Cinematic Inspirations

If there’s one thing that means as much to me (if not more to me) than LEGO, it’s movies.

It’s no surprise then that they’re one of my biggest influences as an artist and photographer. One look at my feed is all it takes to realize how much I love Star Wars, Back to the Future, or superhero movies, and as I mentioned in my previous “Why?” post, I have a lot of fun playing around with and creating my own stories within those pre-established universes.

Sometimes, though, I turn to film for en entirely different reason: As a subject for imitation.

“There’s been an awakening…”

You know what they say; imitation is the highest form of flattery!

Sometimes, I don’t want to create new stories at all. I want to recreate stories in LEGO form. Upon some introspection, I found that I tend to do this either when I really love something (or am excited for it) and want to somehow pay tribute, or when I’m in the occasional creative slump. It’s kind of a great-creative-quick scheme.

Cinema can fill in the empty spaces of your life and your loneliness.
– Pedro Almodovar

I’m in just such a slump at the moment. As you know, I recently went on a lengthy business trip.  While I did manage to shoot a few toys while traveling, the trip itself interrupted a pretty strong creative streak I’d been enjoying since the New Year. I thought that when I returned home, to my own climate, my own space, and to all of the minifigures and pieces I wasn’t able to cram into my suitcase, I’d be able to get back into that groove.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.

Dr. Ford’s workshop – Westworld

Part of it has to do with prepping for a second business trip that will take me back to Florida and, again, away from my toys and equipment. The other part, I realize, is that it’s simply hard to get back into normal routines once they’ve been disrupted.

So, without much inspiration (or, frankly, spare time) to pack some toys for my weekly photo walk and find some new stories to tell out “in the wild,” I’ve instead  stayed inside, and turned once more to the silver screen.

This, I’ve found, is a pleasant way to continue quenching that thirst to photograph toys, and has actually allowed me to challenge myself a bit more than I might normally.

One Last Time…

Take this Logan shot, for example. It’s based on the promotional material for the film (which I’ve adored). However, it’s not just a simple tribute to a cool comic book movie, it’s also me testing my skills at silhouettes, the latest challenge put forth by Shelly and Brett.

Without really knowing it at the time, I was not just playing an imitation game, I was using a comforting, go-to outlet to help ease myself out of a creative rut and participate in a photo challenge. Pretty cool, huh?

I’m curious, what do you do when you’re in a creative slump? Do you turn to other forms of artwork for inspiration? 


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  1. I’ve been for the past 2-3 weeks in a creative slump too. It’s not that I don’t feel inspired, I’ve got a ton of ideas in mind, but there’s just something that doesn’t make me want to take photos. Maybe I’ve taken too much photos in February and I made an overdose. Or maybe I just want spring to be there. So right now the plan is just to sit down and simply do something else… Like watching movies.

    • This totally happens to me as well. Sometimes, even with plenty of ideas, I just can’t muster the willpower to take any photos. I’m not quite sure what causes it, but I’m glad that the drive always ends up coming back eventually!

  2. I have done this – used a movie scene, or another piece of art, as inspiration and tried to imitate it. I tend to try to put my own spin on things tho, just so its not so much copying, but iterating on the ideas. (imitation is the greatest form of flattery, they say.)

    I did this here, where I recreated a similar scene using Boba Fett, tho the original used a stormtrooper:

    • Nice Boba pic!! I definitely know the Stormtrooper shot you’re talking about, that’s a fantastic recreation!

      I never thought about tweaking the originals in that way. I like to either take a photo featuring characters from my favorite movies but in my own settings, or simply recreate great movie posters or shots that really stuck with me. I’ll have to give your way a spin, seems fun!

  3. I feel exactly the same way! Whenever I’m in a creative slump, I turn to my favorite movies (Star Wars) or minifigure portraits. Rogue One helped bring me out of a big slump last fall.

    Great post James and that’s a gorgeous silhouette shot!


    • Thanks, Lynn! I’ve loved all of your movie recreations, from Star Wars to Jurassic World. Your photos have definitely inspired me to up my game!

      I’m glad to hear that Rogue One helped you get out of a similar slump. I have yet to really get my hands on many of the minifigs from the movie, so I haven’t had a chance to play around with recreating anything much. But it’s been great seeing what you’ve come up with, I love your series of Jyn photos!

  4. Interesting thoughts! Turning to other forms of art – paintings, collages etc. – has always inspired me, and I believe that much inspiration for photography can be found ‘outside’ the field of photography.
    Then there are, of course, movies.
    But frankly, after I felt like I sort of manoeuvered myself into a corner with my abstract pictures, I turned to the miniature world: It now feels like I opened all my windows to let the wind sweep through, bringing with it whatever it brings.

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