Title: Elgin Park
Author: Michael Paul Smith and Gail K. Ellison
Page Count/Review Word Count: 368
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
Elgin Park is a magical place, a place that’s preserved in time somewhere between the 1940s and 1960s in 1/24th scale. It’s a place that I’d love to visit, but that I can’t because it doesn’t exist. It’s a place that thousands of people across the world still call home, thanks to one man – Michael Paul Smith.
Smith is the creator of Elgin Park, which is essentially a fictional representation of mid-century America which is told through models at 1/24th scale. Despite the fact that none of the town’s residents are shown in the photographs that Smith takes, which he then uploads to his popular Flickr site, Elgin Park always feels lived in, and indeed half-open doors and the remnants of rainfall help to give you the sense that there’s someone there, just out of shot.
But what’s really fascinating about Smith’s work is the way in which he uses perspective to blend his models with real-life – this book contains many of his set-up shots and his behind the scenes explanations, and so you get a feel for how much effort one model and one shot must really take.
Smith is by no means a professional modeller, but he makes his models to a professional standard; likewise, he’s no pro photographer, preferring instead to use a point and shoot device on its default settings. But it does the job, and in the same way that Bob Dylan’s shaky voice adds authenticity to his lyrics, Smith’s photography seems to make even the models themselves look more authentic.
Overall, I’m a convert – I’d never heard of Elgin Park before I was asked to review the book, but I’m glad that I’ve discovered it. In the end, it just leaves an overall feeling of fuzziness, like when you smell something nice that you haven’t smelled for years and it starts to trigger memories. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone with an interest in creative, cool stuff. So visit Elgin Park!