Join 3,374 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Michael Paul Smith's Model Photography
February 2, 2010 11:42 AM   Subscribe

"What started out as an exercise in model building and photography, ended up as a dream-like reconstruction of the town I grew up in."

I love his use of forced perspective.
posted by brundlefly (37 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think that this is particularly cool:

The telephone pole, stop sign, the white house and the tree is real and is about a block away from the models. The models themselves are sitting on a table.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:56 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


These are fantastic, and beyond their own amazing craft, have provided blank vintage cardstock.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:58 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is awesomeness. Only thing it needs are people. I got about 20 pics in..do any of the further ones have people?
posted by spicynuts at 11:58 AM on February 2, 2010


"I constructed this garbage truck out of styrene sheets and tubing, using plans I found in a book that followed the history of garbage trucks. It was fascinating reading."

I salute his dedication to the (miniature) craft.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:01 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hate this man.

Because he's everything I want to be.
posted by aramaic at 12:07 PM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


If I didn't know that these were miniatures going in, I wouldn't have noticed with many of the photographs. Wow.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:08 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I keep looking for details to convince me that these are actually miniature models. Can't find any.
posted by slogger at 12:11 PM on February 2, 2010


The crazy thing is, the REAL town is 24x as large as a normal town. So technically these are all normal size.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:19 PM on February 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Holy crap are these good.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:24 PM on February 2, 2010


I thought these pictures were real and kept looking around for the model part.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:24 PM on February 2, 2010


So cool. What great work. For more scale model gold, look for 3rd episode of This American Life's 2nd season.
posted by JBennett at 12:35 PM on February 2, 2010


This is just cool as hell, thanks. If it was me, I'd have to stick a plastic Godzilla toy in there somewhere.
posted by marxchivist at 12:37 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


the history of garbage trucks

My man.
posted by toodleydoodley at 1:04 PM on February 2, 2010


Aughghghgh I love this so, so much. Thanks for the post.
posted by peachfuzz at 1:39 PM on February 2, 2010


What's the big deal? So the guy goes back home during some old car rally and takes lots of photos of the place where he grew up.

So where are the photos of models? Are they further in?

Wait...

... for the love of Saint Pete, these are models?

Amazing. And I thought that some of those model railroaders had good photos, but this puts everyone to shame.
posted by math at 1:53 PM on February 2, 2010


Be careful with your pets, dear, daddy brought them all the way from Earth.
posted by cashman at 1:59 PM on February 2, 2010


This is insanely good.
posted by Elmore at 2:26 PM on February 2, 2010


GENIUS!
posted by 1charm1 at 2:26 PM on February 2, 2010


This is incredible. I especially love all the serendipitous shots he was able to get (like the one that happened to have the freight train in the background at just the right perspective and just the right time). The weather effects are great, too. And I appreciate that he does a lot of showing us how it was done and not just the art itself. Great find.
posted by Kosh at 2:50 PM on February 2, 2010


I'll pile on with: wow! I did the same double takes on a couple of them, thinking they were real photos he was using as references for his modeling. Really brilliant.
posted by gofargogo at 3:20 PM on February 2, 2010


He should have rented a tilt-shift lens to take the photos with. ha!
posted by GuyZero at 3:23 PM on February 2, 2010


I love these!
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 4:22 PM on February 2, 2010


If nothing else, chech out the image linked by cashman, then look at a larger version. He put leaf litter in the gutter, and there are individual numbers on the house for the address! Crikey, he's good.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:25 PM on February 2, 2010


ho.ly.shit. neato.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:36 PM on February 2, 2010


Neat. He grew up pretty close to were I live, all of these scenes are from the western suburbs of Pittsburgh. The sky over the Ohio valley would have never been as clear as it is in a lot these shots when the mills were still running though. And the cars would never have been that clean but as he says in the notes, these are meant to be pictures of his memories of what it was like then.
posted by octothorpe at 4:55 PM on February 2, 2010


stick a half naked depressed model in the middle of these and you give gregory crewdson a run for his money.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:45 PM on February 2, 2010


I'm guessing he doesn't blow up his models with M-80's like we used to.
posted by digsrus at 5:54 PM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was just in the middle of wondering how he got the sky and trees to look so real when I got to the shot where he has the setup outside on a card table.

You can see how the trees, which are about a block away, are in the proper perspective to the model.

Good heavens, this man is the embodiment of genius and perfectionism.
posted by empatterson at 6:05 PM on February 2, 2010


These look so much like Beaver, PA as it was in the 40s, 50s and 60s. I say idealized because as octothorpe pointed out things were much grittier. The lack of people gives the pictures a dreamy feeling. I'd forgotten how much those big, shiny cars contributed to the overall atmosphere. Great stuff.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:17 PM on February 2, 2010


I built models for years. Cars, custom, cars. military aircraft, etc.
In a previous life I managed a hobby store in NY and MI. (Squadron Shop)

I have NEVER seen work like this before!

The model building aside, the photography is terrific!
I more than applaud the artist... Standing Ovation!
posted by Drasher at 6:58 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Been looking at these all day. Wonderful stuff.
posted by carter at 7:45 PM on February 2, 2010


I'm guessing he doesn't blow up his models with M-80's like we used to.
posted by digsrus at 7:54 PM on February 2 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


The tragedy is that I could only favorite this comment once!
posted by Doohickie at 8:09 PM on February 2, 2010


In a previous life I managed a hobby store in NY and MI. (Squadron Shop)
posted by Drasher


The Squadron Shop near Detroit on John R Road was paradise for my brother and I back in the 1970's.

i love metafilter
posted by marxchivist at 8:20 PM on February 2, 2010


I am suddenly nostalgic for a place where I have never been.
posted by SPrintF at 9:35 PM on February 2, 2010


This is gob-smackingly awesome, and it really does look like Pennsylvania in the 50s or 60s. I know, because I visited Allentown, PA in the 90s.
posted by orthogonality at 10:58 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Incredible model-making and inspired photography. The use of real trees as the trees really sells this.
posted by DU at 5:23 AM on February 3, 2010


Holy cow.
posted by zzazazz at 10:46 AM on February 3, 2010


« Older How much life could you find in one cubic foot?...  |  Much-missed acoustic guitarist... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments