Written by | Artists, Themed Series

We love challenging photographers to show us their interpretation of a given theme or idea and we often taken aback by the sheer creativity of mind shown by many who embrace it. We continue on in this fashion by taking a look at an exclusive themed shoot by photographer Charles Finsterbush titled “Destiny”.


I was given the very powerful word ‘DESTINY’ from The Exclu Collective and was extremely excited, to be able to show my interpretation. It took me a day to find the correct inspiration, because the word was so powerful, that it was a little daunting.But then I chose Lord of the Rings, because I had the picture of Frodo holding the ring, shot from above, in my head for a while now. So I started from there and then the ideas came rolling in.

I love taking pictures, but I love to composite too. For Exclu , I wanted to go a little further, than I usually do, for my daily images on Instagram. All in all, these images took up around 6-8 hours of my time. Which was a delight for me. I was allowed to go ‘all out’ and implement all my skillsets, to present you, my ‘vision’.  Normally, I just shoot an idea as they come every day, and most of my Photoshop manipulations are spur of the moment, or only take a minute of my time, but for this project, I actually sat down and sketched out my vision and made footnotes on what I needed and how to set things. So for the first time, I knew EXACTLY how my image was supposed to be. I am extremely proud of these images, because they turned out even BETTER than I had envisioned. So let me guide you through the story line:


We start in the Halls of Moria. I love this battle scene in the movie. I remember the troll swinging his huge chain, so I tried to recreate that scene a little. I don´t have the Frodo figure, so I used Robin from the new Lego Batman Movie, to give the image a touch of ‘my humor’. For me the important part of this image, was to simulate the impact of the chain mace as the Orcs storm in.


Another of my favourite scenes. The fight with the Balrog. I don´t have the Balrog, so I used the next best thing. The scene is just epic in my eyes and my goal was to build the shot up from a distance to give the scene a pure fantasy look and to show how small Gandalf looked, as he battled the mighty Demon. The fire whip doesn´t technically come until the Balrog falls, but the wide angle of the shot gave me the opportunity, to create a long whip, just like in the movie.


Gandalf´s last words, before falling. This is where DESTINY makes it´s way into my story for the first time. This image shows, where Gandalf´s destiny ‘takes hold’.
This is the path, that leads him, to being ‘Gandalf the White’.


Frodo has the greatest weight on his shoulders, but it was his DESTINY, and only HE could do it. As I said mentioned, I pictured this image, shot from above and the focus in my vision, was centered on the One Ring, but I wanted to see the red lava underneath and to give the feeling, Frodo was actually standing there.

Out of the four images, I have to say, this is my favorite.

Thank you Exclu for giving me this opportunity and thank you, to all you awesome Lego and Toy photographers, old and young, that continuously inspire me daily, from all over the world. – Charles Finsterbush

A huge thank you to Charles for creating some amazing content for our themed word challenge and for sharing an insight into his creative process and a breakdown of how the final shots are achieved. Be sure to head over to his page on Instagram @ryandeanlego to get better acquainted with his work and leave a comment below to discuss the series.

Last modified: February 12, 2017

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