Specializing in miniatures, photographer Adam Makarenko fabricates planets that could fit in the palm of your hand. Using these celestial bodies as his muses, Makarenko creates and photographs dioramas that look like extraterrestrial worlds.
Each diorama illustrates the artist's skillful, sci-fi approach to small-scale sculpture. With a focus on exoplanets, he hand-creates orbs that look like they could be captured through the lens of a telescope. “I am really inspired by the search for life, and the search for other planets,” Makarenko admits to us in an email. “It's only a matter of time before we discover life elsewhere. It just shows us how little we know, and how little we have discovered yet. We have just barely scratched the surface of our galaxy. This search, and the discoveries are as limitless as our own imaginations.”
Even with this space-inspired theme, his pieces exhibit a range in subject matter and composition. Some show the exoplanets floating in space, while others focus on the textures of the terrain. Given the level of detail and effort apparent in each tiny scene, the simplicity of Makarenko's materials and mediums is surprising. To craft the planets, he molds plaster around foundations made of foam spheres (planetary rings are actually long-exposure photographs of colorful, spinning paper). Similarly, his surfaces are composed of industrial ferric chloride, cement, and paint. Finally, to create his starry sky backgrounds, he simply backlights black paper that has been hole-punched.
Once his models are complete, Makarenko captures them with his camera. He photographs the components of each scene separately, and then uses Photoshop to create a composite image—though he likes to keep any digital edits minimal.
Makarenko currently has an ambitious goal of creating 1,000 exoplanets over the course of the year. To see more of the photographer's out-of-this-world oeuvre and keep up with the project, zoom over to his Instagram.