Star Wars Lego photos take action figures to a whole new level
An illustrator and designer's incredible Lego images — using his son's toys — have gone viral online.
Star Wars Legos create new scenes
Illustrator and designer Vesa Lehtimäki, of Finland, started to photograph his son's Star Wars Legos in July 2009. The pictures went viral after he posted them on his Flickr.
TODAY's multimedia editor Lance Booth asked him about his inspiration, and his methods for creating magic.
He uses a variety of special effects to give his photos a frozen world feel. "I experimented with gypsum powder in water tank, powdered sugar, talcum powder, baking soda and finally baking powder, which is just perfect for the scale," he said.
Y-Wing engine probs
He has been a Star Wars fan since he was a child, but thinks of himself as a reborn fan. "After over two decades I have discovered the original Star Wars trilogy again," he said. "I haven't watched them repeatedly, but rather dug deep into some extensive background information I have found from various sources, information that wasn't there before."
He considers himself a Lego fan, but not a fanatic. "I don't think I necessarily qualify as an AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego) because I do not build," he said. "I definitively have the deepest admiration for the product. It is an endlessly fascinating subject for photography"
"I really connected with some snowtrooper minifigures from 'The Empire Strikes Back,' he said. "I love winter in Finland and I had loved the snowy Hoth scenery from the first moment I saw it in 1980. I just wanted to push photographing the little Lego figures on snow."
Snowtroopers warm up from a fire under an AT-AT.
Living in the dark side
A tiny Darth Vader Lego stands waist deep in snow, shrouded by fog.
Last ship to Rendezvous Point
A Y-wing looms on the frozen set. "The research on the original miniature spaceships I found online by some model builder enthusiasts is nothing short of modern pop culture archaeology," he said. "It's unbelievable! I just love those X-wings and Y-wings."
"I started all this in the summer of 2009. I had bought a Canon DSLR for an illustration project and once the camera was there, I started pointing it to things," he said. After his hobbie went viral he has received work as a professional for Lego. "Today, photography has become a part of my work. So far I have worked for Lego ('Hobbit,' 'Lord of the Rings') and Marvel ('Iron Man 3') and I loved every moment of it."
Lehtimäki does a variety of actions shots with the Lego figures.
Falcon and the snowman
A snowtrooper poses with a tiny Millenium Falcon.
Derelict on Hoth
"The idea of photographing the kids' toys comes from the realization that the toys won't last," he said. "I want to save them in photographs and make a book of the photos someday."
Briefing on Hoth revisited
Lego figures stand in a frozen wasteland.
Bossk's cool day out
The photographs are entirely Lehtimäki creations. "I began to shoot the photographs as if they were about events before, during, after and around the events we know from 'The Empire Strikes Back,'" little one-frame "beside-the-scenes" plays, if you will," he said.
A pilot's dream
Lehtimäki would like to keep on photographing the Legos, but is has slowed down in recent months. He is busy repairing his house, but will be back at it once he finishes.