If you have come across my name before, it was most likely in one of the bottom corners of photographs showing fencers either in action, stood on a podium or having a quirky moment. However, besides photographing fencing and some other things, about six years ago I got to try my hand at 'miniature photography' using tiny figurines which normally are accessories to railway modelling, and are not even an inch tall.
At the beginning most of my pictures were personalised birthday cards, inspired by people who became a part of my life in various ways around that time. I did not know much about these people then, but in each of them, there was always something (like a random fact or a gesture) that caught my attention and sparked an idea.
After working exclusively with miniature figurines for a while, I took a detour into the world of Lego and created a special little story for a friend of mine using Lego minifigures. What I like most about Lego minifigures is the amazing variety of facial expressions, not to mention the fact that they are a lot more stable and therefore easier to work with compared to miniature railway figurines!
Sometimes motivation and creative ideas are hard to come by, so to give myself a healthy push, each year I create special Christmas and Easter e-cards for my family and friends. Because I have been so involved with fencing, and I also own six Lego fencer minifigures it often happens that I end up with two ideas for either or both holidays, one of which is always fencing related.
In 2018, when I had just finished my card featuring Lego Batman, well in time for Christmas that year, I suddenly had a fun idea for a fencing themed holiday card. The only trouble was that there was not much time left, and the more excited I got about the idea, the more complicated the story became. I also needed complete darkness to work on it so I pulled an all-nighter...
It was the story of a fencing match, with Santa Claus as the referee, and Christmas presents indicating the scores on each side. When a fencer scored, the Christmas tree on their side would light up to reveal the growing number of presents under it symbolising the score.
I started the preparations in the evening: setting up the scene, wrapping tiny Lego bits to create presents and putting lames on the Lego Fencers to reduce the area of white surfaces. And since Santa's system worked differently to the one foil fencers are used to in the real world, there was no need to tape the tip of the blades!
I took the first picture at 8:25pm on 22nd December, and the last one at 5:21am the next morning. I snapped a total of 162 pictures, roughly 20 for each of the eight scenes of the story.
Each scene was 'lightpainted' which means I used one or more little torchlights to 'paint the scenes with light'. The camera was set to long exposure to give me time to 'lightpaint'. This required a few attempts to get the 'painting' (i.e. flashing the light exactly above the trees) right.
A shortened version of this very special fencing match is now hanging in the Leon Paul Fencing Centre along with two other short photo stories:
This first one, also from 2018, is a little series inspired by a young fencer whom I got to know a bit sooner and a bit better than the rest of the younger fencers. If you knew him back then and have a good memory, there is one distinctive clue you can use to identify him.
I should also add that - as with most of my miniature and Lego images – there was no Photoshop used, only some clever angles and clever disguises!
This last photo was not inspired by anyone in particular but by some bubble wrap most likely!
For more Lego, miniature and real life fencing pictures, please have a look at my Instagram accounts: