CLOSE

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.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Art
The Simple Optical Illusion That Makes an Image Look Like It's Drawing Itself
iStock
iStock

Artist James Nolan Gandy invents robot arms that sketch intricate mathematical shapes with pen and paper. When viewed in real time, the effect is impressive. But it becomes even more so when the videos are sped up in a timelapse. If you look closely in the video below, the illustration appears to materialize faster than the robot can put the design to paper. Gizmodo recently explained how the illusion works to make it look like parts of the sketch are forming before the machine has time to draw them.

The optical illusion isn’t an example of tricky image editing: It’s the result of something called the wagon wheel effect. You can observe this in a car wheel accelerating down the highway or in propeller blades lifting up a helicopter. If an object makes enough rotations per second, it can appear to slow down, move backwards, or even stand still.

This is especially apparent on film. Every “moving image” we see on a screen is an illusion caused by the brain filling in the gaps between a sequence of still images. In the case of the timelapse video below, the camera captured the right amount of images, in the right order, to depict the pen as moving more slowly than it did in real life. But unlike the pen, the drawing formed throughout the video isn't subject to the wagon-wheel effect, so it still appears to move at full speed. This difference makes it look like the sketch is drawing itself, no pen required.

Gandy frequently shares behind-the-scenes videos of his mechanical art on his Instagram page. You can check out some of his non-timelapse clips like the one below to better understand how his machines work, then visit his website to browse and purchase the art made by his 'bots.

And if you think his stuff is impressive, make sure to explore some of the incredible art robots have made in the past.

[h/t Gizmodo]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Tessa Angus
arrow
Art
Surprising Sculptures Made From Fallen Feathers
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire is a British sculptor with an unusual medium: feathers. Her surreal, undulating works often take the form of installations—the feathers spilling out of a drain, a stove, a crypt wall—or stand-alone sculptures in which antique bell jars, cabinets, or trunks contain otherworldly shapes.

MccGwire developed her obsession with feathers after moving to a studio barge on the Thames in 2006, as she explains in a video from Crane.tv recently spotlighted by Boing Boing. The barge was near a large shed full of feral pigeons, whose feathers she would spot on her way to work. "I started picking them up and laying them out, collecting them," she remembers. "And after about two weeks I had like 300 feathers." At the time, concerns about bird flu were rife, which made the feathers seem "dangerous as well as beautiful."

When not supplied by her own next-door menagerie, the feathers for her artwork come from a network of racing pigeon societies all over the UK, who send her envelopes full every time the birds molt. Farmers and gamekeepers also send her fallen feathers from birds such as magpies, pheasants, and roosters.

The cultural associations around birds are a big part of what inspires MccGwire. “The dove is the symbol of peace, purity, and fertility," she told ArtNews in 2013, "but it’s exactly the same species as a pigeon—which everyone regards as being dirty, foul, a pest.”

The same duality is present in her own work, which she frequently shares on her Instagram account. “I want to seduce by what I do—but revolt in equal measure. It’s really important to me that you’ve got that rejection of things you think you know for sure.”

You can see some pictures of MccGwire's work, and watch the video from Crane.tv, below.

Kate MccGwire's installation "Evacuate"
Evacuate, 2010
J Wilde

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Convolous"
Convolous, 2015
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's installation "Gyre"
Gyre, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Gag"
Gag, 2009
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Writhe"
Writhe, 2010
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Quell"
Quell, 2011
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Taunt"
Taunt, 2012
Tessa Angus

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios