Animal Media Group

Elgin Park

by Michael Paul Smith

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Michael Paul Smith’s Elgin Park is a lot of things: a mid-century utopia, a fantastical world, and an optical illusion. The imaginative town – composed entirely of miniatures – delights audiences worldwide, attracting to date more than 76 million views on Flickr.

At first glance, Michael’s work appears to be wonderful photographs from a bygone era. The awe slips in as it becomes clear that he not only created the photographs – without using Photoshop – but also built everything in each scene except the cars, which are 1/24th-scale diecast models from his extensive collection.

Michael constructs much of what is barely visible in the photos: shoeboxes, furniture, stage lights, a lawnmower, and machines in the laundromat. A close inspection of each photograph takes your breath away: even the gravel, snow, and tire tracks are to scale.

Many of the photographs were taken outdoors against natural backgrounds in the artist’s neighborhood – but the models, scenarios, stories, and humor are pure talent and imagination.

Although the photographs are strong enough to stand alone as the main character of this delightful book, there’s another story: how a humble recluse who doesn’t even own a car has created an online community – a global neighborhood of young and old, male and female, many asking the same question: How does this guy do this?

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Like photographs pulled from shoeboxes in dusty attics, the images form a parade of memories that, one by one, reveal the focal points and quiet corners of the small town of Elgin Park. Jim Koscs, NYTimes