Model maker and photographer Michael Paul Smith has expertly combined his two crafts to create a series of images that make his intricate model cars look like life-sized vehicles on the road. The multifaceted artist, who has been handcrafting scale models for over 25 years, cleverly uses forced perspectives to give a seamless synchronization between his imaginary town called Elgin Park and environmental settings in real life.
In an interview with Fstoppers, Smith says, “My project Elgin Park came about from a need to put my 300 diecast model car collection into some sort of physical context. Even though they looked interesting lined up my shelves, all they did was sit there.” After making the decision to embark on this illusive project, the photographer used techniques employed in 1920s films. He explains, “Because it was too expensive to create massive full size sets outside, detailed models were created and placed at the correct distance behind the actors to create the illusion of a city or some fantasy location.”
Unlike the visual effects specialists and film experts who measure distance and use a great deal of math to precisely map out the placement of models, so as to get the most effective illusion, Smith is a self-professed person who is “math challenged.” Instead, the artist relies on his keen eye to place his tiny props in convincing compositions. What makes Smith's project all the more impressive is the fact that he captures his images with a simple $200 point and shoot, rather than opting for a fancy SLR.