Monday, 15 August 2016

Book Review - 'Little People In The City' by Slinkachu

I warn you now, if you're expecting a Times-esque book review, you'll probably be disappointed. It's more likely to be a Poundland leaflet-esque book review you are about to read...which leads me seamlessly, and not in any way forced into the review...

I have to be honest, before I happened upon this book in Poundland (see, seamless transition!) I had no previous knowledge of Slinkachu's work. Actually that's not strictly true, I had seen this image (https://instagram.com/p/BEPFIc3KUao) floating around the internet, I was impressed by it but was blissfully unaware of who had created it.

'Little People In The City' is a collection of images made as part of Slinkachu's 'The Little People Project'. The project consisted of Slinkachu customising model train characters, creating scenes depicting various aspects of life, photographing them, and leaving them to be discovered...it was part street art installation, part photography project.

Despite not being a fan of 'art installations', finding most of them ridiculous and not being able to see the 'commentary' they supposedly portray, I was pleasantly surprised to not find this an issue with 'Little People In The City'. I think my understanding comes from the fact 'The Little People Project' is part photography project. For whatever reason, probably the fact I look at, and read about photographs and photography projects on a daily basis, I often find it easier understanding the meaning or commentary portrayed in photographs...I don't always 'get it', but it happens a heck of a lot more than it does with 'art installations'.

On Slinkachu's site he states "The scenes I set up, more evident through the photography and the titles I give these scenes, aim to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city, almost being lost and overwhelmed. But underneath this, there is always some humour. I want people to be able to empathise with the tiny people in my works." Whilst I'd normally look at this and think to myself 'eh?', his statement is quite true. The aspects of life depicted within the images range from the mundane, to activities many of us probably wouldn't partake in, and whilst most of us wouldn't visit a prostitute (outside of GTA), murder someone (again, outside GTA), or battle a giant bee, you find yourself able to empathise with the scenes you are viewing. A lot of them, including the 'serious' scenes, also often have a humour to them, a humour that I think comes in part from the props and setting used to make them.

Not wanting to fall foul of UK Copyright Law, nor go to law school to learn about it, I shall link to a few of the images I like...

http://little-people.blogspot.co.uk/2007/02/office-politics.html I can relate to this, as I'm sure many people can!
http://little-people.blogspot.co.uk/2006/09/feast.html I like this because it's reminiscent of cheesy horror films I like!
http://little-people.blogspot.co.uk/2006/10/indecent-proposal.html Childish, but it amuses me (nsfw...I think, does it count with miniature figures?).
http://little-people.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/life-as-we-know-it.html Whilst it's not in the book, I like this one as it's what my mothership would look like...or a Burger King, or KFC, or Papa Johns.

Whilst the concept and subject matter may not be to everyone's taste, I think many people will enjoy the imagery, appreciate the work involved, and find some of the scenes relatable. I also think photographers of various genres will get something from this book. For example, Macro photographers and street photographers, despite been quite different fields, will both get something from it.


Ian
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