Happy Star Wars day!
The effect that Star Wars has had on toy photography is undeniable. It’s massive. If you look through the search results for “Toy Photography” you’ll find that Star Wars is easily the most represented single theme.
The regular output of Lucasfilm/Disney has kept Star Wars in the public eye for nearly 40 years. Say what you will about the quality of the output, we all know there have been some less than spectacular products, but the fact that a child today can have the same delight at seeing a Stormtrooper as a 40 year-old man is incredible.
The cross-generational appeal probably has a lot to do with the proliferation of Star Wars toy photography. Few franchises have the ability to pull in generation after generation of new fans, and all of those fans produce an awful lot of photographs.
When you photograph a Star Wars character you’re tapping into a lot of pre-existing nostalgia and backstory. People know what Stormtroopers are, how they’re the bad guys, how they’re bad shots, that they’re expendable soldiers. Playing around with those qualities in a photograph isn’t hard to do with a bit of imagination. LEGO’s versions of the characters are even easier to insert into photographs, the minifigures themselves are adorably cute already, they’re almost crying out for photographing.
So photographing Star Wars LEGO may be seen as, to borrow a gaming term, “easy-mode” for toy photography, yet I still love it. There are still many challenges and there are still many ideas to work with. The introduction of the LEGO Star Wars theme was what started my interesting in macro photography and I’ve been photographing them ever since. No matter what else I try I always come back to the Star Wars LEGO minifigs.
The Empire Strikes Back was the first film I went to see at the cinema way back in 1980, and my love of the Star Wars universe has remained ever since. I admit that I haven’t kept up with the extended universe, I’ve only just finished reading my first non-canon novel (Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry). Even some of the more obscure characters from the prequel films are unknown to me. I was recently asked by someone if I was going to take any photos featuring Skaak Ti in the future, and had to head to Wookieepedia to see it that was a real character! (She’s a Jedi from Attack of the Clones.) But I love that the extended universe exists. Legions of fans filling in the gaps from the original films, and going far into the past and the future to create stories.
I am very much looking forward to the new films and spin-offs, if not just to see what LEGO minifigs come out of them. :)
May the 4th be with you.
P.S. I left taking the photo to illustrate this post until the last minute. I’m sitting here at 10:45pm finally having got one I like after 54 photos and 9 different concepts. I do feel the need to show you a mini X-wing shot that didn’t quite make it, because I think this might be the first Star Wars LEGO photograph that uses basil.