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By on July 1, 2006, with 34 Comments

Just look at the pictures below. Now admit, what was the first thing that came to your mind? I believe that the answer was something like “no way these images are for real, they must be some sort of scaled models”. I’m sorry to inform you that you were wrong. Actualy it’s the other way arround. It’s hard to convince people that Olivo Barbieri’s aerial photographs are for real. They look uncannily like hyperdetailed models, with absent imperfections of reality. Streets are strangely clean, trees look plastic, and odd distortions of scale create the opposite effect of what we expect from aerial photography: a complete overview, like military surveillance.

Olivio began the “Site Specific project” in Rome, before moving on to Amman, Jordan; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; and Shanghai, China. He achieves the distinctive look by photographing from a helicopter using a tilt-shift lens; a method that allows to choose what he really liked in focus.

Model World by Olivo Barbieri
Model World by Olivo Barbieri
Model World by Olivo Barbieri
Model World by Olivo Barbieri
Model World by Olivo Barbieri
Model World by Olivo Barbieri
Model World by Olivo Barbieri
Model World by Olivo Barbieri
Model World by Olivo Barbieri
Model World by Olivo Barbieri
Model World by Olivo Barbieri


34 Responses
  1. Stadtkind says:

    Few months ago I’ve seen photos taken like these in a magazine. They were taken by Miklos Gaal. I found some of them on the web. I think you might like them too.

    here they are:

  2. nikos says:

    These photos look like models to me mainly because of the depth-of-field effect. When taking closeups of models, small objects, etc. depth-of field-is often compromised. When taking pictures from great distances depth-of-field is not usually an issue. Because we are used to seeing closeups that often have areas that are out of focus—and panoramas that are usually entirely in focus—these images contradict our experience and our brains try to make sense of the paradox.

  3. Patrick says:

    I have a happy mai-mai.


  4. tha man says:


  5. sanna says:

    These are really great, they’re images you can study for hours and every time you look at it you will discover something new! That’s what a good picture (or painting) is all about, for me at least… Ps: Are they for sale?

  6. Cowboy says:

    I like my dad’s socks…they smell like sheep..:)

  7. thomas says:


  8. Nina From Norway says:


  9. BurninRubber says:

    I built a model country before which actually had tiny buildings, pylons, electric power lines, motorways, houses, trees, cars, people, etc. I made a li’l volcano and waited a minuite…. and…. BAM! Every bodies’ tiny vauxhalls were completely melted! If you don’t belive me, I’ll try and take a picture and send it to show you the piles of melted plastic and metal!

  10. Melia H says:

    This is amazing…I live in Vegas so its great to see!

  11. I Boy says:

    IT IS REAL ?

  12. Woah says:

    This is so plastic U liar!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. SpençaB says:


    Rock on Los Angeles. :-D

  14. isbdead says:

    Is that guy related to the musician?

  15. Look says:

    I made some of these myself.

    Not near as good as this guy though.


  16. FALLAPALOOP says:

    wow those are good the 5th one is of the seattle E.M.P. for those people that didnt know that ok well thats all bye

  17. Anonymous says:

    The photos are blurry.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The effect can be reproduced in Photoshop using a Quick Mask and Gaussian Blur.


  19. Anonymous says:

    Where was that first photo taken? At first glance I thought it was the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Where’s the sixth one supposed to be in the world?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Where’s the sixth one supposed to be in the world?

  22. Anonymous says:

    After I read the paragrph, I see that some of them are real, but I still have a hard time beliveing that others are.

  23. Anonymous says:

    this is done extremely poorly i do not believe they’re models at all i cant believe the awful editing on this im extremely disappointed

  24. Anonymous says:

    They look like very bad photos of very good models. A very convincing effect. Though in some it is not so convincing…

  25. Anonymous says:

    The only one that looks real to me is the Disney Concert Hall in L.A. (#6) The rest really do look fake!

  26. sizwe says:

    cool but looks preety fake to me

  27. CajunSpencer says:

    This is a process called Tilt-Shift photography. If you google it you can find some pretty cool stuff. Sometimes you can do it with certain cameras, but it is also a process easily done with photoshop. For those of you interested here is a quick and easy tutorial on the photoshop process.



  28. aurelio says:

    no big ben ):

  29. Closet says:

    I skipped the two paragraphs, and looked at them saying, “Wow! This person has done AMAZING little models!” /)3<

  30. Abisso says:

    Some of these photos definitely work better than others: the first three are the best in my opinion. I wonder how is this effect achieved… maybe the trick it’s all about what’s in focus and what’s blurred…

  31. Zak says:

    Sooooo realistic 8)

  32. anon-e-mous says:

    wow. someone had alot of time on their hands

  33. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States says:

    If you guys like this stuff you’ll probably like HDR (High Dynamic Range) pix too.


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