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The real life toy sets of Ben Thomas


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Photographer Ben Thomas uses photographic gimmicks to “shrink” some of the world’s biggest cities.

article-2271804-1748D8C3000005DC-659_964x617 The real life toy sets of Ben Thomas Exposure

Golf players looking like mini statues on a scale model.

Have you ever wanted to become a giant in order to experience the city from ‘above’ and see it as an ultra-complex doll house for the toys that its inhabitants would make – as seen in cartoons? Stop dreaming and start living this joy, virtually of course, thanks to Ben Thomas’ tricks!

The results of a permanently curious mind

Born in Australia, 31 year old photographer Ben Thomas became keen on photography after graduating from the International Design Effects and Animation School in Adelaide. After various searches of different styles and techniques, the artist started playing with the camera to create what eventually gave him the nickname “Cityshrinker”. According to, having spent a significant amount of time traveling around the world accompanied by his camera, Thomas managed to capture big cities of the world such as Tokyo, New York, London or Paris, and to transform them into what seem like miniature models. So how did he do it?

The grand effect of photographic trickery

Ben Thomas uses tilt shift, a technique thanks to which he makes objects seem considerably smaller than they actually are. By using a specific type of lens and manipulating the depth of field, the photographer manages to create a more twisted version of the images he captures, which he then edits in post processing to add the final effects. This is done after he very closely deals with other factors, such as angles, colors and, according to him, even air quality. So, to him, timing and patience are key factors in the success of his illusions.

Connecting the viewer to the heart of the city

The simple, yet exquisite result of tilt shift excites the viewers, who pay more attention to the details that they would probably be tempted to ignore in other contexts. This different perspective that the photographer gives to sights otherwise familiar to the spectators, offers the latter a new experience, and brings forth new emotions. The authenticity within the illusion, along with the beautiful imagery, is what makes the series amazing and Ben Thomas worthy of the title “Cityshrinker”.

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