Cars!-extra credit blog post

click here for photos

Growing up, I was absolutely obsessed with toy cars! From matchbox cars to larger di-cast models, I collected and played with them constantly.  My dad had a huge collection at his work office and would always bring one home for me for Christmas, thus making my collection grow. I specifically remember keeping a shoebox under my bed full of my favorite matchbox cars that I didn’t want my brother to play with. Needless to say, my passion for cars still exists. There will always be that little kid in me when it comes to playing with toy cars and making car noises on the floor.

When I saw this article on Facebook of Michael Paul Smith’s life-like scenes, I was absolutely blown away! He had brought to life the world of toy cars and with the use of perspective.  He successfully turned a model world into a real looking world (something I had unsuccessfully tried to do every time I played with my cars). Knowing that all he used in his photographs was a card table, some model cars he has collected, a few model structures and merely eyeballing the surrounding environment to get the perfect shot.  He captures the image at the perfect angle, leaving out the real streets and sidewalks and replacing them with his own smaller version.  Keeping the background is the hardest part because he must shoot from the perfect distance to make the surrounding trees and environment look proportional to the rest of his scene.  He uses natural light, which elevates the authenticity of his models because they are reflecting the sunlight much like actual cars would.

One thing I wish he would do would be to do the same thing with different generations of cars. He collects and uses mostly old, early 1900’s vehicles, which are classic and awesome, but I think getting some newer cars and putting them in some modern environments would be really cool. Although the his work is refreshing and definitive of the early 20th century, I think integrating some 21st century cars would be a great addition to his work.

All in all, Michael Paul Smith has a great art form in my opinion. It relates to me in regards to my love for cars and the fact that model cars were my toys of choice when I wanted to play for hours.  His vision is an amazing implication of perception and proportion. It shocks me how real you can make something that is the size of your hand by just placing it just right in a field of view.


  • Do you think this is considered art?
  • Did you think these pictures look real, or are they sub par attempts at perception distortion?
  • Do you think he should use newer cars or stick to his passion for classics?

Jack Rea


2 thoughts on “Cars!-extra credit blog post

  1. I think these are so cool! I loved them, then loved them MORE when I saw the setup. I think the classics make for a more timeless feel. I’d be interested to see how the pieces would change if he used newer cars!

  2. I cannot emphasize how much I LOVE this blog post! Simply, YES, this is art!

    Quite frankly at first glance I was convinced that these were authentic photo shoots. I had to study them hard to note that they were not. It is all very impressive.

    I’m totally with you, Jack – Michael Paul Smith should incorporate newer models along with the classics.

    Great post!!!

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