Lines and Colors art blog

Michael Paul Smith

Michael Paul Smith
I don’t normally feature photography on Lines and Colors, not that I don’t think of photography as an art form; I just feel that it’s dealt with better on many other sites, and seems different enough to be in a separate category from the art forms I feature.

But the photographs of Michael Paul Smith just charmed my socks off, and there is more to them then excellent photography. In the images you see above, the houses, cars and streets are 1/24th scale (1/2 inch = 1 foot; 1 m = 4.16 cm).

The cars are die-cast models; the buildings are built by Smith, constructed out of Gator board, plastics such as styrene and Sintra, and found objects (and it looks like the old model makers standby of lichen for shrubs).

The outdoor scenes are set up on a table and photographed against real backgrounds. The interior ones, lit very simply but cleverly, are photographed in Smith’s garage.

There is no digital manipulation, no GCI, no Photoshop compositing; it’s all in the models and the original shot from the camera.

My father, among his other skills, was a museum model maker, so this has a particular resonance for me. He, my brother and I spent many happy hours working on train layouts and even helping him construct his museum models; but we never managed photographs of them that had this kind of emotional depth.

Smith says: “What started out as an exercise in model building and photography, ended up as a dream-like reconstruction of the town I grew up in. It’s not an exact recreation, but it does capture the mood of my memories.’

Michael Paul Smith

There is a two page Flickr set of his photographs, (and here), many of the compositions have been photographed in both color and black and white, the latter looking uncannily like actual photos from the era Smith is recreating.


15 responses to “Michael Paul Smith”

  1. Absolutely unique!

  2. Those are some awesome photos and they way he goes about doing them makes it even more impressive.

  3. I read your blog regularly and enjoy it so thank you for that. I am just blown away by the images shown and the processes used by this artist. Just incredible.

  4. This blew me away! So charming! Was there a Ben Franklin 5 & 10 in there?

  5. Amazing! Thank you so much for posting!

  6. Excellent! He’s given new meaning to nostalgia. Nice that you included the photo and the model he used, although it looks in the model like the roof has been blown off the garage, perhaps by the supercharged Packard! Also like it that he included what would now be called a ‘Ghost Sign’ on the side of the brick building. Great stuff, Charley!

  7. Ken Gray Avatar

    Wow! have you in saved mail. the cars and trucks of this era had so much beauty and defined ellegance. Props for saving history in art, not to mention the memories of a simpler time. Nice gift. Ken

  8. i enjoy reading your blog. the cars add beauty for this image. thanks for posting this blog. i really like it.

  9. Great-I forwarded it to several friends and relatives.

    Thanks for posting and your patience in making such meaningful art.


  10. Larry Profeta Avatar
    Larry Profeta

    I am 64yrs young and this brings back memories of building model houses in the winter months in our basement. I would love to have more info as to the materials Mr. Smith used to create such wonderful images. A hobby I would love to explore again. PS I have almost every model in these photos.

  11. Joseph G Zacco Avatar
    Joseph G Zacco

    Mr. Smith, Someone sent my wife an email with your models and photo’s and I was totally BLOWN away. I love photography and I love old photos of cars and homes in the past 40’s 50’s 60’s and seeing you artistic work is just incredible. How did you get into this it’s great. Is there anyway to see new thing you may be doing? Do you have yopur own website. Anyway I’m recently unemployed and your work was a nice distraction from the gloom I’ve been enveloped in for the last 2 months. Thanks Paul.

  12. Rich Eldridge Avatar
    Rich Eldridge

    This is a message for Michael Paul Smith: Outstanding work! I collect diecast miniatures and want to have every car I’ve ever owned. Having a problem with some. I would be willing to build one from a kit if I had to. The first one is a 1948 Dodge 2dr sedan. Any ideas on where I can get that model? Any help would be appreciated..
    P.S. I prefer 1:24 scale but will take any.

  13. GL Gunther Avatar

    I would like to know if you make models to sell?

  14. Michael Paul; Your execution is par excellence and I also collect the same cars you use in your photos. THANKS for posting them. Always enjoy the GOOD work of a hot bear.

  15. The models you make are very similar to the truth at first glance! You must have been very busy doing these things! I believe that you did it with pleasure while doing it! Otherwise it would not be all that good! Congratulations.