While not an especially new technique, tilt-shift photography seems to be showing up more and more around the web. The technique involves manipulating the camera in such a way that life-sized locations and objects appear as miniature-scale models, and likely takes its name from the tilt-shift lens typically needed to produce the technique optically.
Besides just “looking cool,” tilt-shift photography can serve to change the way the audience perceives the image. Photographing very large scale events and landscapes with tilt-shift photography persuades the viewer to look deeper into the scope of the image. The eye almost can’t help but focus on all the tiny, intricate pieces. Pushing focus to these smaller components enhances the overall scale of the entire picture, something that may be overlooked in a normally shot photograph.
I recently watched a video, titled The City of Samba, that demonstrates this advantage better than any I had seen before. To create the video, filmmakers Keith Loutit and Jarbas Agnelli employed tilt-shift techniques to miniaturize Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival. Taking 167,978 photos during the five days of carnival, the duo found a fresh way to utilize tilt-shift techniques to their full advantage and make a big festival larger than life. I wonder how this use of tilt-shift might make its way into film and television in the future… after watching The City of Samba, I’m definitely a fan!