Friday, March 31, 2017

The most realistic photography I've ever seen of scale model dioramas

Wow, that's a title full of hyperbole. Like so much of that clickbait crap one encounters on the internet: "The most amazing [insert ridiculous claim here]... you won't believe what happened next!" However, I chose my words carefully. The photos below by one very talented Russian modeller are the most amazing and realistic diorama photos I've ever encountered, and have given me a new benchmark to aim for in photographing my own work.

Now I'll begin this by saying I have no copyright of any of these shots. None of the work is mine, I just want to share something that is worth sharing. All images are taken from the following link, and remain the property of their original owner:

With that out of the way, let's get stuck in.

A few months back I saw shared on Facebook the following shots of a German airfield in winter. They blew my mind. The winter scene looks so real, the early morning light is so perfect, the real trees in the background so seamless! I was in awe. Foolishly, I did not save the post and as things do on Facebook, it scrolled on and on and I lost the images and attribution. But the images stayed in my mind as an inspiration.

If those were black and white images, I honestly could not have picked that this was a diorama rather than a real shot from the 1940s.

And now I have found more by the same modeller, Boris Karaev from Saint Petersburg, who also goes by the forum name KarBor, and he is a master at shooting his dioramas so that they look like real life scenes. The dioramas are great, but the carefully thought-out photography is just world class.

Here is another series of shots based around a diorama set in Stalingrad:

Here is a series around Belgium in winter 1944:

And finally here are some set in the battle for Kharkov:

All images in this blog post copyright KarBor.

This isn't all of them. I encourage you to visit the link above and see the rest for yourself.

What I love about these is that Boris just gets every element right:

  • The camera angle is spot on. 
  • He shoots on days when the weather matches the scene he has modelled - look at the Kharkov series there, Boris was standing outside on a freezing cold snowy day to get those shots. 
  • The light and sky are just right. 
  • The location just matches his diorama perfectly.
  • There is no clear line between where the diorama groundwork ends and where the real ground begins. 
  • And my favourite touch - it is a 360 degree setup: he takes shots from all angles, and the background buildings or trees match the diorama scene from every angle, not just from one perfect position.

So as I said, I have a new benchmark to aim for when I am photographing my own dioramas. Sadly, we don't get many snowy days here in Australia, so I might struggle to find a snowy mid-20th Century factory as a background for my Russian dioramas!

I tip my hat to you, KarBor. That is stunning, my friend, and I just had to share your work with my audience.



1 comment:

  1. Indeed, both his model work and photography are spot on. Thanks for sharing.