“You have to out-create the destruction – it’s the only way.”

Tori Amos

It was a fluke, really, this whole photographing LEGO Minifigures thing. You see, I didn’t know what I was doing. But I started putting a LEGO stormtrooper in my pocket before leaving the house every day. I named him Larry.

The funny thing about Larry is that he’s a stormtrooper, right? He’s a soldier so he doesn’t show emotion and he’s part of the Empire, the bad guys. Except I gave Larry a backstory. He’s no longer in the employ of the Imperials. Sometimes the perceived bad guys are just in a bad situation, but they can break out of it. They can question authority and think for themselves. Once Larry understood the ideals of the Empire, he chose not to be a part of that. He chose to get out. So he defected and now he has this heavy heart, holding a piece of himself close: that beam of a stray light, that filament of a spark that no one can douse.

“Your mind has been divided from your soul/Now you say you are that stranger on your shore” – Reindeer King, Tori Amos

Once he started traveling with me, I’d take him out and sit him on my desk at work. He became my work guardian. He got into all sorts of trouble, like using various computer wires as a swinging gym of sorts, while I was delving deep into data architecture. He wasn’t the best worker and I would often catch him with his blaster lying by his side and a coffee cup in his hand instead. He would even venture to take off his helmet on occasion, while I was toiling away staring at the computer screen writing code. Truth be told, he had a bit of a bad attitude. I mean it was a workplace, I can’t blame him, and coding requirements can be so fickle. But, he was finally coming out of his shell, his armor, his displacement in the world.

This isn’t my order. I asked for a triple cap, nonfat, one-pump, no-whip, mocha…with a shot of vanilla.

So I decided to take him out more often, to better places. Like the streets of Santa Monica and the private gardens of my neighbors’ houses. No one was bothered…much. Well, except that one woman who came out of her house to make sure I wasn’t stealing something. Or that coffee shop guy who wondered why I was putting a LEGO Minifigure in a succulent plant and taking a photo of it. Okay, so we got some weird looks, Larry and I.

Weekend Getaway

But it was fun. I would have these little conversations with my stormtrooper and translate them into photos. He’s a deep thinker, Larry. Maybe you didn’t know that about him. He’s concerned with climate change, immigration, healthcare, gun control, women’s rights, and well, ice cream. But beneath his tough armor and stoic behavior, the little guy is also a bit of a jokester (I refer you to the computer wires above).


Okay, so Larry might be me (Sans Imperials-I’ve always been a rebel; just ask my parents!): an extension of myself I can add into the world at various heights and locales, and unburden my worries, wants, and waning heart. I photograph Minifigures because I need to make sense of the current state of the world while also keeping myself sane. Having a defected stormtrooper by your side helps ground you. He lets me know I can make a transformation, I can combat hate in this all too encompassing atmosphere of a rising imperial regime. Art makes a difference.

Besides, what else am I going to do with all of these LEGO Minifigures?

Dancing Larry

18 thoughts on “Out-Create”

  1. I think we all need to thank Larry for bringing us your wonderful photos. What a lovely way to unburden your worries. Thanks Larry!

  2. What a beautiful story Julie! I always love your photos of Larry and now that I know the story behind him, I’ll enjoy them even more. I agree with you about LEGO photography helping to keep us sane in this crazy world. I also find that minifigs, with their cute, smiling faces can cheer me up on a sad day.

    Great post!


    1. Thank you, Lynn! I’m so glad you enjoyed Larry’s story. He has many more tales to tell. 🙂 Glad to hear you share in my self-prescribed LEGO photography therapy: keeping us sane, one minifigure at a time.

  3. I have to agree with Lynn, this is a really beautiful story. I think that Larry is a gentle soul as are you Julie. Keep fighting the good fight, because we are all in this together. Keep Larry safe on all his amazing adventures!! xo

    1. Thank you, Shelly. Larry is definitely a gentle soul. And don’t worry, he has his very own special pouch to keep him safe. 🙂 #RESIST

  4. Reading this lovely story is so cool. I’ve seen and loved your Larry photos, but I wondered what your impulse was. You continue to astound me.

    1. Thank you, mom! What a surprise to see your comment here! Thank you to you and dad for fostering my rebel spirit. 😉

  5. I’m glad to see Larry has his priorities right. Ice cream (I’ve also seen him support chocolate) is an important issue; just ask Ben and Jerry.
    Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself through Larry.

  6. The story of Larry, the story of you is a wonderful one. I can relate to the escape… I’m glad Larry escaped your desk and I enjoy his and your adventures weekly.

    Thanks for sharing and being a friend.

    1. Thank you, Jason! Maybe Larry and your AT-ATs can escape to a beach location for some R and R. Thanks for reading and being a great friend and source of inspiration. 🙂

  7. #TeamLarry, all the way! And #TeamJulie, for breathing so much life into the little guy! Here’s to more of your adventures – it’s a gift to get to tag along!!

    1. Thank you, Ryan! Yay #TeamLarry! Thanks for riding along on our adventures; it makes it worthwhile to share them with you. 🙂

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