Confessions of an AFOL – Part 1

While I was waiting for my iPod to charge up the other day, I decided to do something different. Instead of playing games, I decided to write about something that I have been thinking about a lot these past few days. Specifically those licensed sets Lego has released or is about to release: Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Simpsons, Dr. Who, Big Bang Theory, and Scooby Doo.

I have seen so much excitement towards these sets on Instagram that it has made me feel weird that I don’t feel any of that excitement myself. I even wrote about it on a friend’s picture as a comment, which I will repeat here:

“I only saw “Back to the Future” last year, and the only reason I watched it was because it got turned into a set and all the Lego community was so excited about it. Me? I was bored. I just couldn’t see what the fuss was all about. Thankfully, I made it till the end without sleeping, but by that time I was sure I was never getting that set.”

The only thing I remember about Ghostbusters is the theme song with the catchphrase “Who ya gonna call?”. Frankly the movie wasn’t that memorable. The Simpsons… gosh… as much as I love animation of all sorts, I just never warmed up to that family. The jokes seem cheap and I have never understood why people loved it so much. Maybe it’s a culture thing? As for Dr. Who – I stumbled upon it as I was going through the channels, and could only bear it for 15 minutes. It was THAT bad. I have never seen Big Bang Theory so I can’t comment on that one. Scooby Doo has the same level of stupidity for me as The Simpsons. In my opinion, it may be one of the worst animated series of its time.

Now, that brings me these questions: How and why? How is almost everyone in the Lego community so excited about these series and why am I not??! I get that everyone has different interests, that’s why there are so many different themes. I may like pirates and someone else likes space, or ninjas and so forth. But whenever the subject of one of the themes mentioned above comes up, everyone is like “Oh my God! I can’t believe they are really making this into a set!!” And that’s about the only thing I share with others: “I really can’t believe they are making that into a set!!”

I love anything related to Lego, so why do those new sets have no effect on me? Why don’t I get even a little bit excited? And don’t give me the “You’re getting old” excuse because I’m fine purchasing other sets and mini figures. I spoke to my father who is also a huge Lego and movie fan and neither of us was able to come up with any logical reasons.

I wish I could give you a conclusion, but I simply don’t have one; I wish I did. I would welcome your thoughts on this subject. Is there anyone else in our Lego community who feels the same way? I hope so. Otherwise I’m just one strange lady who’s babbling about stuff…

Pinar

PS: Special thanks to @ryanbabylon2929 for the inspiration and @lego_86 for getting me to confess 🙂

One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter - Henry David Thoreau
One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter – Henry David Thoreau

 

Dinoczars

 
 
Why do I take photographs of toys?
 
For me, it’s pretty simple. There is a very brief and special moment that sometimes happens in my toy photography. If I’ve done everything correctly, I obtain realism. At least, enough realism to make a viewer pause for a second, look a little closer and ask “how’d he do that?”
 
I am trying to show dinosaurs in a realistic way. That’s pretty much the only thing I am consistently trying to achieve with my artwork. That is my goal and what I view as most important over everything else. That is my own measure of a successful photograph.
 
As I see it, there are 6 key components of toy photography to achieve a strong level of realism. They are; perspective, composition, lighting, depth-of-field, contrast and colors. To strike a strong balance between them is difficult to do and rewarding to achieve. I attempt ‘realism’ quite often and feel successful at it frequently enough to keep enjoying the process.
 
I share my photos on instagram (@dinoczars) and have a number of enthusiastic followers there. I also try to sell prints of my best shots from time to time in art shows and on my easy store (www.etsy.com/shop/Dinoczars). But both the fans on IG and the sales aren’t my biggest motivators, I was shooting dinos before I was on IG and if the app crashed tomorrow, I would still be shooting dinos. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the positive reactions I get from people, and that certainly is a motivator, but ultimately, even if they all stopped paying attention to what I do, I’d still be doing it. Because I love dinosaurs and being able to recreate them in a believable way is a joy for me.
 
Why do I take photographs of toys?
 
I guess it boils down to this: I saw Jurassic Park at a very impressionable age and have been trying to bring dinosaurs back to life, in my own way, ever since.
 
 
 

Legojacker

The Poetry of the Streets

There is

a thrill to walking
the empty city
at dawn,
plastic hidden,
feeling the cold
biting your neck
racing the morning light
as it creeps over the tops
of the buildings.
There is a quiet
that follows
as you slip into
dirty laneways
dripping with
brightly coloured
street art,
and walls
plastered
in the scrawl
of invisible souls.
Choose a spot.
Choose a figure.
Shoot.
Repeat.
At first
you may not see
the poetry
of the streets
alive with toys,
but then it comes,
tiny drifting souls
echoing desperate
cries and laughter
among the everyday debris.
Solitary
back alley visits
shooting
unfeeling plastic
by the gram
to feel
a shared humanity
in a world
turning faceless
by the second.
~ Legojacker

East-Mountain

“Welding” by Christoffer Östberg

Why?

Why do I spend the majority of my free time photographing small pieces of colourful plastic?
I first tried the ultimate answer to any question and realized 42 wouldn’t cut it at all (although going Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with LEGO is definitely a challenge I have to visit someday, without panic). At first this question may have seemed easy enough and the answer self evident, but looking deeper, there’s nothing simple about it. What are our personal reasons for taking photographs? The answer is different for all of us. It can be as simple as love, a story that needs to be told, or a way to revisit childhood.
I have only been active in LEGO photography for a year now, and still my reasons have changed during this time.
My wife is a professional photographer and so I have always had her support and knowledge. I have also found many talented and inspiring photographers out there. Even though I have changed the way I photograph, Vesa Lethimäki will always stand as a source of inspiration. I promised always to challenge myself in photography and find new ways to play with these bricks, to cast away the innate limitations and bring them to life, sometimes with the help of the four elements. Especially close to my heart are those pictures involving fire and natural light. It’s about not having control of the situation, acting within a limited time frame with the camera to capture that which is unpredictable, be it fire, wind, water, or earth. What I appreciate about the unpredictable photographs is that they capture a moment in time, impossible or almost impossible to reproduce, triggering a realistic cinematic feeling.
Alexander Rodchenko said, “One has to take several different shots of a subject, from different points of view and in different situations, as if one examined it in the round rather than looked through the same key-hole again and again.” There are endless perspectives on the simplest of objects, and all of them tell a different story.
But there are other reasons besides the joy of drowning figures or setting them on fire. The main reason still stands: I am a father of two kids who love playing and being creative with LEGO. Much inspiration is drawn from them; the imaginary mind of the young knows no boundaries.
I found that even though I strive to make all photographic effects in front of the camera, with as little post-processing as possible, my goal now, almost a year later, is to express my emotional response to the scene. This has led me to modify the image captured by the camera. If I did not alter the image, I would be showing what the camera captured, not what I saw and felt in my head. Even so, I still work more with the camera rather than post-production software.
There is a story behind every image, and it is a great feeling when my family and I decide to frame one of them and hang it on the wall. The images may seem uninteresting to people, but to me they are a reminder of what ideas spawned in my mind and what emotion stirred them to life.
So why do I keep doing this, day in and day out, sacrificing sleep and mental health. I think George Bernard Shaw said it best: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.I don’t want to grow old.

“Mono Wheel” by Christoffer Östberg

“River Crossing” by Christoffer Östberg