Micheal Paul Smith

About The Artist:

Micheal Paul Smith is an artist whose work concerns small toys in the place of real life objects, therefore, making realistic scenes through the use of plastic toys and thoughtful placement. He then photographs these scenes in a way that makes them look very convincing. He makes these photographs by creating a 1:24 scale ratio to recreate everyday scenes from the mid 20th century to -mid 60s America.

How did it begin?

Smith started off with an interest in making scale models of objects as well as an interest in photography. This combination later grew into something magical. He used his sculptural skills and photography skills to create convincing photographs of olden day scenes. Smith wanted to recreate the town in which he grew up in which was a town in America in the 20th century to mid 60s. His work is not an exact replica of the town he grew up in but it does what he wants it to do and that is to create the feeling of the town he grew up in and bring back his childhood memories.

How is it made?

The buildings are constructed of resin-coated paper, styrene plastic, and basswood, plus numerous found objects. The vehicles are from Michael’s collection of 300+ commercially produced, diecast models.

These photographs were all made through the use of placement. No Photoshop was used in these images; they’re all composed in the camera. He refers to it as  the oldest trick in the special effects book: lining up a model with an appropriate background, then photographing it.

How does his work relate to my work?

I am interested in a similar idea that Smith uses within his work. For my final project I am interested in taking recognizable items/objects, constructing a sculpture and then using photography to make the objects look like much more then they really are. Through photography I will change the reality of the object so it is seen as something different then what it is seen as in person. This relates to Smith’s work because he builds structures and then uses photography to change the structure he built into realistic photographs of a fictional town.

Progress photos vs final photos :


His Links:








In Photo I we often discuss how photographic seeing is fundamentally different from biological seeing. This is a great example of how photography extends our figurative and literal/scientific vision. 
Image of Saturn from The New York Times article, 100 Images From Cassini’s Mission To Saturn

More about Cassini and the end of it’s mission on Friday, September 14, 2017 when it vaporized into space. The Internet’s boyfriend Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium) tweeted:


More about Erik Kessels

Erik Kessels, 24 Hours of Photos One day of  upload to photo sharing sites, printed.

We’ve talked about Erik Kessels work in various photo classes. Aperture magazine started an Instagram account in conjunction with Kessel’s upcoming exhibition and book. So, that’s right, it’s a social media account displaying photographs from an artist who selected the images from photo uploading sites. It’s great!

Instagram: the.many.lives.of.erik.kessels



Photos from a comet. A COMET!

Image from the New York Times.

The European Space Agency did it! Philae has landed. On a comet! A comet!

People! A comet!

Read more here. (writing without excessive exclamation points)

The comet is very far away (duh) but this story has local connections. A University of Guelph Physics professor, Ralf Gellert, helped develop the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS), that will measure the comet’s elemental ingredients. You can read about Professor Gellert here and here.

And if you want to follow live feeds and videos and twitter updates, all that info is on the European Space Agency website.


What is Photography? : Touchable Memories

During our brainstorming class last week someone (Alison–I think it was you?) was thinking about how photography translates the 3D world into 2D experience.

Well, what if that process were reversed?

‘touchable memories’ by pirate3D, turns photographs into 3D-printed objects for people without vision. the social experiment project aims to increase the awareness of the endless possibilities of using technology to improve lives. using an affordable home printer called buccaneer, the visually-impaired can re-experience images by fabricating a tangible scene of it.

More information: Here


Some help for you

Hand pointing, light beams in backgroundWhether it’s Google Earth, Facebook, or Selfies many of you are thinking about the intersection between social media and photography.

THIS is a short, great essay on the problems of the selfie.

Others of you (BOGDAN–I’m talking to you) are thinking about the life cycle of images: their creation, transmission, storage, searchability, etc. You need to know about the Hillman Photography Initiative.

From the Hillman Photography Initiative website:

The Hillman Photography Initiative at Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) investigates the lifecycle of images: their creation, transmission, consumption, storage, potential loss, and reemergence. Technology accelerates the pace of this cycle, and often alters or redirects the trajectory of an image in unexpected, powerful ways.

The Hillman Photography Initiative is an incubator for innovative thinking on the photographic image. The Initiative centers around four projects that, taken together, investigate the boundaries and possibilities of photography through the way that an image travels. Conceived through an open, discursive process, unique in a museum setting, these projects include live public events at the museum, a pop-up reading room in the galleries, two collaborative web-based projects, and a series of commissions, including documentary videos, art projects, and writing. This website is designed to foster public conversations around the larger story that these four projects tell, and knit them together in a single experience.


The Hillman Photography Initiative has so many cool projects: Orphaned Images, The Invisible Photography, I’m especially excited for the upcoming issue about Physics and photographic processes! (nerd), and This Picture, which asks people to stop, look and respond to one image at a time. One image at a time—how we should all be looking. Looking, not swiping through SnapChat and Instagram.

Abelardo Morell

Camera Obscura: Early Morning View of the East Side of Midtown Manhattan, 2014

Abelardo Morell, Camera Obscura: Early Morning View of the East Side of Midtown Manhattan, 2014

Just some inspiration for your What is Photography? assignment. This image is by Abelardo Morell. He creates custom camera obscura, often turning an entire room into a camera, and then photographs the camera-less image. So what you’re looking at is a photograph of an image produced by a camera obscura. Got it?

The image is from Morell’s upcoming exhibition at Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York.


Marco Breuer Untitled (Fuse), gelatin silver paper, burned, 1996

Marco Breuer
Untitled (Fuse), gelatin silver paper, burned, 1996

You feel like the cord to the mother ship has been cut,” she said, “and now you’re floating in space.” Carol Squiers, curator of What is a Photograph?

Exhibition at International Center of Photography.
NYTimes Review

What are we talking about when we talk about photography? (with apologies to Raymond Carver).
A copy of the catalog for WHAT IS A PHOTOGRAPHY is available for browsing in the digital lab.


The Edge of Vision, Revisited.
The Edge of Vision VIDEO INTERVIEWS!
Lyle Rexer explains the book’s concept


Helsinki School

| Video at MOMA | Abstract Art or Photography
New Photography (2009) at MOMA | Blog with interviews and video

At Marc Foxx gallery |

website | exhibition at New York Hortcultural Society of New York

| website | The Day Nobody Died | Interview | At MOMA in the New Photography Show

General link for the New Photography Show at MOMA

At Yossi Milo Gallery | Interview in St.Lucy

website | Artist in Residence at the AGO

Article/Interview in BorderCrossings

2013 Le Mois de la Photo a Montreal

Dronestagram | description of project

Article about Penelope Umbrico



Risa Horowitz
Imaging Saturn (images) | Imaging Saturn blog

Interview about banal but significant objects  | Talking about her work in FeatureShoot.

Photograms for the New Age | At Gagosian Gallery

Website | Video at ICP

website | In Camera-less photography at V&A musuem

CAMERA-LESS PHOTOGRAPHY at the Victoria and Albert Musuem
Directory of Artists (videos) |  Camera-less photography techniques




Sarah Anne Johnson
At Stephen Bulger | Article in Border Crossings


Jessica Eaton

Evan Lee


This list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to augment the list in the comments!

Robin Rhode | Interview with the artist
Thomas Demand
Holly Roberts
Molly Springfield
Laurie Simmons
Ann Hamilton (sculptor)
Andy Goldsworthy
Thomas Demand
Ruth Thorne Thomsen
Christian Boltanski
Robert Parke Harrison
Dieter Appelt
David Levinthal
Helen Van Meene
Abelardo Morell (amazing camera obscura)
Vik Muniz
Sigmar Polke
Gordon Matta-Clark
Aspen Mays

(Interviews with photographers)



Go here. It’s an amazing resource of artists.

And, to help you think about what you’re deconstructing:
You might want to watch: David Hockney’s, A Secret Knowledge, (part 1), (part 2), (part 3).

Paul Chiappe!

These are tiny tiny tiny drawings, based on vintage, found, photographs. Go here for more information.

Tim’s Vermeer, in Guelph!

Tim’s Vermeer!

I’ve mentioned the camera obscura and the film Tim’s Vermeer in both Photo I and Photo III. The movie is in Guelph, this week, at the Bookshelf Cinema.  If you’re old-fashioned enough to see movies legally, check it out. It’s playing Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 and Friday at 7pm.

Here is the Rotten Tomatoes Review | Globe and Mail review

Don’t remember what I’m talking about? Review the camera obscura and its profound impact on the history of image making and painting here.

Before Dronestagram…


All Images are from the NPR Picture Show blog. Lawrence with the 49-pound “Captive Airship.” Courtesy of the Lawrence Family

Before drones (and projects like Dronestagram) were used for photographic surveillance, people relied on balloons, kites and pigeons.  The camera in the above image was large enough to shoot large format film and required 9-17 kites to lift it.

San Francisco Bay, 1906

Read the rest of the article and see more images here.


A selection of images and pigeon cams | more about the origins, history and application | uses during war | The Pigeon Spy |