A Dream Holiday

A photographic essay of a girl living an enthralling flight after buying an odd book at the airport.

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”

Anna Quindlen

The LEGO City Passenger Airplane 60262 comes with a small airport, boarding ramp, and baggage carrier vehicle. It sells at £99.99 / $99.99 / 99.99€ and contains several minifigures including a dad and his baby, a female pilot, a male steward, a couple of technical airport staff and passengers, one of whom has blue hair and goes by the name “Poppy Starr”.

Right away I can say I love this set. The plane itself, a 54cm long model, is sturdy enough for pictures in flying and landing modes, and fits well with the included accessories. I only wish the airport terminal was bigger, but that’s something AFOLs will surely find easy to solve.

I give it a 9/10.

I’ve flown many times for work and holidays, so airplanes are known territory for me. The books I’ve read while flying, I cannot even count. That intuitive association of air travel and book reading made me think of a story I wanted to make with this set.

So I kept myself busy in the past months to create this photographic essay of a girl (Poppy) going on a trip aboard a plane, after buying an immersive book while waiting at the airport.

The Story

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

Stephen King

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Poppy heading to her holiday abroad. On her way to board her plane, she walks by an intriguing medieval-styled book kiosk. Her eyes are suddenly attracted to a dusty old book.

“Head to the Land of Heroes and Dragons”, the title reads on a creased, worn out leather cover.

This will be a nice change from the usual news of a world filled with terrifying pandemics, she laughs as she pays the odd man at the register.

She opens the book as she stands in the check-in line. From the very first words of the first page, the book draws her in immediately. Immersed in the reading, feeling every word, she is led to her flight without being really there. She is oblivious to her boring surroundings as she boards the plane.

A handful of pages later she barely notices the pull of gravity as the engines roar and the plane takes off.

As her fellow passengers enjoy their evening meals, she’s flipping through pages in a trance, engulfed in her own world, not wanting to break free…

…until her eyes finally close and the words dance in her head…

…and she’s swallowed in her dreams of a story that comes to life in her mind.

A roaring thunder wakes her up in a haze and the eye that peers at her through the small window makes her jump. A dragon! Wait… a dragon? These things don’t exist!

But surely they do, one is very real and flying by the plane! She watches in panic as it tries to grasp at the plane’s hull, its snapping maw narrowly missing one wing. This beast will bring the plane down!, Poppy cries in a gasp.

But a thud of light suddenly blasts across the skies faster than lightning. A knight on a flying horse dashes at the dragon and frees the plane from its grip. Through the window Poppy sees the defeated beast vanishing away in the night.

As the plane safely lands escorted by a hero from another time and place, a stunned Poppy emerges from her shock and stands by the doorway. She looks past the shiny knight to stare in wonder at the fairytale landscape beyond.

Is it a dream, she thinks, or is this real? Does it matter? she reflects. Her hands still clenched on her book, smiling, Poppy steps out of the plane and walks into a new story.

Inside A Dream

I’ll share here a behind-the-scene from that essay, to explain how I managed to shoot inside the cabin.

Well, to be honest, the plane as it comes is too narrow to easily allow cabin shots from within. I therefore took parts of the hull and window panes off and crafted my own little MOC of the cabin.

The structure has more legroom, essential for the night shot where the main character reads her book while other passengers are casually sitting to enjoy their onboard meals. The upper hull was held at an angle using hinge parts, to simulate a wider field of view and give the feeling of sitting within the plane ourselves.

Clearly, it will be easier to sleep in that cabin…

I used slanted panels in the front and back to allow direct light to shine on the main character while keeping the rest of the scene dim.

I then used a combination of colored RGB LED panels to bring up the appropriate mood to the scenes.

In some scenes, a flash was used to bring enough light from outside to simulate a bright contrast with the cozy environment inside.

A small flashlight was also used to brighten the book from above, through the opening. The scenes were then shot at 35mm.

An alternate shot of the cabin scene. Yep, that dad will need a change of clothes… The guy behind too.

To conclude, I really had fun with this beautiful set. Thanks again to Brickcentral and The LEGO Group for providing it to me and offering me this chance to shoot a story around it. This brought me to new places and memories of fascinating novels I used to read to free my mind during too many long distance flights.

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