Little Figs in the Big Smoke

We live somewhat rural and very coastal. Rolling hills of grazing land meet low, wind-stunted heathland atop crumbling sandstone and vivid ochre cliffs that pierce the ocean-pummeled sand below.

Our neighbours are horses, cows and kangaroos. Our gas is bottled, our water tanked, our roads gravel and our television reception erratic.

Bumbling bumpkin

Bumbling bumpkin

Any time of any year
Be on the farm just drinkin’ beer
Long live Massey Ferguson!
Cosmic Psychos – Down on the Farm

So, when this country boy makes the one and half hour trip to the Big Smoke for the #brickstameet Lego photography tour of Melbourne’s CBD, there’s an associated raft of emotions that also make the journey.

There’s anxiety. I’m not anxious about being in the city. It’s more an uneasiness that creeps in along the trek towards the city’s skyline that I might’ve packed the wrong Lego to shoot. Not shooting with an urban backdrop often, I tend to over pack for such outings. I’m blessed to live near some amazing beaches. I know them. I know what will work there. Packing for a photo trip down at the beach is easy. Dewbacks? Check. Tusken Raiders? Check. CMF Shark Suit Guys? Check. CMF Egyptian Queen, Pharaoh, Ocean King, Sailor? Check, check, check and check. And even if I forget someone, they’re only a short car drive away. Or there’s always tomorrow.


Selecting Lego to take to an unfamiliar environment isn’t as easy. What will work? Will the perceived locations I think I’ll find be as I’ve imagined? What colours will work best against the urban tones of concrete, steal and glass? What if I forget someone? What if I stumble upon the perfect setting for a photo using the Hazmat Guy but I’ve left him at home? Actually, bad example, he comes on all trips with me, but you get the point. Hence, I over pack and a whole bunch of minifigures never get used. They’re just treated to a lovely little day trip to the city. They probably deserve the break.


Cow Chow

I also feel unshackled. I find the crowds quite liberating. It’s easy to become anonymous is a sea of people. At home, the chances of encountering someone I know whilst lying in the sand snapping Lego is quite high. Be it a parent of one of our kids’ friends, someone from the pub, that guy I met at the local footy that time, a close friend or someone who’ll simply do a double take because we’ve met before somewhere and then triple, or even quadruple, take to see what the heck it is I’m doing with toys at the beach, it’s hard to find solitude in a small town.

Whereas, I can confidently lie on the concrete in the city, knowing that the likelihood of someone I know recognising me is fairly remote. There’s a notable brashness that accompanies anonymity. There’s a willingness to take risks that wouldn’t otherwise be taken. There’s a willingness to take your time to get that perfect shot. The rapid “set up, click, get up” before someone I know sees me tactic isn’t there nagging away as lay below the rushing crowds. What do I care if a stranger sees me? Plus, I can always place my upturned cap beside me as I take each photo, call it ‘performance art’ and probably busk my way to a free couple of beers at lunchtime!

Let’s take you back to the concrete streets
Original beats with real live MCs
Playground tactics
No rabbit in a hat tricks
Jurassic 5 – Concrete Schoolyard

Ultimately, there is a genuine excitement at the thought of lying on and shooting with concrete.

No grass stained knees for me. No emptying sand from out turned pockets for days after.

As well as saving some of our precious tank water (remember I mentioned that?) not washing dirtied clothes, there’s the added bonus of getting to shoot in an unfamiliar setting. It’s an opportunity to shoot outside my comfort zone. And isn’t this something we should all do from time to time? It’s easy to become a little too comfortable in our own approaches. I should know; I’ve been that guy. I spent so long, maybe too long, shooting indoors, never entertaining the thought of stepping out the front door to take Lego photos, let alone off the property. But I did.

And now that I’ve branched out from what was my usual, the idea of setting out to photograph Lego amidst the crowded streets of Melbourne fills me with an excited anticipation for the unusual.

So, if the thought of seeing a country boy lying on concrete, agog with Big Smoke excitement, intrigues you, or the opportunity to catch up with local Lego photographers excites you, you should over pack some Lego too and join us for our Melbourne #brickstameet on the 18th of June.

*And yes, I’m well aware that I’ve mentioned the pub and/or beer three times in this post. In my defense, I like beer.