In the Beginning

The 1st image in the Bleak House series.
Dioramas and decors, Kapa line foam board, balsa wood, plastic, plant materials, polymer clay, papier mache, printed media, acrylics and oils. Zero Image 6×9 camera Pan F in Rodinal 1:200 2 hours not very much agitation.

© 2008 Arcimboldi Studios

© 2008 Arcimboldi Studios

‘Ruins are just buildings on their way to becoming nature’


I was drawn into the world of diorama by working on some stop motion animation films during 2008   and when these were completed I started experimenting with model making and photography with a project entitled ‘Bleak House’.


Originally conceived as a black and white conventional film project for a 6×9 pinhole camera it soon became clear to me that as the sets grew in complexity a simpler and faster workflow was required, so reluctantly I moved to digital capture.

I had not really made any models until the animation, and I found that I was getting drawn into the intricacies of these little worlds and enjoying the process.


Playing in the derelict houses and factories of the post industrial river Thames at Greenwich London as a child left its mark, and is partially responsible for the distressed look of the dioramas, to me there is something quite beautiful about sunlight shining on the patina of age and decay.


My work should be regarded as an ongoing sequence of tableaux each having its own personality and inhabitants, little worlds seen through the looking glass. I have several evolving projects which I return to over and over exploring and refining as I go.


I am a self taught model maker and like experimenting with different materials for the dioramas especially materials from the garden and woodland.


I use a Canon 7D and a 18-55mm lens normally on the wide end and focused at the closest point at f22. This involves exposures up to around 60 seconds for maximum depth of field. The sets are photographed in the dark using light hosing from light balanced LED torches and mini spots with coloured gels and various smoke effects, aerosol products and projection.

As a rule my images are almost totally created ‘in camera’ using Pixelmator a digital Mac app only in so far as a traditional photographer would have employed certain ‘post-production’ methods in the darkroom, to adjust colour and contrast for example. I sometimes use digital projection to throw shapes onto the model.


My influences include the animators and filmmakers Stephen and Timothy Quay, and eastern european filmmakers Jiri Barta, Wojciech Jerzy Has and Jan Svankmeyer.




Recent article by David Neat 2013


‘Other Worldly’ iBook 2013 – images, writing. (free of charge)


My Blog – Making of and recent images and news




Flickr – Work in Progress


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2 responses

  1. Hi there Graeme, Just wanted to say I appreciate what you do and that you are sharing it with us. Your work is incredible…everything from the model making to the photographic illusions. I am enjoying following what you have done and are doing now.



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