Henri Cartier-Bresson's "Behind the Gare Saint Lazare" (1932) is perhaps the most famous of the French photographer's "decisive moment" shots. A pedestrian's unself-conscious jump over a puddle behind a Parisian train station was an entirely ordinary event until Cartier-Bresson happened to capture it (and its reflection) on film. Now it speaks to us of daily moments of antigravity in a repressive modern world. What could be more delightful?
How about a recreation of "Behind the Gare Saint Lazare"... using Lego?
British Flickr member Mike Stimpson (Balakov) created the above image with only a little Photoshop help (to remove the string suspending the figure, and to convert the photo from color to b/w). He even shows us how he did it:
Stimpson has also recreated "Lunch Atop a Skyscraper" (1932), by Charles Ebbets; Alfred Eisenstaedt's 1945 photograph "V.J. Day Times Square," and the iconic photo (by Neil Armstrong) of astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the Moon in 1969.
Not all of Stimpson's recreations are cute, though.
His version of Malcolm Browne's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1963 photograph of Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc's self-immolation in protest over persecution of Buddhists in South Vietnam, for example, is creepy. Since Stimpson went to so much trouble already, couldn't he have wiped the smile of this Lego figure's face?
Quick, let's get back to the cute stuff. Here's my favorite: A recreation of the famous still frame from Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin's 1967 film footage of Bigfoot. Using a Lego figure of the most charismatic megafauna the world has ever known: Chewbacca.
Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His last article for Ideas was about choosing Congress by lottery.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.