Vesa Lehtimäki (Avanaut)
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?!
Just last week Shelly wrote about stealing like an artist. And I’ve written about shooting someone’s shtick before. Continue reading There’s Snow Business Like Snow Business
I know that I disqualified myself at the beginning of this challenge. when I said I have tried this before and that I didn’t make it. But my past experience didn’t stop me thinking that this time would be a success. Yesterday I decided to give the challenge my best try. I started by telling my twelve-year-old son that I was going to make an exact copy of the picture “Guys? Hey, guys? This ain’t funny! Guys, where are you? HELLO?” by Vesa Lehtimäki. It’s a picture that I really like. My son looked at me and smiled, looked at Vesa Lehtimäki’s pictures and responded, “You will never make it. You will never do the same picture. I know you, you will do your own picture and it will look like yours.” I smiled back at him and said, “I’ll give it a try…” Continue reading My attempt to make an exact copy became a homage!
I have been taking a trip down memory lane on twitter and posting blog entries from a year ago. I ran across one from last March where we asked if anyone wanted to join us and the silence was defining. But that didn’t stop Me2 and myself.
We have grown our community one blog post and one amazing photographer at a time.
One thing we have not talked a lot about on the blog is selling our work. Our ultimate goal is to create a self sustaining loop of creators and collectors of amazing toy photography. Since photography is easily reproduced the concept of editions is an important one to address.
All three of us, Boris, Vesa and myself, came to our edition numbers in very different ways. But each of us wanted to create a unique object that both the collector and the creator would know has immediate and sustained value.
Much of Vesa’s work flow is limited by his creative work process and his day job. Many of his photographs are created for and owned by his clients. Because of these restraints he decide to edition his seven prints for sale in editions of three. This certainly makes his amazing images all the more appealing.
Boris is also limited by time and his creative process so I was surprised when he decided to sell his works as one of a kind prints. Once that amazing piece “The Dark Knight” (see above) is sold, there will be no other. In a world that is inundated by photographic images this really creates a special and very dramatic statement. My hat is off to Boris for creating work for the discriminating collector.
I also decided to sell my work as one of a kind pieces. I tend to be rather prolific in my shooting, but only a rare few will ever make it to a gallery wall. Unlike Vesa, who is approaching his work as a cinematographer, I approach my work as a painter. I want my works to be experienced as you would a painting and selling them as unique images seems to get to the heart of that concept.
We have no idea what the future will hold for our little collective; certainly the work and the show has been well received. But will that be enough to inspire us to continue? I have no idea. I am hopefull that a few brave souls will step forward and help us begin to build that amazing collector creator loop that we all dream of.
In Lego, we Connect runs through April 11th. If you get a chance I hope you will stop by the gallery to see the work in person. It is a rare opportunity to see this work as it was always intended, large and impeccably printed.
Opening night is an evening that is both dreaded and anticipated by any artist. I spent much of last week ignoring opening night (denial is not just a river in Egypt), but the appointed time did arrive and we all made our way to the Bryan Ohno Gallery.
I am not going to bore with my ramblings on what was a fast paced evening and a blur of people stopping by to see the show. But I will share with you a few photos from the amazing Jim Bennett who was kind enough to photograph the evening’s festivities for us. You know what they say…a picture is worth a thousand words.
The show continues through April 11th; I hope you will get a chance to see the work in person. I know I speak for all three of us when I say we are very proud of what we created.
One of the events that we organized around the opening of In LEGO, We Connect was the Saturday afternoon photo walk at Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. Originally this was going to be an event aimed at meeting up with existing Instagram friends, but we opened it up to anyone who was interested. This ended up being a terrific decision.
The photo walk was a great way to avoid the inevitable let down that occurs after a major event, like a gallery opening. It was good to keep busy engaged in the craft that we all love – photographing toys. Doing it with friends was an added bonus. Eventhough I have engaged in this activity before, most notably the Epic Las Vegas Toy Photo Safari, I believe it was a relatively new activity for Boris and Vesa. They appeared to jump right in and had a great time
Since this event was publicly advertised we had a few new recruits who embraced the whole concept with gusto. It was so much fun seeing local rock photographers Sunita and Stephanie, as well as 16yo Cameron and 10yo Ava get down and dirty with their toys as if they had been doing it forever. According to Ava’s mom, Ava felt it was the best day ever, getting to photograph along side the “big dogs”. Even though Sunita and Stephanie didn’t bring any toys along, there was plenty to share. Toys were arranged, photographed and borrowed through out the afternoon.
It was a beautiful sunny day on Puget Sound and there were plenty of smiles to go around as everyone enjoyed the fun that only photographing toys with friends can provide.
A personal highlight for me, beyond mentoring Cameron and Ava, was watching Avanaut walk off with my newest raptor to take a few photos. Not exactly what I would have expected from the king of Star Wars Lego photography, but I am looking forward to seeing the results.
As the past weeks excitment fades into a distant dream, I know that any feelings of depression are going to be mitigated as I begin the process of editing all the photos I took throughout the week. I am also looking forward to taking a few of these new converts out on another toy photo adventure and continue to grow our community well into the future.
Feel free to contact me if you want to arrange a photo walk here in Seattle. I’m always up for a toy photo safari.
When this blog started it was party of two, just Me2 and myself. Then we invited Avanaut to join us a few months ago for a variety of reasons, our upcoming group show for one. But let’s be clear, it is very hard on my ego to be sharing a blog with Avanaut. After his post yesterday that revealed the level of detail he is willing to explore to capture a photo, this was both humbling and intimidating.
I have never shied away from a challenge and this one is no different. I like that fact that Avanaut keeps the bar raised high; it keeps me reaching and striving for my own version of an incredible photograph. I will continue to push myself so that in my own eyes, we stand on equal footing.
I know I have come along way since I started on my own journey several years ago as a toy photographer. When I first ran across Avanaut’s work I didn’t even know what toy photography was. I was merely a distant admirer in awe of what he was able to accomplish with forced perspective, Lego and some baking powder. It makes my head spin a little to know that in just a few months I will be sharing wall space in a gallery with one of the people who has been a major influence.
Will my work be able to stand up to the inevitable comparison? Probably not, but I am not worried. We are each on our own journey that makes sense for our individual needs; and this is how it should be. Avanaut strives to capture a specific world, to bring a beloved movie to life, to recreate and understand that world in all its complexity. While I am on a journey to discover the world I live in. I want to understand my own humanity and I seem to have found the perfect vehicle in the lowly Lego mini figure.
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” ~ William Shakespeare
If you are new to Stuck in Plastic, please take a moment and look around; I hope you will like what you find. If you are already a fan of Stuck in Plastic, thank you for your continued support!
One of our goals here at Stuck In Plastic (#stuckinplastic) is to create opportunities to show toy photography away from a computer or hand held device and place it squarely on the walls of fellow fans, board rooms, coffee shops and galleries alike.
To that end I am pleased to announce the very first Stuck In Plastic exhibition which we just branded for now #stuckinplastic: The Exhibition.
And yes we want YOU to come and celebrate our very first art exhibition in my hometown with us.
In fact if you are able to make the opening we will all three be in attendance (yes, these two Nordic dudes are coming over to this side of the pond).
Showing my work with these two gentleman is a sincere honor, and the additional opportunity to meet them…well lets just say 2015 is looking very bright indeed.
We will be talking about this exhibition periodically between now and March 5th as our plans take shape and offcourse we are interested in your views, so stay tuned !
I hope you will take time out of your busy schedule and meet up with us for the opening reception on the 5th (or at least help us spread the word). It would be wonderful to turn this into a mini meet up and show the world and beyond (or at least Seattle for now) that we are a force to be reckoned with.
My sincere hope is that this is a grand success so that we can travel #stuckinplastic: The Exhibition to a town near you, add a few more members, and continue to grow this movement.
|Our very first picture we posted here on Stuck In Plastic.|
|“The First Attempt” by Avanaut|
Why do I take photographs of Lego? That is a question that took me by surprise a couple of weeks ago. I realized I had never asked myself that question before. Finding the answer was not easy, and it took a brief conversation with my wife for me to see it.
I am photographing Lego because I am a never-was movie director making a living outside the movie industry. That’s what my wife said, and it pretty much sums it up. See, I always loved movies. Star Wars, obviously, was huge, but many others as well, classics and contemporary. As a kid I made some movies myself with my dad’s Super-8 film camera, but film was expensive and my dad did not allow me to hack the camera’s filmport to produce a widescreen format picture. My movies were not very good; a widescreen wouldn’t have improved them, but still. I would build miniature sets and models to shoot, but the miserable camera could not focus on anything, since it had no macro. I grew up watching great movies and reading all about them. As a teenager I subscribed to Starlog, Cinemagic, and Cinefantastique. Cinefex, Premiere and Empire came along a little later. I’m soaked with that stuff; it’s in my DNA. I sometimes dream in 2.39:1.
That was a long time ago.
When I stumbled into photographing Lego Star Wars in 2009, I quickly connected to those times when I dreamed of making movies. I soon incorporated into the photos many of the cinematic ideas I had toyed with in my youth: widescreen, smoke, aerial particles, snow, blizzards, tight closeups and stories — the short stories that I like to write to go with the photos. I think this through via cinema; even my “Leftovers & Alternatives” album in Flickr is allegoric to a DVD “deleted scenes” extra. Lego is a perfect medium for all this. It’s playful, and there’s so much to choose from. You can have a minifigure on a piece of a coloured paper and still make a strong photo with that; yet there’s everything from a coffee cup to the Death Star to add, if you like.
This soon became a sort of creativity outlet, a free turf to express ideas I could not use in my day job as an illustrator. I see my photographs as single-frame plays I can write, produce, direct and shoot, but with characters and concepts I grew up with. In a way, I’m exploring an unfulfilled career path, but with Lego and present day tools, like the DSLR camera. It’s old but it’s new. It’s perfect!
~ Vesa Lehtimäki
|“Breaking in the Tauntaun (Revised & Rejected) by Avanaut|
|“Last Ship to Rendezvous Point” by Avanaut|