LEGO photography invites individuals of all ages to embrace their creative spirit and bring their imaginative ideas into reality. In this article, we explore the inspiring journey of Yana Sekulova, a LEGO photography artist who harnesses the power of LEGO mini figures to compose awe-inspiring photographs.
Table of contents
- Yana’s Discovery of LEGO Photography
- The First LEGO Set
- Finding Ideas for LEGO Settings
- Infusing Humor Into LEGO Photography
- From Vision To Art
- Personal Touches in Lego Photography
- The Joy of Playing With LEGO Toys
- Becoming a Member of BrickCentral
- Equipment for Lego Photography
- Challenges of LEGO Photography
- The Essence of Lego Photography
- “Art can be a savior”
- Yana’s Advice For Kids
Yana’s Discovery of LEGO Photography
Yana’s journey into the world of LEGO photography began with her deep-rooted interest in the “little world” and the love for macro photography. During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yana’s husband introduced their son to her old collection of LEGO. This reunion rekindled her inner child and opened up a whole new world of creative possibilities.
“It all started with macro photography. I love all the tiny things in this world, because if you take a closer look you’re amazed how complicated simple things really are. Back in 2020, with the beginning of the Corona virus, we couldn’t go much outside and my husband decided to show my old LEGO to my 2 year old son. That’s where it started. I woke up the kid in me. The Lego mini figures are perfect models for toy photography for me, because you can change every piece of them and make it look like a completely different character. And they are small, so they fit the small worlds I like,” Yana recalls.
The First LEGO Set
When Yana got her first LEGO set, she was around 5 years old. However, her collection of LEGO mini figures and sets has very quickly expanded.
“I can’t remember exactly at what age my first LEGO set was, but I was little. Maybe about 4 or 5. As far as I can remember, it was a house which you could transform into a woman figure. Then I got a tiny Blacktron space set, then a tiny classic yellow car, Paradisa, Pirates sets, and then Belville came out. Those Belville sets were amazing for me as a child because of the dolls,” says the toy photographer, Yana Sekulova.
She preserved her childhood LEGO mini figures and sets, knowing that someday she would want to show her own children this timeless collection.
“I kept my LEGO, because I knew someday I would love to show it to my child, and I’m happy this happened. Some pieces and plates are lost, but 25/28 years later my Lego collection is still here,” shares Yana.
Finding Ideas for LEGO Settings
For her LEGO Settings, Yana draws inspiration from a multitude of sources – novels and movies, music, and even from her daily life. But it is her own imagination that leads the way when she is creating one of her miniature worlds that then is brought to life through LEGO photography.
“Inspiration can be found everywhere. From books, music, movies, walks, everyday situations to your own imagination. You just have to listen to your inner voice. Imagination can take you everywhere, and this is also one of the things I like in LEGO photography – you can build your own different worlds. Then rebuild, and again and again,” says the LEGO photography artist.
Whether it’s recreating beloved characters like “The Little Prince” or capturing the essence of our favorite computer games, Yana shows us that inspiration can be found in every nook and cranny of our lives.
“Some time ago I recreated ‘The Little Prince’ sitting on his planet with his rose and I love how it turned out. I also recreated a favorite computer game of mine ‘Tomb Rider’. Everything can be inspiration if you’re open to it this way,” Yana shares.
Infusing Humor Into LEGO Photography
Humor plays a vital role in Yana’s LEGO photography, allowing her to create amusing and whimsical scenes. By drawing inspiration from cartoons and embracing self-irony, she infuses her photographs of LEGO mini figures with laughter and joy.
“I try to think of funny situations and do my best to make them real. Watching cartoons is very effective. Self-irony is also a good way to make people and yourself laugh. I find it very useful in real life too. I have no idea why, but I feel that if you can make fun with yourself, you can be more productive and happy,” Yana confesses.
From Vision To Art
Yana’s artistic process is a fluid and organic journey. Sometimes, ideas are meticulously mapped out and recorded. However, other times, they spontaneously develop as she constructs and brings her scenarios to life.
“I don’t have rituals, everything is so casual. Usually an idea forms, sometimes I write it down and wait a bit until I make more out of the story. Other times I don’t write it, I just go for setting up the scene or build it with bricks and while I’m doing this I come up with some details to finish the final look. Then I photograph it and off to some editing. There’s the place where I see if there are any mistakes and things I don’t like, and if it gets too messy I go and re-shoot,” the LEGO photography artist explains.
Personal Touches in Lego Photography
Yana believes in the magic of adding a personal touch to her LEGO photography. Whether through unique sets, beloved characters, or inspired settings, she seeks to deepen the emotional bond between her art and the viewer.
“I find myself using expressive faces. I try to create warm characters, ones that touch you in some way. Other interesting thing is using a classic face, the one with two eyes and a smile. I also like using this face, but it is a bit more challenging. You have to be more careful with composition and lightning if you want to make the character stand out and not counting on the facial expression,” Yana shares.
The Joy of Playing With LEGO Toys
The LEGO photography artist confesses that she combines her love for LEGO photography with the joy of simply playing LEGO with her son. She thinks they make a great team in imagining new settings and stories for their LEGO mini figures.
“A lot of my pictures are real because of playing and building with my 5 year old son for fun. We make a team with his imagination and my building. He has begun to create fun characters I still don’t find time to photograph, but I will soon. Sometimes he wants us to build something and in the end it turns out it’s great for playing and photographing also. Of course not every build is both playable and very eye-catching, but we make a team,” she explains.
However, having a 5-years-old around can be challenging when trying to find the perfect place for each LEGO mini figure or shooting the final scenario.
“Staying focused and productive while around you there’s a very curious and wanting to help out kid is …umm… not possible, but it is always fun. Once I was shooting a forest scene and my son came and started blowing the soil I put on the ground for the scene. The soil went everywhere on the kitchen counter. When I asked him ‘What are you doing?’, he said ‘There’s wind in the forest, mom’,” Yana recalls.
Becoming a Member of BrickCentral
BrickCentral is the biggest online community for LEGO photography and probably for toy photography as well. Their idea is to teach the community to create higher quality LEGO photography.
“It’s a friendly environment, everyone is being nice and helpful. If you don’t understand something, there’s always someone who can help you out and explain. Every month there’s a theme inspiring people to create photographs to it. There are also tips, teaching different things, like for example how to build your scene and photograph it in a way you want to show current emotion or object. Every month some excellent community members pictures are being shared, so that their work can be seen from more people. It’s a place where you can grow,” says Yana.
The LEGO photographer Yana Sekulova says that anyone who loves creating fun LEGO projects and loves (macro) photography can join the community. However, there is age limit when a contest is being held, as people must be 18+.
Equipment for Lego Photography
LEGO photography can be pursued with minimal equipment, making it accessible to all. Yana initially started her journey with a phone camera, appreciating its versatility and the instant gratification of editing. Over time, she upgraded her equipment.
“I started using only my phone. It’s easy, approachable, you see the results and you can make some editing right away. You can learn what angles you can use for different effects. Usually the phone is with you wherever you go, so it’s a great start. I even got 2nd place in a phone photography challenge last year, so yes, you can use your phone to create beautiful toy pictures,” Yana shares.
Now she is using a Canon 7D camera with two lenses, a mini Godox led light and “a facial mister (great for creating atmosphere)”.
“One lens is a wide angle, Canon 18-55mm, the other one is a Canon ES-F 55-255mm zoom lens. That’s my basic. I use filters to cover the lighting to create different effects. Also florist paper/cellophane is great if there’s no filter in the needed color. And there’s some do-it-yourself decor I made and I use it from time to time. Like a brick wall, or a wooden floor,” the toy photographer explains.
Challenges of LEGO Photography
For Yana LEGO photography is a hobby that brings joy and child-like curiosity in her life. At times, however, she takes “things too seriously”. She then puts pressure on herself trying to create the perfect story for her LEGO mini figures or to shoot the perfect photograph.
“Photography is my hobby and as a hobby it brings me relief and happy moments. But yes, I’ve been demotivated a few times. When I forget that it’s a hobby and took things too seriously. It’s normal to feel this way sometimes. You can’t be super productive all the time. The thing that helps me overcome the setbacks is just take a little rest. No thinking about what should my next picture be and no taking pictures. Usually this helps to clear my mind and start again. So if anybody feels demotivated, I think the best thing to do is rest for a while,” Yana advises.
The Essence of Lego Photography
LEGO photography becomes a medium through which Yana conveys messages and evokes emotions. She aspires to make people forget about their daily struggles and immerse themselves in a miniature universe brimming with various emotions. By placing LEGO mini figures in relatable human situations, Yana aims to foster a sense of unity and understanding.
“I want to make people forget about the real life and jump into this miniature world that could be full of so many emotions. Some funny, some serious, some inspiring, I hope. Maybe it’s a way of showing that if something happens to you, don’t worry, it could happen to others too, you’re not alone. Putting these little yellow LEGO mini figures into human situations is fun and I enjoy when I see a smile on someone’s face when I’ve shown a photograph. By seeing these little yellow people, I hope people to start thinking about all those little but important things around us. All the little everyday details. Like a sudden smile on a stranger’s face, or the hug of your child and many many others,” the toy photographer shares.
“Art can be a savior”
Yana believes that art can be very helpful in challenging times. “It can even be a savior,” she says, and shares that 3 years ago, during COVID-19 pandemic, LEGO photography kept her “away from fear and bad thoughts”.
“Art is inspiring in all its forms. You can find yourself through it and find a lot of hidden places of youself,” Yana believes.
Yana’s Advice For Kids
LEGO photography artist Yana Sekulova has a great piece of advice for all children interested in pursuing her passion for art: “Just listen to your inner voice and trust yourself”.
“Keep experimenting and try out new things and styles. If one thing isn’t for you and you don’t feel it’s the one you like, leave it and go for another. Keep trying until you find the one that feels right and makes you happy. Creating art and things you like is so fun and satisfying,” Yana tells children.
I asked artist Yana Sekulova to create a unique LEGO scenario that represents in her mind the 4TinyHands’ children and our beautiful community. This amazing LEGO photography is her gift for us all and I hope you’ll express in the comments your thoughts about it.
Do you like it?
I just love how this LEGO setting speaks about the curiosity, inventiveness, and creativity of 4TinyHands’ children!
Don’t forget to share on 4TinyHands’ Facebook page your impressions about the LEGO photography that Yana created for 4TinyHands’ children. And if you are curious to find out more about macro photography, I recommend you to read this article.
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