The One

As all of the other members of Stuck In Plastic have written about their ‘The One’ photograph, I guess it’s my turn.

The event that started everything for me photographically was the first photograph in my ‘classics’ series: Lunch Atop a Skyscraper. The recreation of Charles Ebbets’ 1932 photograph is still my most popular and recognisable shot.

Lunch Atop a Skyscaper in LEGO
Lunch Atop a Skyscaper – original by Charles Ebbets, 1932

I couldn’t say for sure where the inspiration for the photograph came from, but it arrived at the perfect time. I’d had a few years of practice with cameras to build up some technical skills, and I had just begun to take lighting seriously. How disappointing it would have been to have had the idea when I was still fumbling around with bad lighting and poor quality point- and-shoot cameras.

Lunch Atop a Skyscraper setup shot
The simple setup

Had that photo existed on its own I don’t think it would have attracted a fraction of the attention, but it sparked a series of photos, and that’s infinitely more interesting. Once you have a series of decent photos with a consistent theme then, as I found, the media starts getting interested.

I think it was boingboing.net that first picked up on my photos back in 2008, and from there all sorts of interesting things happened with newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. Being a media celebrity is definitely not my thing, so I turned down a fair few opportunities at the time, but no regrets.

Toy art is not something the pubic are generally familiar with, after all, a 5 year old could do it, and it’s considerably easier to portray us artists in the popular media as toy fanatics instead of artists that happen to use toys. That was definitely the angle a lot of the media were interested in. One interviewer expected my house to be full to the brim with LEGO!

I have 44 photos in my classical photos series now, the last one taken in 2010, yet I still get comments from people who have just discovered the series along the lines of “can’t wait for the next one!”. There are still a couple of photos I’ve had in the back of my head for years that I’d like to do. I’m just waiting for LEGO to make the pieces so I can do them properly :)

-Mike

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Elspeth De Montes
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I have this photograph (well the extended one of the full shot) you sent me years ago. It hangs in my ‘study’ along with the original photo and a Playmobil photograph I made depicting the same scene. I love this as soon as I saw it and it started my exit from the dark age.
Elspeth

Diogo
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Diogo

One of my favorites! Amazing photo, amazing idea and amazing execution. I love the original photograph. Seeing it in a LEGO version is great! Congratulations!