Before computer-generated effects, physical dioramas were used in cinema to create realistic settings. Artist and photographer Matthew Albanese has a fascination with creating illusionary scenarios that began as a child, using household objects and his extensive collection of action figures. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography, Albanese’s creative eye turned to sets of a wildly eclectic nature. “I’m trying to change people’s perspectives of small objects by creating something big with them,” the artist said. All of his scenes are miniatures set up to trick the viewer into thinking that it’s all full sized. The inception of his series began with a spilled canister of paprika that inspired him to create his first mini Mars landscape.
“I’m always looking at materials and seeing what I could do differently with them,” Albanese says, and the different materials he uses to create these landscapes include nuts, chocolate, wire, cotton, ostrich feathers and plexiglass. Each grueling piece can take up to as many as 700 hours to complete. He takes thousand of exposures to document the process and when he is done photographing the scenes he destroys the dioramas.
My work involves the construction of small-scale meticulously detailed models using various materials and objects to create emotive landscapes. Every aspect from the construction to the lighting of the final model is painstakingly pre-planned using methods which force the viewers perspective when photographed from a specific angle. Using a mixture of photographic techniques such as scale, depth of field, white balance and lighting I am able to drastically alter the appearance of my materials.
Paradise, the above pictured, took four months to complete, and is comprised of spray-painted turkey feathers for the palm trees, and cooked sugar on top of tin foil for the water. See some behind the scenes of Paradise below.
Albanese is releasing his new book, Strange Worlds, in October but you can preorder it online here.
Images from Matthew Albanese