Few people put so much time, effort and craftsmanship into a project that results in photos which are totally believable, as Michael Paul Smith. Sixty year old Michael creates realistic 1/24 scale models of an imaginary town from memories of his youth. His photos tell a story that takes you back to that time and place. “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. It's not an exact recreation, but it does capture the mood of my memories”, he says.
The photos that recreate this imaginary town of “Elgin Park” are believable not only because the backgrounds, lighting and subject are expertly integrated, but also because of the extensive and thoroughly researched details in each scene.
Michael sets his models up on a card table and populates it with cars from his extensive collection of Danbury Mint and Franklin Mint die cast autos and trucks. He places the scene near the street or in a parking lot and lines up the camera angle and horizon to perfectly match that of the model, getting the perspective just right. Michael also does night scenes, which are usually photographed inside his small apartment using a very simple lighting setup. He is also able to duplicate the moods of different weather conditions, seasons and times of day with streets wet from rain or curbs drifted with snow made from carefully applied baking soda.
You can read more about Michael Paul Smith and his work at Craftsmanship Museum. Visit his website Elgin Park and his Flickr gallery to view more photos.
The setup of the models that resulted in the above photo
More of his creation