Why? I really thought it would be easier to answer this question. And faster.
I can hardly remember when Shelly asked me to write a post about it, and I thank her so much for asking me and for trusting me. It took me a lot to gather my thoughts.
I’ve always loved photography. I started with my dad’s manual film SLR, because, yes, I’m old enough to know what film is and to have b/w photos of my childhood. The little I know about photography I learnt from books and, most recently, from tutorials on the Internet. So I’m a total autodidact. And this applies also to Photoshop, the software I often use to hide my technical flaws.
My favorite subjects have always been landscapes. But in 2009 the Winter Village Toy Shop set brought me out from my Dark Ages. It took me a year before I built something new and I faced the problem of photographing my creations, subjects definitely different from my usual ones. And It took me some time more to realize that my MOCs were populated by such interesting subjects: the minifigures! At the time I was working on my Winter Village diorama, when a mischievous minifig sneaked into my backpack just while I was making preparations for a hike with the snowshoes. So I started taking picture of my sigfig in kind of autobiographical situations. And I must confess, now I feel like smiling at the naivety of some of them. In the beginning I took photos mostly outdoors, but being essentially a MOC’er, I ended up shooting indoors eight times out of then.
I’m a big fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek, and Spaceballs too… basically every movie with “Space” or “Star” in the title! And I love to create mashups. It was only a matter of time: finding some Classic Space bricks from my childhood and laying my hands on a Benny minifig and boom! The idea of a series arose immediately in my mind. This is, in just one sentence, how “Benny’s adventures in space” series was born. Buying the book “LEGO SPACE – Building the future” by Peter Reid and Tim Goddard did the trick: here I found the instructions for building Keko, a mechanic that I’ve considered, since the very beginning, the perfect companion for Benny.
If the first photos had just the main characters in common (Benny and Keko, that I named Mr. Robot after Mr. Radar and Mr. Coffee from Spaceballs), I slowly began to enjoy developing some kind of story line. I have a vague idea of the whole story in my mind and, as it starts unfolding, I can almost picture every image in my mind. That’s the easiest part for me… Some plot twists have been temporarily put aside because they are too demanding, since I am constantly short on time. But, as I wrote before, they’re all in my mind, just waiting for the right moment. It’s been a year and an half since I began, and now I count 160 photos in my Benny’s album on Flickr; that little rascal comes with me every time I take a hike or I attend a LEGO event. Somebody could find it monotonous, but I think I found in that little spaceman with the broken helmet and his robotic sidekick my inspiration.
So, to get back to the initial question: why? I think mostly because I love both LEGO and photography, and I have a lot of fun myself in doing what I’m doing right now. And the best part is that I came across a huge community on Flickr, my favorite social media platform, and an even bigger community on Instagram, even if I’m still an IG newbie.
(Editors note: For more information on the work of Luigi Priori, and the adventures of Benny the Spaceman, please check out issue #17 of Bricks Magazine.)