Entertainment

Artist's Incredible Photos Capture A 1950s Town That Doesn't Exist

Michael Paul Smith - Flickr

Artist Michael Paul Smith has built his own small town by hand, but you won't find Elgin Park on any map.

The entire community - which seems to be frozen in time in the late 1950s - only exists inside Smiths's apartment in Winchester, Massachusetts.

Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr
Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr
Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr
Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr

You would never guess these photos weren't taken in a real town from the 1950s, unless Smith leaves his hand in the frame.

The talented model-maker honed his photography and design skills over the years with a number of odd jobs.

Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr

He's been a painter, illustrator, designer, art director, and photographer.

While he has an incredible eye for detail and vintage style, all of Smith's scenes can fit neatly onto a desk.

Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr

Elgin Park's photos feature 1/24 scale die-cast cars and homemade buildings, which Smith builds from Gator board and plastic.

Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr

All of his photos are taken with a cheap digital camera, and he doesn't use any editing software, except to add vintage filters to his photos.

Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr

Mostly, Smith makes his pictures seem lifelike by combining his sets with life-size objects.

“It’s the oldest trick in the special effects book," he says, "line up a model with an appropriate background and shoot.”

Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr
Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr
Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr

Smith started sharing his pictures with friends and family on Flickr, before his project suddenly went viral.

Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr

At the height of his popularity, Smith says Elgin Park was getting 750,000 online visitors a day. A few even mistook the town for a real place.

"A woman from England wrote to me and she said, 'I'll be in the states, I want to visit Elgin Park,'" he told ABC News.

"I broke it to her gently," but Smith says she never wrote back. "I think I broke her heart."

Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr

While Elgin Park conjures up nostalgic feelings for almost all of its visitors, Smith has one place in mind while building it: his childhood home of Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

“It's not an exact re-creation of Sewickley,” he told the New York Times, “but it does capture the mood of my memories.”

Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr
Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr
Elgin Park
Michael Paul Smith - Flickr

You might notice that there's something missing from Elgin Park. There are no pint-sized people, and Smith says that's a deliberate choice.

"I want people to look at the picture, and I want people to visit with their mind. I love that sense of quietness," he explained.

You can buy a book of Smith's photographs, or see the latest photos of Elgin Park on his Flickr page.

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[H/T: ABC News, New York Times, PetaPixel]