During a conversation, that grew from a comment on Google+, I was invited to attempt another artist’s style; an invitation to ‘steal like an artist’ and a chance to ‘shoot someone’s shtick’!

“It’s fun. Wanna join and do some too?” ~ Vesa

Yeah right! I really want to attempt an Avanaut-esque snow scene? Like I’m capable of replicating one of his snow spectacles?!

Shtick: Iced coffee, again!

Iced coffee, again!

Just last week Shelly wrote about stealing like an artist. And I’ve written about shooting someone’s shtick before.

There’s an added layer of respect when shooting someone’s shtick. Wanting to do them justice adds weight to the photography process. This added weight pushes beyond the normal process; it adds more, in a constructive way. It’s the burden of respect that adds another facet to the tribute that’s created; a homage to their shtick. 

This invitation was the perfect opportunity to steal correctly and attempt someone’s shtick the right way.

Shtick: "Yes Orr'UrRuuR'R, your hot chocolate IS delicious, but your sense of direction is terrible!"

“Yes Orr’UrRuuR’R, your hot chocolate IS delicious, but your sense of direction is terrible!”

After his invitiation, I was tempted to ask Vesa for some tips on creating snow. But you should never ask a magician how they perform their tricks! Or is it that you can ask, but a magician never reveals their secrets? Maybe it’s never look a gift magician in the mouth? It’s like looking for a magician’s secrets in a haystack?

I could talk about mixed metaphors until the cows turn blue in the face, but it did remind me of a quote by Dean Learner from Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.

“An eagle-eyed viewer might be able to see the wires. A pedant might be able to see the wires. But I think if you’re looking at the wires you’re ignoring the story. If you go to a puppet show you can see the wires. But it’s about the puppets; it’s not about the string. If you go to a Punch & Judy show and you’re only watching the wires, you’re a freak.”
~ Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

The Punch & Judy Show

So with Dean’s wise words in mind, I set out to ignore the wires and focus on the story. Well, I decided to discover my own wires and not ask the puppet master if he could lend me his.

In the past I’ve tried flour to replicate snow, but it always looked too dry and seemed to photograph with a yellowish tinge? Sure, that yellow could be corrected in post, but adding moisture? Nah!

Shtick: "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with..." "Say 's' again. Say 's' again, I dare you, I double dare you monkeyfighter, say 's' one more goddamn time!"

“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…”
“Say ‘s’ again. Say ‘s’ again, I dare you, I double dare you monkeyfighter, say ‘s’ one more goddamn time!”

In my search for wires I came across a few recipes for snow combining baking soda with shaving cream or hair conditioner. It’s hardly surprising that there wasn’t any shaving cream in my home, so I opted for hair conditioner.

That’s the trick, that’s the trick
I can’t believe that you’re falling for it
That’s the fear, feel it grow
Shatters the ground as it comes from below
Red Fang – Malverde

That’s The Trick

Starting with some baking soda in a bowl, I slowly added the conditioner (it MUST be white in colour!) mixing it until it became the consistency I was after. Amazingly, this Frankenstein snow was even cool to the touch!

Cold inner emptiness inspire?
Substitutes dilate, instantly fried.
Damaged – Dust

After spooning the snow onto a plate, setting the Minifigures in position I gave the whole scene a light dusting of dry baking soda though a sieve, and voila!

Shtick: California Dreamin'

California Dreamin’

The glowing jack-o-lantern required a little bit more work. I made a tube of silver cardboard, made a hole in an upturned plastic takeaway container, inserted the tube, and placed my phone with the flash/torch shining up the tube under the container. I then added the snow and placed the jack-o-lantern over the cardboard light tube.

Shtick: This curse I cast, you're Pumpkinhead!

This curse I cast, you’re Pumpkinhead!

Being invited to play in the snow by Vesa challenged me to not only create my own snow, but it also tested me in how I’d approach shooting an Avanaut-esque scene.

Shtick: "Come they told me, pa rum pum pum kin..."

“Come they told me, pa rum pum pum kin…”

I decided not to set the wires just as he does. Actually, my puppet show was more finger-puppets than marionettes! I played in Avanaut’s wintry wonderland, my way.

But, isn’t that how a homage should be?

Shtick: Scorchio!


I’d like to credit Avanaut as the inspiration for these photos, and also thank him for inviting me to come and play in the snow with him. Thank you Vesa.

 – Brett

Have you ever shot someone’s shtick? What new tricks have you discovering whilst paying homage to someone?

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