A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics
In this award-winning short film by Pittsburgh film collective Animal, we see a portrait of Michael Paul Smith who after a childhood scarred by bullying and dark family secrets, found himself working in a series of dead-end jobs and battling depression. Seeking catharsis, an escape, or both, Smith embarked on a photography project that combined the iconography of his mid-20th-century childhood with clever visual trickery. The result, Elgin Park, is a beguiling photography series featuring 1/24th-scale models of quintessential Americana that Smith describes as a ‘dreamlike recreation’ of his past. In Elgin Park, Smith describes how he’s found redemption through the project after bouts with suicidal spells, creating a world that has pockets of darkness, but where he is never lonely.
Text adapted from Aeon magazine.