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It’s That

It’s Nice That have been in touch about 2 themes they’re running on their website; Student of the Month and Graduates of 2011. If you’re interested in having your work profiled on the site please get in touch with Bryony at ‘It’s Nice That’ [bryony -at- itsnicethat.com] with a folio of your work or link to your website.

“How do I miniaturise this photo?”

For a while now, whenever I search the name of a town or city in Flickr, after a few photographs (usually pretty good) I come across a distorted photograph, blurred around the edges with a central point of focus. I wonder to myself, is this a model? And with such a high level of detail, the person responsible must be some sort of model making genius. But hang-on, one of the tags is “tilt-shift”, and wait, what’s all these groups the photo belongs to? “Tilt Shift Miniature Fakes” (6,917 members) and “Photoshop Tilt-shift” (245 members). Why are there so many people trying to make real life situations look so… miniature?

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“VW Small Cylinder” by Monkey Traffic

I am wondering why tilt-shift has become such an phenomena. I wonder if there is anybody truly passionate about the concept of making something real resemble a surreal, miniature version of itself. In an attempt to find out more I go further into these groups and read some of the discussion topics. But all I can find here is discussions about the technique and process, such as, “How do I make people look plastic?” and my favourite “Automatic Tilt Shift Blur with Airplane Jet Engine Exhaust Method?”. Here I learn that the process is quite simple, you can either use specialist camera equipment or you can just use Photoshop. And as you probably suspect, most people use the latter. According to various tutorials, the trick is to blur the top and bottom of the image to create an impression of a short depth of field, whilst boosting the saturation so the image looks like a painted model.

I think in the explanation of the process I have found my answer. Technically, it is not a difficult effect to achieve, and I think this level of ease is what has prompted so many people (there are 17,000 photographs in one group) to simply ‘have a go’. There is no concept behind this technique, as well as there being no serious critique. They are simply made (with no concept) and then exist (with no purpose). And with the nature of images on the internet, they will always remain there, swimming around in Flickr and Google Image Searches, becoming more and more of a cliché every day.