As you can see, the miniature studio is extremely detailed. Alamedy created everything from scratch using various materials (mostly wood, copper, and paper). He faithfully recreated over 100 miniature objects for the space, from tiny large format cameras to the frames and photos on the walls.
“There were lots of challenges, especially when I was doing the research,” Alamedy writes. “I could find only few pictures from old studios all in white and black.”
In addition to referencing the old photos of old photo studios, Alamedy also researched the state of photography of the time to find out how photographers operated and what tools and techniques they used. The extensive research allowed Alamedy to faithfully recreate the look and feel of the early days of photography.
When Switzerland-based photographers Joakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger have some down time between projects, they work on an ambitious photo project of their own. Since 2012, the duo has been recreating some of the most iconic photos captured throughout history… as miniature tabletop dioramas.
The duo started their Icons project with a recreation of “Rhein II,” the photograph by Andreas Gursky that sold for $4.3 million back in 2011, becoming the world’s most expensive photograph.
Here’s the miniature version they created followed by the original photo it was based on by Andreas Gursky:
After deciding on which shot to recreate, Cortis and Sonderegger collect the materials they need to make the scene look realistic. Things like model cars and airplanes, cement, paper, cotton balls, and more.
Each recreation is highly detailed and extremely faithful to the original shot. Projects take from 1-2 days up to 2-3 weeks to complete, depending on the complexity of the original photo.
Here are photographs in the series so far, followed by the famous images they were made to look like:
The world’s first photo by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce
Abu Ghraib photo by an unknown US soldier
Mont Blanc by Louis-Auguste Bisson & Auguste-Rosalie Bisson
The crash of the Concorde by Toshihiko Sato
Hindenberg disaster at Lakehurst by Sam Shere
The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki by Charles Levy
Footstep on the moon by Edwin Aldrin
Munich massacre by Ludwig Wegmann
Hoax photo of the Loch Ness monster
The Battle of Broodseinde by Ernest Brooks
Tankman on Tiananmen Square by Stuart Franklin
The Wright Brothers’ first flight John Thomas Daniels
Cortis and Sonderegger say that this is an ongoing project, and that they hope to publish the photographs as a book in the future.
Tokyo-based artist Satoshi Araki is a man whose eye for the detail is immediately evident when you look at his dioramas… if you can even tell they’re dioramas, that is.
For each miniature, Araki painstakingly plans out the layout of his trashed and scattered street scenes and photographs in such a way that, often, you’d be hard-pressed to identify them as dioramas at all..
The 45-year-old artist makes a living by crafting many of the items seen in the scenes he photographs, but in his free time, he enjoys putting his skills to use creating photographs of urban decay and war-torn streets.
Araki uses a variety of materials to create the lifelike scenes — from styrofoam to die-cast cars — sculpting and painting them to perfection. When he needs ideas, he says a simple Google image search gets the job done, providing him with enough visual inspiration to bring the pieces of plastic and styrofoam to life.
From miniature newspapers to Coke cans with Arabic branding, the meticulous nature of his work is truly impressive. Here are a set of images of his dioramas, as well as some behind the scenes images for scale:
What you see above is a “map” of Paris created by collaging thousands of photographs shot in the city. It’s just one of the amazing pieces in Japanese photographer Sohei Nishino‘s Diorama Map project. The series contains maps of many of the world’s most famous cities, and all of them are photographed and collaged by hand.
To create each diorama map, Nishino visits a city and shoots thousands of photographs while walking around within them. His goal is to capture his personal memory of traveling around that city, and this stage often takes weeks — or even months.
Hundreds of rolls of black-and-white film and tens of thousands of photographs later, he develops and prints the film himself in a personal darkroom, brings everything into his studio, and then begins to edit them. He selects thousands of photographs that are representative of what he would like to show, and then sets to work creating a collage.
Using a sketch of the city’s layout on a giant white canvas, he spends months cutting photographs and gluing them onto the map in the locations they belong. The maps are not meant to be accurate recreations of exactly what a city looks like from above, but are instead more representative of his personal memory and experiences.
The process is tedious, but Nishino still manages to produce them at a rate of about three per year.
Here are some of the diorama maps he has created so far:
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
New York City, New York
Hong Kong, China
Here are a couple of time-lapse videos showing Nishino creating one of his diorama maps:
Some photographers have made names for themselves by creating and photographing extremely detailed dioramas: miniature tabletop scenes that are so realistic that viewers often mistake them for the real world. Belgian photographers Maxime Delvaux and Kevin Laloux of 354 Photographers have put an interesting spin on the diorama photo concept by Photoshopping real people into their miniature scenes. The series is titled “Box“.
Each of the scenes tells a dark and dreary story, and was built over the course of a few days inside a cardboard box.
As with other photo projects we’ve featured in which perspective is important, Delvaux and Laloux arranged the diorama’s objects while looking through the viewfinder of a fixed camera.
Once they’ve finalized what the diorama will look like, the next step in the challenge is to photograph the human subjects in a way that blends in seamlessly with the scene. They pay careful attention to position and lighting while photographing each person, and then carefully composite them into the diorama using Photoshop.