the archivist May 23, 2020

Elgin Park: Visual Memories Of Midcentury America at 1/24th ScaleReview: Elgin Park: Visual Memories Of Midcentury America at 1/24th Scale

This book reflects an interesting and unique project by artist Michael Paul Smith: he has created a fictional mid-century town. Using historically accurate car models (from the Franklin Mint and other sources), his own model buildings and roads, and his outdoor surroundings, he stages photographs that look remarkably real. It was especially interesting to see how he plays with the lighting in indoor and night scenes. Smith’s photographs went viral on Flickr, creating a community of people who want to live in the imaginary world of Elgin Park. The authors have included some of the comments left on the photographs, but to me, these could have been skipped as the images and Michael’s own explanations are compelling on their own. In an interesting coincidence, I used to live in the next town over from where many of these photographs were taken, and have seen some of the featured buildings many times, so it was interesting to see them moonlighting in the dream world of Elgin Park!

Public library | Amazon