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Quarantined Travel Photographer Creates Miniature “Outdoor” Scenes With Everyday Objects

Indoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin Sullivan

When Los Angeles-based writer and travel photographer Erin Sullivan found herself stuck inside due to COVID-19 lockdowns, she wanted to find a way to keep her imagination and creative practice alive. Using food and other objects she found around the house, she began creating miniature outdoor scenes featuring toy figurines. Aptly titled Our Great Indoors, her fantastic “nature photography” series allows her 150k+ Instagram followers to still share her love of neverending nature.

“When California started going into lockdown mid-March, I began thinking about how I could stay creative and connected to travel/the outdoors while I stayed home,” Sullivan tells My Modern Met. “I had the idea to create adventure scenes using household objects and ordered a handful of model train figures so that I would have a sense of scale in the images. I kept having ideas for new scenes, so I continued the series.”

The resourceful photographer’s first miniature scene—titled Pillow Ice Caves—comprises pillows, pillowcases, and a pair of tiny explorers in a canoe. Since then, Sullivan’s portfolio has expanded to feature all sorts of everyday objects, but her shots with food are particularly impressive. In one image, stacks of pancakes are repurposed as canyons, while trickling golden syrup looks like a river. In another photo, Sullivan created a broccoli forest from the green vegetable and placed a tiny hiker in the scene.

Each little landscape is planned out in advance and shot with clever lighting so that it looks just like the real outdoors. “I try to get very clear on the idea for a scene before I start to assemble it,” Sullivan reveals. “Once I have an idea and sketch it out, it can take me 10 minutes to an hour to set up a scene, then usually 30-60 minutes to photograph it. Sometimes things don't go the way I planned, so I just try to stay open to changes and to enjoy the experimentation part of the process.”

Scroll down for some of Sullivan’s photos from her Our Great Indoors series, and then follow her on Instagram for more.

When Erin Sullivan was stuck in quarantine, she decided to use food and other household items to create nature photography shots—but in miniature.

Indoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin Sullivan

Each image from her Our Great Indoors series is carefully composed and photographed to look as though it's really shot outdoors in nature.

Indoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin Sullivan

Here's a peek into Sullivan's photoshoots:

Indoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanIndoor Miniature Nature Photography by Erin SullivanErin Sullivan: Website | Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Erin Sullivan.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.

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