Subject photography and the Lilliputian World of Manuel Archain
Each and every object that we see around us has its own history and stories: short or endless like the universe itself. Manuel Archain has created the world of objects, that rule the people and set their own rules and laws.
As for myself, I have always been fascinated by macro photography. I am no any kind of a professional photographer nither in the past nor in any foreseen future, but once I got to buy a semi… or to be more exact a quarter-professional camera that had a ‘macro’ mode, I rushed to take pictures of all the bugs in the yard, leaves of the only flower on the windowsill and the eyelashes, and the pores, and the dust specks… Our mind is insaitiable and lusty and that is why we always search for things, covered from our natural vision.
Or has it ever happened to you: you are sitting on a bench in the park, doing nothing, thinking of some ultra-important or absolutely trivial things, or reading a book… and suddenly you see a tiny buggie, an ant… It is crawling, not bothering anyone, fighting the wool of your sweater, or the hurricane, caused by your breath. And how is it possible to explain to this little creature that BANG! — and it will become history. There is a bug and there is no bug. Plus. You are not even a human for this creature, you are the eternal universe without any logical beginning or an end. And it is unlikely to even crawl froth the top of your head to your toes not hurting itself. Lilliputians, tiny creatures… Could they ever be compared with us, the Lords of the world (or of the rings at the least).
But there always is another point of view. And the artist Manuel Archain is right the person who looks at everything we hypothetically control under a different angle. He makes tiny ants out of you and me, macro people from the Gulliver stories. About the hidden context or the obvious proclamation, that the author of the Small World project sends us we can only make our subjective guesses. Manuel himself says “Walking through [...] cars, books, streetlights, bikes [...] So fast, so anxious we could be in the middle of a scene before we even get there. And how each one of us is so into our personal world that we cannot see what is happening around us”. Whether to agree with the metaphoric artist or not — it is totally up to you. What we are going to do is just to look at his project pictures a little bit closer.
Manuel Archain, subject photography, shooting separate objects, staged photo, staged photography, interior photography, macro shooting, macro photography, making macro photos, small world, lilliputians, people and objects, life of small people
© Manuel Archain / manuelarchain.com
Manuel Archain, subject photography, shooting separate objects, staged photo, staged photography, interior photography, macro shooting, macro photography, making macro photos, small world, lilliputians, people and objects, life of small people
© Manuel Archain / manuelarchain.com
Manuel Archain, subject photography, shooting separate objects, staged photo, staged photography, interior photography, macro shooting, macro photography, making macro photos, small world, lilliputians, people and objects, life of small people
© Manuel Archain / manuelarchain.com
Manuel Archain, subject photography, shooting separate objects, staged photo, staged photography, interior photography, macro shooting, macro photography, making macro photos, small world, lilliputians, people and objects, life of small people
© Manuel Archain / manuelarchain.com
Creating macro-people is an idea far from being new or unfamiliar. We all remember Jonathan Swift, whose little creatures were already mentioned above. But thanked to the skills of shooting separate objects, Manuel creates the world of giant things, that harmonically live with the world of tiny people. Dominating hues of green and brown in the majority of pictures make them look retro-colored and cozy. His characters are romantics, who put themselves into the kingdom of objects for some period of time. And they are ready to explore every millimeter of every giant thing.
So how does Manuel actually create these worlds? His main rule is to think of everything that he is going to shoot and create the composition on paper beforehand. He draws all the details before making the interior and the full picture. “I will not start my shooting before acting out all the scene on the paper”, — he says. This way you are able to save hours and hours that you might spend on post-production, since a well-thought and preorganized photo needs just a little retouching and editing. It reminds me a bit of an old-school photography, when the films cost a fortune and every shot was a luxury and it was ultra-expensive and almost inaffordable to waste priceless materials on endless mistakes. Anyways, Manuel thinks that this method is reasonable and it is really hard to argue that. And the result of his approach and technique is obviously great — the pictures were there is nothing to add or exclude: well-thought, verified, organized and totally fascinating.
Manuel Archain, subject photography, shooting separate objects, staged photo, staged photography, interior photography, macro shooting, macro photography, making macro photos, small world, lilliputians, people and objects, life of small people
© Manuel Archain / manuelarchain.com
Manuel Archain, subject photography, shooting separate objects, staged photo, staged photography, interior photography, macro shooting, macro photography, making macro photos, small world, lilliputians, people and objects, life of small people
© Manuel Archain / manuelarchain.com
Manuel Archain, subject photography, shooting separate objects, staged photo, staged photography, interior photography, macro shooting, macro photography, making macro photos, small world, lilliputians, people and objects, life of small people
© Manuel Archain / manuelarchain.com
Manuel Archain, subject photography, shooting separate objects, staged photo, staged photography, interior photography, macro shooting, macro photography, making macro photos, small world, lilliputians, people and objects, life of small people
© Manuel Archain / manuelarchain.com
On Manuel’s Facebook page we have found a short backstage video showing the Small World creation process, and you will see even more cool projects on his official website and Instagram.
By Zhenya Shokun
2017