At first glance, these vivid landscape images look they were taken by a professional photographer. Upon further investigation, you’d probably be shocked to find out that they are actually fabricated miniature dioramas made from simple household materials. Each scene in Albanese’s “Strange World” series took about one month to complete.
“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,” says New Jersey-based photographer Matthew Albanese. “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.”
“Wildfire” (above) was made from wood, moss, yellow glitter, clear garbage bags, cooked sugar, scotch-brite pot scrubbers, bottle brushes, clipping from a bush in bloom (white flowers) clear thread, sand, tile grout (coloring), wire, paper and alternating yellow, red and orange party bulbs.
Tornado – Steel wool, cotton, ground parsley and moss.
DIY Paradise – Cotton, salt, cooked sugar, tin foil, feathers and canvas.
Palm Trees – Styled feathers
Icebreaker – 25 pounds of sugar cooked at varying temperatures (hard crack & pulled sugar recipes) It’s basically made out of candy. salt, egg whites, corn syrup, cream of tartar, powdered sugar, blue food coloring, India ink and flour.
Salt Water Falls – Glass, plexiglass, tile grout, moss, twigs, salt, painted canvas and dry ice. The waterfall was created from a time exposure of falling table salt.
The Lake – Tile grout, moss, bottle brushes (pine trees) Actual clippings from ground cover and was built on top of standard outdoor patio table (water glass). The sky is canvas painted blue.
Aurora Borealis – This one was made by photographing a beam of colored light against a black curtain to achieve the edge effect. The trees were composited from life. The stars are simply strobe light through holes in cork board.
Fields, After the Storm – Faux fur (fields), cotton (clouds) and sifted tile grout (mountains).
Burning Room – Wood, nylon, plexiglass and purchased dollhouse furniture. The model was actually set on fire to achieve this effect.
Sugarland – 20 pounds of sugar, jello and corn syrup. The crystals were grown in-studio over the course of two months.
Mars – 12 pounds paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder and charcoal.
Mars II – Paprika, cinnamon, thyme, chili powder, charcoal,
Volcano – Tile grout, cotton, phosphorous ink. Illuminated from within by six 60 watt light bulbs.
Everything We Ever Were – It took two months to store up enough fireplace ash to create this lunar landscape. The darker rocks are made of mixed tile grout, flag crumpled paper & wire. The Earth is a video still projected onto the wall. Inspired by the Apollo 11 mission.