Sometimes, inspiration comes from the strangest places. The Boy brought home a book from the library called “Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy,” Vesa Lehtimäki’s inspiring collection of photographs of Lego Star Wars. You should treat yourself to a look at his Flickr stream to get an idea of the work.
Last night, during teeth-brushing, I got drawn right in to the book. It offers an often intimate look at Lego Star Wars models – photos that somehow connect our humanity with that of ABS Ewoks and Stormtroopers. Many of the photos are very realistic, and yet there is no disguising it: these are toys.
Where most model railway photographs attempt to make the models into something they’re not – the real thing – these photographs often celebrate that they are not. They invite us into an atmospheric miniature world of imagination and play. Who knew that snowtroopers had an artistic bent, or that Darth Vader could ski?
The real gold, however, is in the final chapter, “Behind the Scenes,” where Vesa talks about how he achieved his effects. Sure there is the obligatory technical information, but his key message applies perfectly to finescale model railroading:
The lesson I learned from the truly talented professional photographers I have worked with is simple: don’t settle for good, go for better.
Perhaps this is what separates finescale railroaders from the others. There is no “layout quality,” there is only quality. This is worth remembering the next time I seek to take a shortcut.