September 13, 2006

Tilt-Shifting Tragedy

Earlier this year, tilt-shift photography & its Photoshop-simulated cousin drew considerable attention. Both approaches can be used to provide a narrow depth of field, making large subjects (e.g. Vegas) seem small and toylike.
Now a pair of photographers have brought that technique to bear in portraits of tragedy. Fred R. Conrad’s image provides a different perspective on the pit at Ground Zero. I find the sense of miniature Fisher-Price innocence unsettling. Meanwhile David Burnett renders the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (The latter shots are much more impactful viewed larger, in case you have a copy of the print edition handy.)
On a related note, illustrator John Mavroudis provides an rare glimpse behind the scenes of creating a New Yorker cover–in this case the 9/11/06 cover. [Via]

Posted by John Nack at 6:33 PM on September 13, 2006


  • Jeremy Fuksa: Creative Generalist — 7:17 AM on September 14, 2006

    I think these are terrific. The forced change of scale does little to trivialize the subject matter and, as you say, adds an unsettling innocence to them. Very inspiring and thought provoking. Thanks for sharing.

  • Dave Story — 6:00 PM on September 16, 2006

    Do you recommend a tutorial on how to do this? (The tilt-shift part, not the tragedy part. :( )
    [For the Photoshop side, check out Christopher Phin’s tutorial on using Lens Blur to create a shallow depth of field:

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