Why? by HerrSM

“Why are you taking pics of Lego?” Ha, easy one, right? Well…is it?

Many people who I asked this question either looked irritated not knowing what to say (no, that´s not a trick question) or they promptly replied “For the fun of it, yeah”.

The other day I was asked this simple question at a friend´s birthday party. The man who asked was the owner of a well-known and famous diner. Running a diner may sound like a lot of fun but I think it´s a very hard business. I do respect what he does so I thought he deserved a serious answer.

I told him that shooting Lego is what keeps me from going insane. Insane? Ok, further back.

Some years ago I was looking for some kind of creative outlet to distract my mind from the job I had then. About the same time I came across this little thing called Instagram and much to my surprise found out that there were people taking pics of ….Lego. Pics of toys I had played with as a kid, too. This was something so dear to me, so connected to a happy childhood, memories connected to my father´s step parents in Denmark, something I knew. Yet something so new. The pictures I found on IG were not just pictures of collections (“look here, do you have this, too?”) but ones that brought the toys to life! I still had some Lego from childhood and was instantly back from my own dark ages and attracted to the new sets. And holy moly- how had it all changed from the spacemen and Fabulandias I knew to today´s sets..

So not only did I find my way back to Lego, I really fell in love with taking pics of it. Thinking of little moments in the lives of the mini figures, building up scenes they may get caught in or simply taking them places one isn’t supposed to find a Lego guy in. It´s a great outlet for creative ideas.

Another important aspect of this hobby to me is that I have met many lovely folks. Everyday people who throw themselves on the floor, climb on trees or jump into in basements (!) just to get a certain image they have in mind of a piece of plastic. I would´t consider myself a very social person and I was more than a little surprised by the great respect and comradery within this community. If there´s a toy photo meet-up it simply doesn´t matter whether you know someone attending or not; you simply go there and have a good time.

To me taking pictures of Lego (with a mobile phone or a DSLR) has been a fantastic journey. From my first attempts (never had an idea of photography before) to one of my latest pics that even made it to the BricksCulture magazine, it´s been an interesting ride. This hobby is always teaching me new things about creativity, photography, patience and people. I found out that taking pics of Lego is not a strange thing to do but a perfect normal way to spend my time.

So, why am I taking pictures of Lego? Because it´s good for me.

-Stefan/ @herrsm

one-of-my-first-lego-pics
“One of my first LEGO photos…”
and-one-of-my-latest-coffee-party
“…and one of my latest photos.”

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18 Replies to “Why? by HerrSM”

  1. I really enjoyed your post! I take photos for many of the same reasons. It keeps me from going insane during the long, hot summer months in Texas and taking photos of smiling minifigs cheers me up on a bad day. Meeting so many wonderful people online makes it even more fun :-) Thanks for sharing your story!

    Lynn

    1. Thank you, Lynn, for going along with my thoughts! It probably doesn´t matter if it´s warm Texas, cold Scandinavia or anywhere in between: Looks like our minifigures are the perfect companions.
      And can you imagine what it´s like to meet these online people in real life? Hoping that one day we´ll be shooting Lego together..

    1. Cheers, Leila! FourLegs was the result of going through the box of spare parts that i`m keeping from every set, you know, those “leftovers”. I´m glad you like that friendly chap. And just in case you were wondering:
      He´s not at all depressive like Marvin; FourLegs gets to spend lots of time with his Lego friends..;-)

  2. Such a touching and positive post! Thank you so much for your wonderful story!
    Your shots are special, you put some unique sense in them – it’s so interesting to see!
    Your post about warm memories which turned into new friendly hobby gave me much pleasure.
    Thank you!
    Kind Regards,
    Ann.

    1. Thank YOU, Ann, for your kind words! I think most of us try to create a little smile on the viewer´s face. And if that´s the case- the happier we are, aren´t we?
      Thank you for your kind feedback. I´m also hoping to seeing YOU one day!

  3. Thanx for sharing! I sometimes feel the why section is like a group therapy or an AA meet-up. I feel so much better after reading an article. Agree on everything and like the way you explain it.
    True that I might feel irritated when someone asks me (because I have not really a full and nicely polished answer to date but your text helps :)).
    Same also for the creative outlet and hedging against complete insanity.
    Love the cover pic! Take care

    1. You mean a “LA” meet-up, right? Of course I did think about the “why” for some time before. But being asked directly by someone is really something else. At least it was to me.
      And yes, it´s definitely a relief to read that people around the globe feel the same or at least something similar. I´d like to thank Shelly and Boris for not just having started this online journey but as well for putting so much time and passion into keeping it alive!
      And remember, don´t let anybody tell you that playing with Lego is strange. See you soonish..

  4. Thank you Stefan for your post. I believe that unconsciously, I also do that to distract myself from my job to avoid going insane. I will definitely avoid taking pictures of Lego at work, but I do take most of my pictures when I travel for work. As you know I also have pictures of Lego in my office and toys on my desk. So, yes, I can totally see myself in your post.

    1. Thank you, Julien! I don´t think that too many people are aware of the importance of keeping a balance between work and private life. It seems to me that life has become a lot faster within the last three or four decades. The least we can do (or have to?) is to take care of our playing instincts and to remain curious; and to be kind and respectful to other humans.
      Does that seem to be manageable by getting together and shooting toys?
      Of course!! See you soon, my friend ;-)

  5. Hi Stefan! What a beautiful, moving, and inspiring post. I loved it and it is sticking with me. Thank you and keep up your awesomeness. The US isn’t showing its best face these days, but we LEGO friends must stick together and send our love abroad — to you and all. Thanks for your post in this ugly time in particular. Hope you’re doing great.

    1. Thank you for your kind words here, Doug. If this article may be with you for some time then I think it´s a good sign.
      One of the great things of this community is that it (or is it just me?) doesn´t care about nations. Wherever you´re from or whoever runs your country- in toy photography we are equal.
      So whatever that loud man may say or do, don´t forget to get out your toys every now and then, get shooting and make this world a more colourful and happy place!

  6. Tanks for this post, Stefan! I very much enjoyed it because I am still a bit shy about admitting I “photograph toys, you know, these little HO scale figures.”
    But your lines struck a nerve, they made me realize I am not only in it for the fun and the creative possibilities. For me, after Lego came the HO scale railroads, and the greatest fun was building those little environments, mostly without the people… And I kept all the HO car models I had while I grew up.
    Now the interests have changed, but not the fascination with alternative worlds – and building them.
    Thanks again for pointing me in the direction of these thoughts.

    1. The pleasure is all mine. I´m happy this may have changed your perspective a little bit when thinking about yourself AND taking pictures of minifigures (may they be by Preiser, Noch or Lego). Looking forward to discovering your own blog, yet hoping you will find more inspiration here in our place. And should you happen to travel to Hamburg, drop me a line and we can meet-up for a little photo walk or some more conversation.

      1. [That sounds good to me, Stefan. Actually, I will be in Hamburg soon. Can we get in touch privately to discuss the possible “where and whens”? Looking Forward to Hearing from you. T]

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