Strange Worlds


At first glance, images of surreal landscapes by artist Matthew Albanese appear so unbelievably real that it is impossible to imagine that they are in fact photographs of dioramas. Through his series ‘Strange Worlds’, the artist demonstrates that it is possible to create something extraordinary out of very ordinary everyday materials. Using a wide range of materials he constructs highly elaborate dioramas meticulously built over months which he then photographs with careful attention to details such as scale, depth of field, white balance, and lighting. The result is convincingly real images of magical landscapes from a strange world.

Matthew Albanese describes himself as a day dreamer and has always been fascinated by miniature models and magical terrains. He was first inspired by the idea of ‘tricking the eye’ when he spilled paprika over his kitchen counter. The colors and textures of paprika motivated him to create a Martian landscape. He has continued creating illusions by using materials in unexpected ways; ostrich feathers become willow trees and steel wool is transformed into a tornado.

The artwork elicits a range of emotions within the viewer. Molten lava flowing from a volcano or a tornado ripping through the landscape are in themselves captivating and formidable scenes but on realizing that they are only images of miniatures, one experiences wonder and perhaps some amusement. Looking more closely at the level of detail and choice of materials, one is filled with awe and admiration for the skill and ingenuity of the artist.

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