One Friday in late May, I decided we were buying ourselves some new LEGO. Things have been hard of late, & we needed something light & silly to break the gloom. It was money that we really couldn’t afford to spare, but it was justifiable in the circumstances. The LEGO that my brother & I had as children is somewhere at our mother’s house… currently it’s missing, but we’re all hoping that’s just temporary. LEGO is an investment, which means no LEGO is a waste of money.
My partner is a big LEGO Technic fan, & over the last couple of years he’s expanded his collection with a couple of sets. It’s a relaxation thing for him. So that night, we left the shops with a couple of small, low cost sets. There was a Star Wars Imperial Troop Carrier, simple Pirate island ruin, & a small box of Classic bricks for me, & a Snow Crane for him from the Technic range as a late birthday present.
He was away – I can’t remember if it was SES or Army related – but I was home alone that Saturday. So I opened the troop carrier & laid it all out on the table. I don’t know what prompted it, but I set it up to look like the Storm Troopers were building it & I grabbed my camera for the first time in ages.
What would have easily taken 15-20 minutes max to build, took almost four hours.
But better yet, it was fun.
I felt like sharing the silliness, so I put a couple onto Instagram with ridiculous captions. Not all at once, just one or two per day. I didn’t want to spam. The reaction surprised me – people went out of their way to thank me for them.
“These make my day!”
“Oh you crack me up with these pics Gillian Dragancaor keep up the amazing work, you make me smile when I see them.”
“Me and my boys love seeing what the storm troopers are up to next”
“I’ve been feeling down today, but this, this makes me giggle and peps me right on up.”
There’s a young boy in Sydney whose mum messages me with his reactions to each shot. These are some of the cutest things in the world – “Batman needs to use his manner but the storm trooper looks cooler driving it”
A friend offered the loan of his childhood LEGO.
The photos are lifting his days too, & he felt sorry for the [hopefully temporary] loss of my childhood LEGO. We made the trip to his mum’s house & were handed a large box of LEGO dating back to the early 80s! Easily worth over $1,500, given some of the rarer sets it included (there’s a couple that are Disneyland exclusive!). It was covered in dust & deceased spiders (one of them had all 8 skeletal legs wrapped around a minifig as though it was cuddling a teddybear), but a quick rinse once we had it home & it’s almost as good as new.
I found a garbage bag in the drawer of our daybed, which held my LEGO Football set from the world cup in 2000. It had been an adult birthday present & given it was playable like a tabletop game (similar to Tiddlywinks) it had been kept separate to the childhood LEGO toybox. It’s spent at least 8 years in that black garbage bag (6 of those years without my knowledge), so most of the stickers are long dead, & once I found the instruction booklets for it I sadly found out it was missing 38 pieces. Nothing critical (unless you count the spare balls as critical), so I was able to rebuild it well enough to be playable again.
Suddenly I’m back behind my camera, even if it’s only a couple of minutes every couple of days. There’s a couple of challenges that I’ve set myself without really thinking about it. I’m using natural light through a window of the room that will eventually be the studio, & the winter light is fleeting. Also, none of the scenes use blu-tac or any type of Kraggle (adhesive/glue) – they’re either holding pieces or they are balanced (sometimes precariously).
I don’t share all of the photos online – most of them I just send to my partner while he’s at work. It boosts both of us & that’s all it’s ever been about. Not only am I not hating my camera (for the first time in months), but I’m enjoying it again.
It’s been a much needed lift in this house, & apparently in at least a few others too.
I put some of the photos up on my Redbubble account so that I could get a cushion of my Stormtroopers, & I figured seeing as people are loving the images so much I’d make them publicly available.
There are t-shirts, hoodies, kids clothes, skirts, ceramic mugs & travel mugs, purses, backpacks, phone cases, tablet & laptop skins, cushions, stickers, framed prints, posters, & notebooks available. Stuff-it-can-go-on galore!
If you’re enjoying the photos, that’s awesome!
From the look of things, they’ll continue for a while yet =)