Building Futuristic Miniature Worlds with Photography

David LaChapelle and his crew are some of the industry’s best model builders, having built to scale models of buildings and landscapes for multiple blockbuster movies. When not building a model cityscape for a film set, LaChapelle dedicates his time to a project he calls LAND SCAPE. Part miniature photography, part landscape photography, the project is a curious mix of photography techniques that is sure to inspire. Take a look at the two-part video series below to go on a backstage tour of the making of LAND SCAPE:

The LAND SCAPE project stemmed out of a series of similar photos LaChapelle had taken of gas stations that he had built. He has now moved on to expand that collection adding refineries to the collection.

Some of the structure is lit by assistants waving LED lights over it during exposure.

Some of the structure is lit by assistants waving LED lights over it during exposure.

Having scouted locations already, LaChapelle takes his crew and the refinery out to the desert, where they spend an entire day and part of the night photographing them from various angles and in various lighting situations. As you can see, the team doesn’t travel lightly. Alongside their PhaseOne camera, they also have an entire workstation–complete with an iMac and power supply.

miniature photography

What LaChapelle creates is even more than impressive than he thought possible. The tiny glowing structures come to life in the photographs with a futuristic believability to them.

“In any of my photographs I want to express something or say something. Communicate. For me a picture isn’t finished until a viewer connects with it. That’s the sort of magic of art in general, just communicating something to someone else.”

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