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10 Great Masters of Tilt-Shift Photography

You might not recognize the term “tilt-shift” immediately, but you’ll certainly recognize the photo style when you see it. Essentially, the term covers a photograph that looks like it’s taken of a model, even though it’s actually an image of a full-scale scene or object. The name originates from the specific lens used to achieve the effect, although these days it is commonly achieved using effects in Photoshop instead. Of course if you really want to appreciate the technique, the best way is to see a few great examples of it, so here are ten artists who have truly mastered tilt-shift methods.

Olivo Barbieri

One of the cool things about using tilt-shift in a city is that it seems to erase the hustle and bustle of city life without actually taking away the area’s life forms. In fact, that was one of the things that inspired Olivo Barbieri to take on the medium. “I was a little bit tired of the idea of photography allowing you to see everything,” Barbieri says. “After 9/11 the world had become a little bit blurred because things that seemed impossible happened. My desire was to look at the city again.”

Vincent Laforet

While not all of Vincent Laforet’s works are tilt-shift images, he is considered a pioneer in the medium, and was even named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Photography” by American Photo. With beautiful shots like these that make modern living seem like some strange fantasy, it’s easy to see why.

Matt West

Of course, you don’t have to be a professional photographer with an unlimited budget for a helicopter and special lenses to achieve the tilt-shift perspective, especially since the advent of Photoshop. For example, Matt West was able to take this image from the roof of a parking garage. He just held the paintbrush in his left hand to create a forced perspective image and then added the tilt-shift effect at home with Photoshop for an unforgettable image that truly looks like the city is a miniature created by the photographer.

Ian Payne

Photoshop tilt-shifts can be quite impressive even without a forced perspective addition, as you can tell by this image of a New York City street scene by Ian Payne.

Serena Malyon

Even if you never appreciated the artistic merit of Photoshop manipulation before, Serena Malyon might be able to change your mind with her amazing take on the classic paintings of Vincent Van Gogh created for Artcyclopedia.

Malyon used Photoshop's tilt-shift techniques to focus in on specific aspects of Van Gogh’s artwork, creating an entirely new perspective on these oft-viewed paintings that allows viewers to notice details they may have never seen before.

Skrekkogle

Perhaps one of the coolest tilt-shift art projects ever thought up, though, was this one by the Skrekkogle art design group.

Noticing that people often use a coin to provide an instantly recognizable scale for any tiny object, the group opted to create a giant, 20:1 scale, fifty-cent Euro coin to make their tilt-shift images seem even more like tiny models.

As you can see, the result is that the already impressive tilt-shift images are even more convincing thanks to the presence of the massive coin.

Modest and Jill Janicki

Pier 39 might be one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of San Francisco, but thanks to Flickr users Modest and Jill Janicki, it looks like an entirely new and utterly unreal place in this great image. The sharp lines and detailed paint jobs on the buildings make this tilt-shift look even more like a miniature than most location shots using the technique.

William Mandra

This picture of Disney World’s Gold Dust Saloon from Big Thunder Mountain by William Mandra works for the same reason: the buildings are so unique and just-so-slightly cartoonish that your mind is more willing to accept that they are models than actual full-scale buildings.

Juan Pablo Mejia

The great thing about this tilt-shift by Juan Pablo Mejia is the way even the construction workers look like tiny model people designed only to add realism to a miniature cityscape.

Ronaldo Fonseca

Similarly, these soccer players from a game between Portugal and Denmark look more like accessories to a toy than highly-talented professional athletes, thanks to Ronaldo Fonseca’s use of tilt-shift.

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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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