Elgin Park: Visual Memories of America from the 1920's to the mid 1960's at 1/24th Scale

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Member Reviews

This book was just a little too negative and didn’t have the humor I would have liked.  There were a lot of blank pages in the ebook and the spacing was off. With a bit more humor added I Amy have liked it better.
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Unfortunately viewing this book in a pdf format on the screen does not give it justice. I would so love to view it properly as a hard back coffee table book. Something to pick up and devour at leisure in a comfy armchair.

However you can get the idea and there is stunning photography and art. This book is not just the photographs but the story and instructions about how some of the models were made. It's truly a work of art and I will be hunting down a proper hard copy to enjoy.

As it is a pdf I will mark 4/5 but I'm sure I would have no qualms with 5/5 for a hard copy.
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First of all, thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book. Honestly, when I first signed up for this book, I thought it would be a coffee table book of pictures. I was very very wrong and I couldn't be happier about that. This book takes you into immense detail about his 1/24th scale art, why he does, his passion for it, and the steps it takes to get his scales ready for photos. You see EVERYTHING and it's beautiful. The stories are great as well. You can tell this man pours his heart and soul into every thing he does with his scales. Perfect for someone into scale models, and also cars!
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I remember seeing snippets of Michael Smith's Elgin Park work in a History of Photography class I was taking at art school and being amazed at his ability to seamlessly blend miniatures with a background he had chosen from his world around him. It was beautiful. I initially decided to review this book because I thought it would be an expansion of Elgin Park: An Ideal American Town, but I didn't find that to be true unfortunately. 

So much about the Elgin Park photographs hinges on the ability to make 1/24th scale look real to the viewer, which Michael Smith successfully accomplished. This book is about his process through that, his commentary when he shared the images on a photo stream sight, and viewers responses to the photos. 

That's about all it was to me. I really felt this book was unnecessary and the viewers commentary was just placeholder material. It was so full of it, it detracted from the book and the process Michael Smith went through when creating the images.

Maybe it's because I'm a photographer, maybe it's because models aren't my thing. But I know for sure that this is for  very, very niche market. It's over 300 pages and to be quite honest with you, it was hard for me to get through them. 

Overall, if you are a fanatic of Michaels Smiths Elgin Park work, this book might be up your alley. If you like models, this book might also be up your alley. However, this is not a 'photo book' for the average persons reading I feel. I certainly wouldn't choose it to put on the barber shops coffee tables.
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Smith's meticulous attention to detail makes all the photographs in Elgin Park pleasurable to view at first glance, and the more you study each charming frame, the more you notice within it. The photographs reward either careful readings or quick scans, then, making Elgin Park the perfect coffee table book.
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This book prints the masterpiece of a genius. Michael Paul recreates the nostalgic era with his creative work and the book illustrate it from creation to realization. Excellent book!
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I'm auto approved with Animal Media Group books on Netgalley. This was published June 2015. So, it is content you don't have to wait to access.



Though I didn't check to make sure it's easy to find to purchase. I checked it out to browse with my nephew. But wanted to write a quick review of the book.



It comes with background information, images and comments from visitors who have experienced the miniature creations.



It's entertaining enough.  I will see what the nephew thinks tomorrow.
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I remember seeing a piece on NBC Nightly News years ago - probably when the first book came out - and it's always been on my "to read" shelf as it is a little hard to find.  So when this new book popped up in NetGalley I knew it was a must read!  This one was quite interesting - presenting not only the finished photographs but much commentary on how he created each one, his techniques and the work involved and whatnot, as well as selected comments from Flickr from when the original photos were posted.  Forced perspective is very cool, all around!  I mostly enjoyed studying the pictures, but any budding modeler or photographer would love the explanations too.
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This title had been languishing on my NetGalley shelf for a few months, and I am very sorry that I waited so long to read it! My husband and I have been discussing putting together scenes using miniatures for some upcoming art projects, and this book could not have been more inspirational.

I'd never heard of Elgin Park or Michael Paul Smith prior to seeing this title listed on NetGalley, but the instant I started reading the description and Smith's initial motivation for creating his 1/24th scale scenes -- needing something to do with his collection of die-cast miniature cars (!!) -- I could relate. My home is awash in miniature figures of all sorts, and while Smith focuses on buildings, cars, and the outdoors rather than on scenes focused on people, they are very evocative. A car door might be open, a newspaper sitting out on a counter - evidence that someone has been there. Except that they haven't, because the photographs are of miniature scenes he has staged to feature his collection of die-cast cars, many of them replicating historical photographs. 

You can see a lot of Michael Paul Smith's art on Flickr, along with adaptations made by fans who have inserted themselves or other objects into his scenes. The book is not only a lot of fun to look at, but a great resource for anyone who might be interested in undertaking a similar project, as he details the composition of a couple of his scenes and what he used to put them together as well as how he photographs them to get the best, most realistic results. 

I received access to this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Although the photographs are strong enough to stand alone as the main character of this delightful book, there’s another story: how a humble recluse who doesn’t even own a car has created an online community – a global neighborhood of young and old, male and female, many asking the same question: How does this guy do this? 

Michael Paul Smith is a GENIOUS!!! To call this art is almost a misnomer: it is art to the nth degree. I had never heard of his Flickr page and how he created these streetscapes and housescapes (it that even a word??) proves dedication and mad skills!  I am a definite fan of this book and would love to see more of his work online --- what a great Netgalley find!!
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A beautifully told and illustrated text about a fascinating topic.
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I enjoyed this book from beginning to end! The pictures are so beautiful and show you so much meaning behind them. They were captured perfectly! It actually made me pretty envious. Very quick read and so enjoyable!
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This was fascinating to me. I don't know much about model building besides the model trains that my cousin works on, so everything about this was interesting to me. I think my favorite part were the comments from others that accompanied each image. I didn't live during this time, but my parents did so I enjoy looking at how they grew up and the way things were when they were teens.
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Wow, what an interesting read! The intricate detail that goes into making these models is incredible and I am blown away by how amazing they all look! I am a vintage/rockabilly girl at heart and found myself smiling at these pictures, giving me the warm & fuzzies!
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This is an extraordinary body of work, and a fascinating book.

Elgin Park is the exploration of memory and fantasy by Michael Paul Smith, using metal cars from the middle of last century, combined with his model making skills and real backdrops to create scenes of everyday life. All of this is done without Photoshop.

Smith uses a perspectival slight of hand to situate imagined scenes into real backdrops. He places each scene with a road, cars and buildings on a table, using the real backdrops to incorporate a background, weather and the broader environment into each scene. The cars are 1/24th scale so everything incorporated into the foreground must work with the same scale. It’s a cunning slight of hand that gives a sense of reality to what is a complete construction. 

What is so remarkable is that even after seeing how Smith has set up a shot, there is a sense of reality in the work that encourages a more detailed viewing. It is as if Smith has captured the shot in the middle of some everyday scene playing out; someone has just ducked into a shop, or is in the front room practicing on the piano, or popped inside for a cuppa, leaving the ute in the driveway mid tire change. 

It is this sense of story that is so captivating. It isn’t actually the technique, although that is fascinating technically, but the stories that create the idealized town from mid last century. It is part idealized memory combined with the fantasy of what a community could be, that reveals how far America has traveled from this ideal as a country.

The book has been really well produced. It has lush photographs, and explanations from Smith that are often accompanied by comments from his online followers. Many followers offer great insight into how the work affects them. It gives the book an extra dimension to what Smith does as an artist. So often an artist will create work in isolation, with little or no engagement or feedback prior to an exhibition. In this case, modern opportunities presented by social media allow a community to spring up around the work and the artist, offering a more complex and sophisticated examination of American culture.

I highly recommend this book, for artists, photographers, model makers and sociologists. I found it fascinating.

Reading copy provided by NetGalley for an honest review.
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Thoroughly enjoyable book. Would make a really great coffee table book for many. It is perfect for anyone interested in 1/24 scale cars, Americana history of the 1930’s-1960’s, or photographs. 
I would have like a few more photographs, especially full page.
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I didn't love the formatting of this book. Now that that's out of the way, I can point out that this book is incredible. The inclusion of the comments which were left on Michael Paul Smith's Flickr over the years, and the background and set-up shots, bring the viewer into the world of Smith, and of Elgin Park. This book is an incredible testament to this man's dedication to his art, and to history. The photographs are wonderful, and incredibly realistic. This book would look fantastic on your coffee table, on your desk, but most preferably, in your hands as you flip through the pages and watch a world come to life.
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I am reviewing this book for Michael Paul Smith,  Animal Media Group and Netgallery who gave me a copy of their book for an honest review. 
WOW - using models (and sometimes existing places) he shows life in a different era. It took a lot of work but he gets it right. It all looks so real. You look, and look again and can’t actually believe it is a model, even when you see his methods and revealing pictures. 
I also enjoyed reading the internet postings from fans
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Arc received thanks to Animal Media Group and Netgalley. This is no way affected my review of the ARC. 

Publication Date: 27th October 2015
Review Date: 01st November 2017

Photography books are not usually what I like to read. I like to settle down and have a look through an The Art of... book. I find them much more interesting, with a lot behind it such as character designs, where this character originally came from, things like that. After being auto approved for Animal Media Group, I spotted this on their shelves, and decided that hey! Why not read something out my comfort zone for once. I might even enjoy it.

I have to admit, I didn’t care much for the writing within this book. After trying to get through the large amount of information, I got quite bored, very quickly. Instead, I had a wonderful time flicking through the photos, and what was underneath the photos instead of the whole story of this book – I feel like I defeated the purpose of reading a book, but frankly, the photographs fascinated me more than anything else.

I’d never heard of Elgin Park before I found this book, and I didn’t exactly do tons of research either – Elgin Park is a small town in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The most I’ve ever done when visiting America, is just go to New York. I didn’t go anywhere past that. I don’t really want to go anywhere in America other than a few choice places for the ice hockey. However, Elgin Park: Visual Memories of Midcentury America at 1/24th scale makes me feel nostalgic. I feel nostalgic for a place I never even existed. Looking through these photos, I can imagine myself and my childhood friends playing along these streets, I can feel the childhood I had thrown right back at me through these photos.

There’s a specific beauty about photography, and about craftsman ship. Michael Paul Smith has pulled it all together in an amazing way that truly shows that art is still a masterpiece. Photography and crafting are still a part of art, and Smith is the obvious show of that. Looking through these models that Smith created, 1/24th of the size of his home town, gave me a thrill. Seeing these tiny, intricate designed little houses and bungalows made me think about a time where things were… simpler. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but I’ve never felt… happy before when looking at images like this. But reading through this really gave me that soft, happy glowing feeling. I smiled softly, I felt like I was looking at my own childhood home.

Considering I didn’t read hardly any of the text within this book, I am utterly amazed at just how the photos in this have made me feel. Just the actual photos themselves.

When I get chance, I will definitely be looking through this again to read fully, with the text, but for now, it’s already a solid 4/5 stars for this book. Absolutely spectacular.
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I am a huge fan of miniatures and I was aware of Michael Paul Smith's work through his Flickr gallery and references online.  This book combines wickedly creative jaw-dropping camera perspective tricks and fiddles to thoroughly fool the eye.  

Comment after comment in the book and on his website says 'Come on, these are REAL aren't they'?!  Most miniature and diorama work can be distinguished easily; something just looks a little bit off.  Very rarely, the eye really is fooled into having to LOOK for that 'one little thing that isn't quite right'.  These pictures, and I mean -every single one of them- is so perfect that when the camera angle is shifted to show the scale models as models, it's the out of place hand or plywood base in the shot that looks out of place.  The cover is a good example.   It's a scene out of  'The attack of the 50 foot tall man! (in 3D)'.  The cars are real, the house is real, the man looks photoshopped in!

I will always be in awe of Michael Paul Smith's utter mastery of perspective and his model building expertise is mind-blowing.  I have friends who are professional architects and they're in awe of his structure modeling too.

If the artist were only a gifted miniaturist, that might get old after a while.  That's just not the case here.  The photos have a definite narrative.  They resonate.  It's easy to set myself in the scene and imagine what the people in the house would be doing or how the Dr. would spend his scant weekend free time.  The use of light and photography filters is virtuoso.  He's a wizard and I fervently hope we continue to be allowed to enjoy his magic for many years to come.

Five supernova stars!
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