A Tiny Day in the Jackson Hole Backcountry went up a week ago and I’ve been completely overwhelmed – in the best sort of way – by the response. So thanks, internet, and all my friends and everyone else who has spread this thing all over the place.
Just a quick bit about influences – it’s hard to pick a moment when I first became aware of tilt-shift faked miniatures. 2008 was a banner year for tilt-shifters, optical and digital – Vincent Laforet published a few shots from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Keith Loutit started making his beautiful videos that now stand as cornerstones of the animated miniature video world. I remember reading a Communication Arts where Salt Lake photographer Matthew Turley won an award for some recent work, including some photos with highly irregular focal planes. I absolutely love his work – Turley shoots a whole lot with a view camera, which of course can move the focal plane all over the place (so technically people have been tilting and shifting things since the view camera was invented back in the 1800s) and create some really great focal manipulations. In reading up on tilt-shift miniatures, I’ve become familiar with Olivo Barbieri, who is something of a pioneering figure and has produced some really incredibly images. And there’s also Sam O’Hare’s stunning Coachelleta, which I posted back in October. In any case, I was along for a paragliding ride during the summer of 2008 and took a shot of Teton Village from the air, during the construction of the new tram, and this was the resulting photo that got me thinking about a miniature project of my own, posted as the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Photo of the Day on Sept. 22, 2008:
Since then I’ve been thinking about how to work the look into my ongoing photography, and had always wanted to make a short ski movie. I’ve always liked shooting tiny people amongst huge landscapes (see photos below – and this one), so aside from the post-production and animation, the Tiny JH project was similar to things I’d been shooting all along. The final motivating push was Switchback’s Whistler XXS earlier this winter – finally someone gave the big mountains a miniature treatment, not to mention that they did it in spectacular fashion. I moved back to Jackson from San Francisco in mid-January, and started shooting/experimenting soon thereafter – though with a slightly different intent than anything I’d seen before. More on that… another time.
Mini People/Big Landscapes Gallery: