2 Jul 2015

The Paper Doll

Have you ever wanted to walk around inside your dollhouse?

Well, I've tried.

Several times actually.

And while I am currently pulling out hair trying to get my custom dollhouse structure built (4th time re-cutting the walls, now in MDF, which is a winner), tracking down materials, and slicing hundreds of little planks of veneer to complete the floor (so many!)...
I thought I might share with you some of my previous miniature work from before I started this blog.  I know I've linked to these images before but I thought it would be nice to have a post about it right on the site.

Through the years I have tried different ways of inserting myself inside the miniature space by video, physically (above), or most often by including a paper cut out of myself (below), which I referred to as the paper doll.  That was the inspiration for my blog name when I started.

Below are some images from different series I have done.  They are printed large scale, some as big as 30 x 20 inches.  If you want you can see more images here.

For the first series I did I used real drywall for walls, popsicle sticks, pen pieces, and food tubs.  I really focused on the lighting and how it played in the space.

I then started adding in a paper cut out version of myself into the scenes and adding a bit of whimsy into the narrative.  It meant shooting twice, once just me and the second of the miniature room and the cut out picture of myself in the scene.

And then things got a little fancy, I went from drywall to foam board and I could suddenly make rooms very quick and with a lot more windows.  Lighting played the biggest role in all my decisions.

I also created some deconstructed miniature spaces too.

I developed a style that was kind of dark and a little haunting.  Why is the girl always alone and in the dark?  This was always such a difficult question because that wasn't how I wanted to work.  I felt limited by my ability to cast a realistic light into the scene and keep the whole thing lit.  If you've ever tried to photograph your miniature in a realistic manner you know how crucial and how crazy difficult this is to do.

Enter my favourite series yet, the one that I feel best represents my choice of narrative and style.  Bright and colourful with a whimsical narrative that balances the uncanny and the everyday.

A couple of you mentioned lighting backdrops for windows in the comments last time, while this isn't a how-to by any means right now I do have some tips.  I've learned that when lighting miniatures you need all the light you can get.  You need diffused light into the front of the space and anywhere else you can get it (basically have a bright space around the roombox or dollhouse) as well as a single separate direct light into the windows on top of the diffused light.  This one light should mimic how the sun casts the light in your own home.  I like to use paper backdrops in all my scenes so this means configuring the lights so that you can accommodate both the lights and the paper backdrop.  I know, I know it's hard to explain without pictures. Maybe sometime in the future.

Now I do have some good news.  While I have been away for (glup!) months mostly redo-ing things you've seen already like walls and windows, the flooring is half done! So I will be posting about that next... and try not to disappear again ;)


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