Tilt-Shift Photography: Exactly Like Where You Are Right Now…

I was having lunch with my friend Roy. He was explaining why he should be allowed to legally marry his iPhone, and I was staring out the window, thinking about kittens. Suddenly I heard the words “tilt-shift photography”.

“Hang on,” I said. “That isn’t a product made by Apple. It doesn’t even start with an “i”.”

Roy then explained that Tilt-Shift Photography is a technique used to make images of real life look like pictures of models. For example, here’s an image from Photography Jam of Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station:

It looks fake, but it’s real, just like Kerri-Anne Kennerley. Here’s some images of Melbourne by Ben Thomas:

You can see more of Ben Thomas’s work here.

The basic priciple of tilt-shift photography is to create a very shallow depth of field, making it look like a macro lens has been used. Originally done using movable lenses, most contemporary tilt-shift work is done with programs like Photoshop, adjusting focus and pushing the colour levels to give an artificial, painted look.

But what does it all mean? Why are people so keen to turn reality into fakery? Is it to take charge of a world increasingly beyond our control? Is it some sort of God-complex? Or are today’s youth just shamefully starved of dioramas?

There’s more tilt-shift examples to enjoy here.

14 Responses to Tilt-Shift Photography: Exactly Like Where You Are Right Now…

  1. Tim says:

    That’s really clever. Utterly pointless, but clever. I wonder what would happen if you pointed that thing at someone like Kerri-Anne Kennerley (to borrow your example). Would she suddenly look more realistic?


  2. Louise says:

    Hey lookie, I can crush ArtPlay underfoot! I’ve always wanted to destroy a city.

  3. outlandinstitute says:

    “Soon Birrarung Marr will be mine…”

    We should make an Aussie Godzilla film. How grouse would that be?

    Yes, Tim, I agree that it seems an odd combination of “impressive” and “pointless”. A bit like clog dancing. It turns out now there’s also CONTROVERSY in the world of Tilt-Shift because some people are simply photographic models and then pretending it’s real-life made to look like a model, when it’s really a model pretending to be real-life pretending to be a model…

  4. Anne-Marie says:

    I’m just jealous cos I don’t have an iphone and I want an iphone. The problem if you marry your iphone is that people will just give the phone presents – and you’ll have 50 silicon covers for the phone and none for you.

  5. Roy says:

    So, you’ve finally devised a way to get me to come to your blog.

  6. outlandinstitute says:

    The new Outland Institute philosophy is to gradually mention every single person in the world, thus eventually bringing the site’s audience up to 6 billion. Today: Madonna, Edith Taylor, José Eduardo Santos Tavares Melo Silva and Pukkeenegak.

  7. Tim says:

    “when it’s really a model pretending to be real-life pretending to be a model…”

    Well, that’s just cheating.

    And I want a silicon cover too.


  8. Dave AA says:

    “We should make an Aussie Godzilla film. How grouse would that be?”

    Yes, all we need to do is get a life-size Godzilla to destroy Melbourne, then use tilt-shift techniques to make look like a man in a suit crushing a model of Melbourne. I’m writing to Screen Australia right now!

  9. Dave AA says:

    BTW is the title to this post a Laurie Anderson reference?

    “… only much, much [pause] better.”

  10. outlandinstitute says:

    Yes! Yes it is a Laurie Anderson reference! “Paradise… is exactly like… where you are right now… only much, much… better.” Thank you so much for noticing, sometimes I feel I’m only amusing myself… did anyone ever pick up the reference in the title “Extraordinary How Potent Cheap Science Fiction Is..”?


  11. Anne-Marie says:

    Of course we did! Well I did. I just assume that institute readers are well read and culturally educated. (Unless they actually eat the evil cauli cheese – which will remove all popular culture from their brain.)

  12. Glenn says:

    That looks craaazy. I love it. But am, yes, utterly confused as to it’s purpose.

  13. Paul Martin says:

    As an amateur photographer, I love it!!!

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