I found this photo at the NYPL Picture Collection. The picture collection is one of my favorite places, it has saved me again and again (a little of it is online now). I love dioramas but I think I love photos of dioramas even more. This one has ships in it so what’s not to love? It’s sad and sweet, creepy, nostalgic and precious.
This quote from “Small World: Dioramas in Contemporary Art” talks about the fascination with miniaturization:
” The urge to create small worlds, however, is primordial. Humans seem genetically engineered to want to simulate the terrain of life and to see the world in miniature, or preserved as if in a time capsule. In dioramas, the concrete and the imaginary, the authentic and the artificial become magically intertwined. Writing about miniaturization in her book On Longing (Duke University Press, 1993), critic Susan Stewart notes that the atmosphere in a diorama is charged; mood and time are crystallized, and the viewer is given the extraordinary opportunity to step outside of his or her time and place to view life.”