissolved irritations and put some issues in perspective. Besides, it forced me to take time for my hobbies; It’s quite nice to only worry about a photo for a short time each day. I learned about how other people looked at me, always surprising to see people laugh at first, eventually becoming intrigued and quite impressed. I learned to see small, secret worlds within the world we live in. Also, I learned about myself. Each photo shows something of myself and I noticed that if I combine a couple of (recurring) characters on Foolish Lego… well… they are me!
Lastly, I learned about telling a story within a single photo, loving the fact that many of my photos can be interpreted in different ways. Nevertheless, these fragments or sparks of stories within the single photos weren’t enough for me. More on that a next time.