Collaborative Storytelling: The Restless Captain

Once again, we’ve reached out to a group of talented LEGO photographers in our community to weave for us a visual narrative around one set. This time, we invited @joschka.vanderlucht, @hey.light, @jjk_brickphotography, and @roundhousebrick to pick a set from the LEGO store and they chose the Creator 3-in-1 Pirate Ship 31109.

The group spent weeks pre-planning while their sets arrived, and more weeks shooting. Here’s what the group came up with:

The Story

The captain sits in front of the tavern, with a gloomy expression on his face. While sipping on his drink, he thinks about all the sleepless nights he’s had for a while. It has been weeks since he was able to get a full night of sound sleep. He even started to feel seasick on his very own ship!

The musician. By @jjk_brickphotography

Lost in thought, he notices an old seaman singing about a feared pirate from bygone days who possessed a mighty treasure. According to legend, this treasure might be able to solve the captain’s problems. Upon listening to the man’s song, the captain finds hope to sleep again.

The trade. By @jjk_brickphotography

He is keen on gaining more information from the old man. The seaman tells him everything he knows about the tale and the captain was able to convince him to trade his golden jug and a diamond for a map. This map, according to legend, will reveal the way to the treasure to a worthy captain.

The thief. @joschka.vanderlucht

Full of hope, the captain gathers his crew and sets out to find the treasure. But what is that… Just before the captain reaches his ship, a bird snatches the map from his hand and circles the ship. Desperately the pirates try to reach the map, but the bird is just too nimble for them.

The jump into the wet. By @joschka.vanderlucht

Suddenly, attracted by the many movements above the water, a shark appears on top of everything. Startled by the sudden appearance of the shark, the bird drops the map. Only with a courageous jump and a lot of luck one of the pirates manages to grab the map before the shark can swallow it.

The sleepless night. By @roundhousebrick

Relieved, the crew sets off on its journey. For days they sail across the open sea. The days pass slowly, but even more tormenting are the nights when the captain wanders sleeplessly over his ship.

After searching for days and a lot more sleepless nights on the ship, they finally find the island that was indicated on the map.

The crossing. By @hey.light

Full of new hope, the captain orders to cross over to the island. Together with his crew, they manned the dinghies and approached the small island.

The unexpected treasure. By @hey.light

Already after a short search, they find the place with the treasure on the island. But the treasure chest is already open and next to it, leaning against it, sits a peaceful-looking skeleton with a teddy in its arms.

Love at first sight. By @hey.light

Startled, but somewhat disappointed at the same time, he picks up the teddy and takes a closer look at it. At this very moment, he starts feeling warm all over and the need to snuggle up to the teddy.

The longed-for sleep. By @joschka.vanderlucht

Happy and full of love for his new friend, the captain, and his crew go back to the ship, where he finally is able to sleep again.

The teddy factory. By @hey.light

Three years after his find, the captain now makes teddy bears himself and sells them in his newly opened store on the beach. From now on, no one should sleep badly or be sad.

Behind the Scenes

After this little and hopefully nice story we would like to give you a little insight behind the scenes. We are a group of four, Jennifer (@jjk_brickphotography), Astrid (@hey.light), Joschka (@joschka.vanderlucht) and Mischa (@roundhousebrick).

We were invited by Brickcentral to work out a little story together and tell it with pictures. Most of us knew each other only briefly and what united us was the enthusiasm for LEGO sets, photography, and the German language.

Already during our first phone call, we liked each other immediately and we lost ourselves in our ideas for this story. But now enough and on to the real BTS.


The first two scenes were done by @jjk_brickphotography:

“The set is on a plexiglass plate under which is an LED panel, which I have covered with blue paper. On the Plexiglas plate is distributed hair gel that shimmers beautifully through the blue light from below and looks like water. In addition, I used four smaller light sources at different positions to add depth to the image and for the figure spots, I used a flashlight. In my setup, I deliberately did without flashes.

“It was important to me that the building is illuminated harmoniously and warmly from the inside. For this purpose, I used small decorative lights, which I covered with color foils in orange and cream. Since the building is open at the back, I glued cardboard with a wood pattern. So no light from the outside comes into the building and you can not see through it.”

Joschka van der Lucht

The next pictures were taken by @joschka.vanderlucht:

“My setup was relatively simple. I used two flashes, one from left behind at a lower angle to simulate the sunlight. The second flash, with a big softbox, was on the right side to fill up the shadows and light up the ship.

“The water was done with help of blue food coloring, water, and Xanthan gum to achieve consistency. I usually use Xanthan gum in the kitchen to thicken things like salad dressings slightly, and I’ve been wanting to try it out for a long time to see how well it could be used for photos. I am very satisfied with the result.

“The mass has spread well, looks nice and most importantly, it is super easy to remove without residue with a little water from the LEGO bricks again.

“In the two scenes on the ship, it was important for me to somehow convey the movement that these scenes are supposed to represent. In the first image, I tried this using the captain’s posture and the position of the bird. In the second image, I also tried to make the movement of the shark visible through the water drops.”


Last but not least, the island pictures were created by @hey.light:

“It was important to me to show the skull of the island in the distance. Blurred, but still somehow threatening. The boats should be rocking on the sea and heading towards the island. When I discovered this bath gel for kids, I immediately knew it could make an excellent sea.

“As we talked about the island scene in the group, the island popped up in my imagination with flowers, grasses, plants and animals. The challenge for me was to create a balanced image with a focus on the treasure. The first thing I did was build the palm trees to frame the image and draw the eye towards the skeleton.

“In this image, the focus should be on the pirate’s joy over his treasure, the teddy. Gems, swords, and a treasure map lie carelessly in the grass. The formerly threatening island glows in vivid colors and the pirate’s world revolves only around the teddy.

“For the outro picture, I ordered a few extra teddies and was pleased with each one that added to the store. And I dug deep into my LEGO boxes to find pirate posters and decorate the store with accessories. Jennifer (@jjk_brickphotography) came up with the idea of the city wall in the background in one of our conversations about the series of images.

“For all of us, working together as a team was a real highlight. Many thanks to The LEGO Group for providing us with this wonderful set and to Brickcentral for inviting us to participate in this adventure.”

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Amazing storytelling and a lot of inspiration reading the BtS! Thanks!

  2. Thomas says:

    Such a lovely story. I could almost hear the waves and the old seamans song in my mind =)

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