I love books. In fact, I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. Ok, perhaps I was just imagining the mahogany, but I do have lots of books, and some are leather-bound. I don’t own an e-reader of any kind, and hope never to do so, because the magic of holding a book, especially hardcover, is irreplaceable. People give me strange looks when I pick up a used book at a store and give it a sniff and say, “Ah, that’s a proper year 1900 binding…a good vintage.” Builder Lego_nuts must have a soft spot for books, too, because this build evokes the magic of literacy, the opening of portals to adventure. Dorothy looks worried, unsure if she should continue on with the story, but the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man are encouraging her to journey to the next page. Will she go on? Like, seriously, isn’t there a movie version she can watch instead?
The build is beautifully executed, utilizing a clever camera angle to capture the scene on the right-hand page. The foliage and warm lighting from the doorway are stunningly inviting, drawing the viewer deeper into the moment. The left-hand scene is lovely, too, in a bas-relief kind of way, though far fancier than the house that Dorothy is described as living in (if you don’t believe me, read the text on the pages in the picture). I am impressed by the photography and setup that went into this one, making me want to swing from that rope and journey on with my fellow adventurers.
Photo-realism is very hard to achieve when you also include LEGO minifigures as the protagonists. Sure, LEGO enthusiasts are comfortable with the not-quite-human proportions, but there’s still that feeling that you’re looking at, well, toys. Not so with the work of Lego_nuts. This builder is also a photographer who knows how to transform a well built set into a stunning composition that feels like a frame from any on-screen Marvel movie. In Raining Battle, Iron Man and War Machine face off against a horde of alien nasties, amid the backdrop of a drenched New York alleyway. Rain and water are everywhere, diffusing the light and giving an air of menace to the scene as a whole.
The alley’s LEGO details include trash cans and waste bins, a newspaper box, and plenty of railings and fire escape ladders. But the vertical span of the buildings is what gives this image such a sense of depth. It feels like our heroes are at the bottom of a very deep hole. I’m sure they’ll win, though.
We recently featured another beautiful LEGO photo from this artist, featuring the entirely different fantasy world of Harry Potter.
My preferred style of LEGO build is the kind geared towards a fully immersive photograph. The lack of edges, the painstaking arrangement of light, and precise positioning of the minifigures contribute to a realism that is gratifying with tiny bits of plastic. It is about the photograph. The work of up-and-coming builder Lego_nuts is in a similar vein, with splendid use of light. The subject matter will be apparent to anyone who has seen the first Harry Potter movie, as Harry tries just about every wand in Mr. Ollivander’s shop before finding the right one, making a huge mess in the process (though why anyone cares about messes in the wizarding world is beyond me, as it cleans itself up with a flick of a wand). But what excites me about the build is the light streaming in the window in the back, giving it a feeling of harsh daylight outside on Diagon Alley.
The stacked wand boxes are also beautifully arranged, utilizing a number of different elements to create the effect, from ingots and grille tiles to masonry bricks and grille bricks. I love how many of them are at an angle, just stuffed in there wherever they can fit. The desk has some wands for display, of course, highlighting the different colors that one could have (perhaps the different woods?), along with a ledger and quill. Some 1x4x1 fence pieces make for great wrought-iron risers on the stairs, too. What sells the build, though, is the tiled ceiling and the light fixture hanging down, finishing the space. It’s the details like those that are the difference between a lackluster immersive build and a lustrous one.