Vesa Lehtimäki, aka Avanaut, is a Finnish photographer doing work in the growing realm of “Legoography,” creating and photographing miniature scenes using Lego components. While Avanaut has done photos recreating scenes from various films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Batman, he is best known for his scenes in the Star Wars universe.
Avanaut says his entry into Legoography was largely by accident. He was simply interested in photographing some of his kid’s toys before they got broken or lost. He decided to get creative with the shots, and when he uploaded some of them to Flickr in 2009 to try out the photo sharing service, he began to get recognition for his impressive work. Things basically took off from there.
In creating the photos, he tries to keep them as realistic as possible, using real snow, the actual moon, real trees and greenery, etc. He’s not beyond using Photoshopped elements, but he tries to keep the images as grounded in reality as possible. Each of the photos is meticulously set up, usually taking six to eight hours from setting up the scene to photographing it. Each one is basically an evenings worth of effort.
There are lots of people doing Legoography these days. What sets Avanaut’s work apart is his effective use of atmosphere — smoke, sunlight, snow crystals, and other environmental elements are all brought into play to create a very realistic, immersive mood to each captured scene. He has even coined a term, “forced atmospheric perspective,” to describe the method in which he works.