The World According to Hoyle.
March 28, 2009 4:12 PM   Subscribe

The World According to Hoyle. Matt Hoyle is a commercial and fine art photographer based out of New York City. His portfolio includes Barnumville, a fictitious 1940s town of sideshow performers, and a series of cinematic shots from movies that were never made. Yes, he uses Photoshop, but I can't predict if you'll like or hate the final results. (He apparently has a long, happy relationship with saturation.) Yes, the site uses a Flash interface, but it's easy to switch from the default full display to thumbnails to full screen, and you can link to specific images. No, there are no pictures of his near-namesake mathowie anywhere in his portfolio. I checked. (via)
posted by maudlin (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for answering those questions.
posted by longsleeves at 4:17 PM on March 28, 2009

I really like this one.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:22 PM on March 28, 2009

For anyone interested in his process, he was written up in Photo District News (PDN, a trade journal for professional photographers) recently. He goes pretty far beyond Photoshop - a lot of those environments are CG and created from scratch. I know that upsets a lot of purists, but he is pushing the medium into new territory and I personally think his work is great.
posted by bradbane at 4:42 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

I like Barnumville, but that Cinematic stuff reminds me too much of the Sims.
posted by The White Hat at 4:43 PM on March 28, 2009

Holy crap and thanks, bradbane. I wish I had dug that up before I posted because the work he's doing is different enough that it deserved to be pointed out in the post. From PDN, October 2008:
The images have a strikingly realistic, step-right-in look that, despite their retro inspiration, could only have been achieved with modern-day technology. Hoyle chose to craft each shot by computer using 3D software, having been inspired by the stunning alternate realities that contemporary filmmakers are able to accomplish with chroma-key-composited backgrounds. Hoyle shot the models with a 35mm camera and then blended them into the 3D-rendered backgrounds. ...

After each image was rendered, he revised it further in Photoshop. He brought down the focus, for example, to make the photos less crisp—which may seem counterintuitive but is necessary. "When I put a character in the shot, normally I'd have them in beautiful, sharp focus but being in this 3D world, for some reason the eye sees it as too perfect. So I have to blur it to make it convincing."
So Hoyle knew he was rappelling right into the Uncanny Valley, but he managed to clamber at least halfway out again. This one, perhaps because it's set in a fairy tale, seems both more painterly and more authentic than the some of the urban choices.
posted by maudlin at 5:01 PM on March 28, 2009

I remember being appalled by Spike Lee's film Summer of Sam, set in 1977. There must have been at least a hundred continuity errors. But more profound mistakes were his depiction of Berkowitz wearing a modern pattern military camouflage jacket, and punks outside CBGB wearing stainless steel body jewelery.

Mr. Hoyle's photography is certainly proficient, and it warms my heart to see a proper veneration of sideshow performers. But stainless steel body jewelery on sideshow performers in the 1940's?

Well, I guess it's not as bad as wristwatches in Ben Hur...
posted by Tube at 6:08 PM on March 28, 2009

These are fascinating, though I have to say, Boppo and Smiley are the reason people are terrified of clowns.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:44 PM on March 28, 2009

Tube- I'm going to go as far as to say there probably wasn't the practice of surgically split tongues either. I'd see it as modern day performers as shot in the 1940s style.

But really, these two are the most striking images of his in my mind.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:50 PM on March 28, 2009

In my opinion, his most interesting photographs (by a long way) eschew the clinical and boring CGI. He's no expert on modelling, texturing and various other CG techniques that I know nowt of, and as a result the environments look like out-takes from 2002 video games and the people like Photoshopped mannequins. He's pedal to the metal in reverse through the uncanny valley.

I like his Barnumville portraits though. Really nice high-key stuff with some great models. The two that mrzarquon linked to are excellent too.
posted by Magnakai at 4:12 AM on March 29, 2009

The Barnumville shots are amazing. Aren't the DeMarco twins beautiful?
posted by pyngthyngs at 6:31 AM on March 29, 2009

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