• 01.25.12

Lori Nix’s Stunning, Tiny Dioramas Depict an Abandoned World [Slideshow]

In “The City,” artist Lori Nix designs a deserted world in miniature being retaken by nature.

For some reason, human beings can’t get enough of imagining our own destruction. From REM and Roland Emmerich to National Geographic and NASA, the apocalypse never goes out of style. Now fine-art photographer Lori Nix is adding her eerie vision to the mix with an exhibition called “The City” — in which “public spaces devoted to history and science lie deteriorating and neglected while nature slowly takes them back.”


The twist is that Nix’s photos aren’t Photoshop manipulations — they’re real images of tiny, painstakingly detailed dioramas that Nix has designed just for these photographs. She built the 3-D scenes in her living room on nights and weekends with the help of an assistant, with each one taking anywhere from two to fifteen months to complete. Nix then shot the dioramas on normal 8×10 film, making her minuscule creations — about 20 x 24 x 72 inches small — appear nearly indistinguishable from full-size scenes.

“The City” is showing at New York’s ClampArt Gallery until December 18, and then at Chicago’s Catherine Edelman Gallery from January 7 to February 26, 2011. Take a look at Nix’s beautiful/awful vision of the future, and be glad that these scenes only exist in her Brooklyn apartment and not outside your window… yet.

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.