Andrew Whyte’s little, plastic, Danish photographer has been exploring Portsmouth with Legography for quite a while now but in the last couple of months some new, plastic visitors from a galaxy far, far away have been exploring the places and meeting the people of this city, we asked Andrew what’s been going on:
Hi Andrew, how did this particular project for Kinder Surprise come about?
Most of my commercial photography takes place at night so, often, the only camera I have with me in daylight is my iPhone. I started photographing a Lego minifigure in summer 2012 which led to me committing to a year-long project ‘Legography’ where I take and upload a fresh photo daily. The PR agency for Kinder in Australia found my Lego series on Facebook & in the media and saw the potential. Phoneography is a great way to engage an audience, particularly if you want to encourage others to take part.
What was your approach when it came to shooting the images when it came to equipment and locations?
The project’s aim was to encourage others to participate so my equipment had to be minimal and accessible to their target audience. I didn’t use anything specialist at all. All the photos were shot on my iPhone and I can only think of one image that wasn’t also processed on the iPhone, too. I worked within a couple of apps that I use a lot and know how to get the most from. In terms of locations it’s easiest to get the scale right when you’re working outside, the space around you gives much-needed flexibility when it comes to positioning. I was free to shoot anywhere but the lighting had to feel like the emergence of Australian summer, and the images needed to fit certain scenarios agreed with the agency. I had some really generous support from a couple of locations when I needed to shoot indoors too, Make on Albert Road is the setting for C-3PO knitting whilst Darth Vader checking his Facebook was shot just down the road in the office space of Port 57.
What particular photography techniques do you have to use to shoot these sort of photos?
I guess the closest genre is “forced perspective”. Make your subject look big whilst everything else looks small. As part of the project I wrote some tips to give people an idea how to get started. Read Andrew’s top ten tops HERE.
Were there any particular issues that arose from shooting the Star Wars toys?
Weather caused several delays and just working across a massive difference in timezone. I had to think ahead because by the time I’d switch on the Macbook on a Friday morning they were already starting their weekend and often there were extra steps in getting the images reviewed by agency/ their client and even LucasFilm. But the agency was great, professional and very clear & constructive with feedback which meant it was easy to complete an idea from first draft to final image.
Which photo from the series are you most proud of?
It’s tricky for me to pick a favourite as they’re all very familiar to me. I suppose I’m very fond of the beach shot featuring Padme staring into the sunset but I’d say the biggest achievement was getting the timing right to capture the BMX in mid-air, given the iPhone’s delay between pressing the button and actually taking the picture.
It was a lot of fun and the assignment has given me lots of leads, ideas and inspiration for future work – but nothing I can reveal just yet. Instead I’ve got a few weeks focusing on long exposure photography and I also want to make sure that Legography ends its year-long series on a high.
It’s pretty incredible that in Australia and New Zealand they are seeing Portsmouth in a whole new way. You can find out more about the project on Andrew’s website, see all of Andrew’s photos on the Kinder Facebook page and you can watch a short film Strong Island Media made behind the scenes of one of the photos: