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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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Elgin Park

9 minutes

A recluse creates a dreamworld in miniature to grapple with his world at large

After a childhood scarred by bullying and dark family secrets, Michael Paul Smith 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.

Director: Danny Yourd

Website: Animal

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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