Smith based Elgin Park on his childhood home in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, but it's not a perfect recreation. Instead, he's added his own personal touches to the dozens of buildings and hundreds of cars in the town.
If you're wondering how Smith can afford the materials for all of this, think a little smaller.
Elgin Park isn't a real town, it's a 1/24 scale model that Smith built. He brings his creation to life using some impressive trick photography, but there's no digital editing here.
Construction on Elgin Park started in 1998, when Smith took a photo of one of his model cars in front of a 1950s diner. Since then he's taken hundreds of photos using both incredibly detailed miniature buildings and real ones.
Even if you can't see them, these scenes all have great little details that add realism. Smith makes his own "mud" using the dust from his vacuum, he builds tiny picture frames that hang inside his houses, and some cars even have folding seats and glove compartments.
Smith says that while Elgin Park was inspired mostly by his own life, he designs his photos so everyone can appreciate them. Often, people write to him, saying that his photos reminded them of their own childhood memories.
"It only exists in my mind, and in my heart," he says, but Elgin Park feels real to his fans around the world.
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