JD Hancock Photos

"It's Fun To Stay At The ..."

"It's Fun To Stay At The ..."

Posted to Flickr on 30 May 2009. Part of the Stormtroopers series. Included in my Portfolio.

For some reason 70s music is really popular on the Death Star.

Stormtroopers: the Empire’s finest.

Photo seen in Flickr Explore. Seen on the Flickr Explore Front Page on May 30, 2009. It reached #1 in Flickr Explore on June 1, 2009.


While it’s easily the most popular photo I have ever taken, this image was a completely unplanned afterthought. True story!

At the end of an evening of tabletop photography in May 2009, I was playing with a Star Wars stormtrooper action figure and absent-mindedly put him into the shape of the letter “T.” I then wondered, “What could I spell out with stormtroopers?” I was immediately transported back to the late 70s, a time when, thanks to the Village People, everyone was forming the letters “YMCA” with their bodies. Thinking it might be funny, I setup a very quick and simple shot and uploaded it without much post-processing. Shortly afterwards it went viral. The StumbleUpon network spread the image all around the Internet, the photo climbed onto the Digg home page, and by the next day it was #1 on the front page of Flickr Explore.

If I had known how many people would eventually see this image at the time, I would have pulled it into Photoshop and spent hours cleaning it up. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t; I think the gritty imperfections make it more “realistic” and fun.

Speaking of realism, it’s interesting to note that I took this photo in my kitchen with a simple CoolPix point-and-shoot camera: no fancy equipment, no studio, no special lighting. Never let a lack of gear keep you from being creative!

Thank you to everyone who shared this photo with a friend or loved one. Giving others a smile a big part of why I do this.


The YMCA stormtroopers do get around. They’ve been spotted all over the place!

Have you seen this photo somewhere else? Or are you using it yourself? I would love to hear from you! It's always fun to learn where my photos turn up.


This photo was taken in my kitchen using some pretty simple Gear. You might be surprised to discover how low-tech my "photography studio" really is.

Flickr Facts

This photo was posted to Flickr on . It was one of 500 images featured on Flickr Explore for that day. The last time I checked, it had 155,357 views on Flickr.

The media type of this image is "photo." The original file type was "jpg." The photo's dimensions are 1024 x 768, giving it landscape orientation.

Unless otherwise noted, the image was created by me, .


Selected imagery background information.


The stormtrooper is the elite soldier of the Imperial forces in the Star Wars universe. They typically wear white armor and helmets and are armed with blasters. Imperial stormtroopers were first depicted in the film Star Wars (1977). As shown in the Star Wars prequels Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), the stormtroopers were preceeded by the clone troopers, an army of soldiers cloned from the bounty hunter Jango Fett and loyal to Emperor Palpatine. In many ways stormtroopers are an iconic symbol of the Galactic Empire.


"It's Fun To Stay At The ..." by JD Hancock is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available.

Creative Commons License

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