Arts District: Forced Perspective Photography

– Hi, I’m Michael Gadlin. – And I’m Kate Perdoni. – Welcome back to Arts
District on RMPBS. – Ken Hendrix and Larry
Patchett have been friends for almost two decades. They share a passion
for photography, old cars, and time travel. A few years ago the Denver
duo began experimenting with forced perspective
photography. – This is when the image is
not quite what the eye beholds. They use tiny models,
kinda like here what I have in my hand, to
simulate large scale scenes, giving us a glimpse
into the past, while gaining
international appreciation. – Lewis Hine said “Photographs never lie,
but liars can photograph.” Photographs never
lie, but ours do. (laughing) We like to think of ourselves as pretty good liars sometimes. – With integrity. – With integrity, yes. Forced perspective photography
is basically shooting models making them look full
size and fooling the eye. We’re taking 24th scale models, bringing them out
into the world and trying to make them look
as real as possible. 1/24th scale model was .5″
=1′ in the real world. – Yeah, basically if you’re
a foot away from the model, you need to be 24′ away
from the background. – We shoot a wide angle lens, which gives you greater
inherent depth of field and we also shoot a very
small aperture, like F25, F29, which gives you even
more depth of field so everything is in focus from a foot in front of
the camera to infinity, which really helps
sell the illusion. A little over two years
ago, we started doing the forced perspective
photography. Larry said “Well,
you’ve got a camera, “and I’ve got some
models, let’s do this.”, and so, we went
out and tried it, and our first photos
came out beautifully, and we’ve been having
so much fun ever since. – [Larry] We’re making
very ephemeral dioramas that don’t last any
longer than it takes us to take a few shots
and then it all goes back into the boxes in there. What really seems
to set ours apart is the quality of
Colorado light. – [Ken] We’ve gotten
quite a few comments on our photos of how
beautiful the blue sky is. – [Larry] And in a way, the
secret to this is the props. The first one we did
was an ice wagon, and I found little
bitty blocks of ice and made a set of ice
tongs out of a paper clip. Sack of potatoes,
a case of Coca Cola in the back of a pickup
truck, cobblestone street. – [Ken] Posters. – Fake lamps. Some milk bottles on top of it. It’s that additional touch
that makes it time travel and helps fool your eye. – Every once in a while
I’ll take a few models out in the back
yard and shoot them just to have a catalog
of which models we have available to us,
and I thought it would be a good idea to shoot a
behind the scenes shot of this to just kinda show
people how simple it is to get a really good
shot of a model car. So, I took a cell phone
photo of the setup and put it up on flickr
and it went gangbusters. The first weekend it was up
it got maybe 85,000 views and it’s up to 105,000
views right now, it’s our most popular photo. – Yeah, we spend all the
trouble on beautiful sets and beautiful models,
expensive cameras, and our most popular shot
was done with a cell phone. – People from all over the
world are seeing our photos, and that’s really
quite an honor. When I bring my models, I usually dust them off at home, but Larry lets me
dust off his models, so I get out a
little makeup brush and dust off all the dust, because the dust is
actually full scale dust. It doesn’t look like
24th scale dust. More full scale dust I can
get off of these small cars, the less Photoshop
work I have to do. – [Larry] You got it. – I have spent hours kind
of fixing dust on models. We’re time traveling,
and we want people to kind of travel back
to that time with us and remember what
it used to be like and we’re using models
from the 30s, 40s, and 50s, and setting up in
front of buildings that were around at that time. We try to make everything
as authentic as possible. When I was a kid we had a
late 40s Studebaker Champion that we rode around
in and then we upgraded to a ’54 Chevy and
thought we were living large. – I grew up with
Packards in the garage, but they were already history
by the time I was old enough to know what I was looking at. This car is a time machine. Like, it doesn’t say
DeLorean, you won’t find a flux capacitor anywhere under
the hood or the taillight, but it’s a way to
travel through time, which, in short, is what we do
with the forced perspective. We’re able to go back
in time to an era that evokes nostalgia in the
people looking at the pictures, or just a sense of whimsy. – [Ken] Some of these
photos that we take just bring back memories
and the younger people kinda get to see what it
was like back in the day. – This car has four ashtrays and not a cup
holder to be found. So, just in subtle
little ways like that, the different way people
viewed the world in the 1950s than we see the world now, and our time travel
efforts help let us highlight little bits and
pieces of those worlds. – That’s hilarious. We both love old cars and
we both love photography and when you can combine a
passion with a creative outlet, that’s gold, and we’re
just having the most fun that we’ve ever had. – I can’t improve on that. – You can check out the
entirety of one24thscale’s amazing photography collection
at the link on your screen. Wouldn’t it be fun to
experiment with that kind of forced perspective photography? I kinda wanna do that now. – We an try it now, I mean, we have two small
perspective items here. All we gotta do is
have natural light and be outside doing it. This image received thousands
of views in one day. It’s beautiful and
looks so realistic.

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