At first glance, Michael Paul Smith's Flickr photo stream might look like behind-the-scenes footage of one of our favorite 50s-era TV shows. (Donald Draper, is that you?) But upon closer inspection -- which in this case actually requires you to take a step back -- the retro cars and vintage homes are much smaller than they appear. They're diorama-size to be exact.
"The images of Elgin Park span the time frame of 1920 through 1966," Smith tells the Huffington Post of the fictitious town he created based on childhood memories and the 295 photos he took of dioramas depicting it. "It is a period of American culture that I find fascinating," he said.
Smith's dream-like reconstructions are set against outdoor backdrops in and around where he lives today in Winchester, Massachusetts, though they're inspired by his boyhood memories of Pittsburgh, as Messy Nessy blog, where we spotted the project, explains.
The hobby, which began with Smith constructing model car kits at the age of 12, has evolved by way of his varied stints as a wallpaper hanger, illustrator, painter, museum display designer, advertising art director, architectural model builder, amateur historian and photographer. Now, in addition to cars, Smith makes buildings and interiors from scratch out of Gator board, styrene plastic and numerous found objects.
To bring it all together, Smith employs what he describes as the oldest trick in the special effects book: lining up a model with an appropriate background and shooting it.
Take a look at Smith's labor of love, "Elgin Park," in the slideshow below and more "behind the scenes" shots explaining the process and ongoing story lines of the town over on his Flickr page.
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