Photographer Erin Sullivan Creates Miniature Landscapes Out Of Food And Other Household Items

Photographer Erin Sullivan Creates Miniature Landscapes Out Of Food And Other Household Items

Erin Sullivan is a travel photographer, writer, and on-camera host based in Los Angeles, California. She has been self-isolating for the past month, which has prevented her from traveling for work as she typically does.

Erin is bringing her work to her home, creating miniature worlds for photo shoots with household items like broccoli, tinfoil, and even pancakes.

“One of my favorite things about this project has been sharing it with the community and hearing that it’s giving people joy,” she told Insider.

More: Erin Sullivan, Instagram h/t: insider, laughingsquid

View this post on Instagram

Another exploration of the Watermelon World for @vinylmoonco. ✧ Since diversity is on everyone’s minds right now, I wanna talk a bit about that within this project. If you do a quick search online for model train figures, you will find that the OVERWHELMING majority of the figures are white. Like zero ambiguity. More than 95% of what most model train brands offer are fair-skinned figures. ✧ There are probably plenty of reasons for this homogeneity, obviously the biggest one being that whiteness has been centered here for hundreds of years. But I just want to use it as an example. That our “diversity” efforts must extend all the way to these tiny figures–– they must extend e v e r y where. So that inclusivity gets all the way to the details. So that people aren’t subliminally told that they don’t matter anymore. So that people can see THEMSELVES when they want to do a simple art project on some rainy Tuesday. ✧ Working in the outdoor, travel, and photography industries, when I as a white woman have inquired about seeking more diversity in front of and behind the camera & microphone, I have heard: “We just don’t know anyone.” “They just aren’t out there!” “The majority of ______ are white, that’s not our fault.” This is straight up lazy. But now that many have been forced to talk the talk, I look forward to being a squeaky wheel asking how they are walking the walk (and that includes looking at myself & my photography business!). ✧ In the case of these figures, I use Photoshop to adjust skin tones. I am working on portraying different body types & disabilities as well, but haven’t gotten there yet. If anybody has requests for what you would like to see, please let me know. ✧ I forgot to take a BTS photo of this set, whoops. The “water” is super thinly sliced watermelon. Everything else is kinda obvious. Love you all. #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Would ya look at that? It’s an Instagram rest area among the watermelon. Stay as long as you’d like. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, allow yourself to be transported, if only for a moment. 🍉 ✧ One of the lessons that I am continually learning is that I don’t have to “do” all the time. I have to remind myself often that the rest–– the doing nothing, the long quiet afternoon, the aimless walk–– these are instrumental to understanding myself, and therefore to fulfilling my purpose here on Earth. For a long time I thought I needed permission to experience restfulness. There wasn’t enough time for a pause. Now I know nothing more crucial than that. 💗 ✧ This set is a study for a record jacket I am doing for @vinylmoonco. People ask about the process. I sketch it out, then I work with the materials. In this case, I’d cut the watermelon, stare at the watermelon, move the watermelon… and repeat… until I arrive at something I like. ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Was feeling like a magical snowy adventure, so I figured it was worth a trip to Sweet Potato Pass. Fascinating formations, and the snow is edible 😉❄️ ✧ People have asked me if the scenes in this series are meant to replicate real places I’ve been. They are… but only kind of. It isn’t supposed to be literal. For me, photography has been a way to capture the feeling in a fleeting moment. My editing process exists just to get more specific to what that feeling is. So more than an actual place that I’ve been, I’m blending the literal with the fantasy and hoping that the result is a feeling. ✧ This one could be any snowy place you’ve been. Anytime you’ve felt surrounded by sparkle and wonder. Maybe when you were a kid. Or maybe you’ve only ever seen snow in dreams or your imagination. Whatever the feeling is, that’s what’s real. ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Just a couple of gal pals enjoying a stroll in the Herb Jungle (in this particular section we have chives and dill). I imagine them talking about what kinds of plants and wildlife they’ve found along the way. Hopefully they aren’t lost. 🌿 ✧ I always appreciate hearing what you imagine the characters in my images are saying (or thinking). Anybody got a narrative on what these two are up to? Comment a dialogue or a little story. I’ll send prints to my favorites. 😁 ✧ Pretty simple set-up here–– chives and dill stuck into a foam block. I put some parsley and colored pencils in the background to give it more depth. I buy my lil model train figures online from hobby shops, and shoot this series with my @sonyalpha a7Riii with 90mm f2.8 macro lens. FAQs are in my story highlight if you want a refresher. 🤓 #alphacollective ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

A moonlit stroll through the Mushroom Grove. If you have ever stepped outside when there is a full moon so bright you can see your shadow–– that’s what I wanted to create here. That feeling of wonder, of delight, of connectedness and otherworldliness and yet the humbling reminder of your human size on a very big rock. ✧ Mushroom Grove isn’t a real place but the feeling is real. All of these places, they’re temporarily located in my bedroom and on your screen, but they are also found in all of our minds. ✧ The imagination is a powerful thing, and a gift to have. Keep yours flowing. Honor the curious questions that come to greet you. What you pay attention to is what you get more of. ✧ Now go look at the supermoon. 🌝 ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Lately I could really use a float in the clear waters of the 🌿Parsley Oasis🌿. It’s a bit of a hike to get to, but such a treat to take a refreshing dip in the glass-like pools 💧🤓 ✧ As countries begin conversations about opening up again, many have asked me if I’ll continue this series after quarantine. The answer is yes. These tiny adventures have helped me tremendously during this time, and have made a home for themselves in my body of work. This series has been a lesson in infinite possibility. A reminder that there are creative solutions to be found. ✧ Materials: glass bowl on a scarf, parsley, model train figure. ✧ PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE & will be updated today with images from my last few posts. Head to prints.erinoutdoors.com to browse, and use code “GREATINDOORS20” for 20% off from this series. ♥️ ✧ #OurGreatIndoors #ErinsGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Chasing sunset with @Honda #CivicTypeR on the *classic* Laundry Coast Highway. I know people say these spots are over-shot, but you have to love the cliffside views. 😉 ✧ When I’m doing these shoots, I often catch myself audibly laughing… at myself, and the ridiculousness of what I am doing. That said, it’s fun. I can’t remember the last time I allowed myself an element of true play within my work, and this has been a reminder of just how important that is. The other important thing this has done for me is to keep me connected to travel & the outdoors. Even if I can’t be out there right now, the little figures in my images can be. And for now, I’ll live vicariously through them. ✧ #HondaPartner #CreativeAtHome #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

A soak & steam in Onion Springs 🧖‍♀️ Despite the erm… fragrant smell… these waters are quite ✨rejuvenating✨ AND 100% natural! It almost seems as though these tubs were hand-picked and expertly crafted into the perfect hot pools 🤯 ✧ Hopefully this adds a bit of whimsy to your day, but let it be a reminder to take care of yourself too, whatever that looks like. Whatever your therapy is. However you can be kind to yourself, your mind, your spirit, your body, take the time you can to do that. Easy does it. ♥️ ✧ Materials used in this set: onions, water, model train figures, palo santo for steam + more steam/smoke added in photoshop after. Enjoy the BTS of my tears from the onions. ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

There is a heat wave in LA, but it turns out the conditions are *perfect* for a stroll in Rosemary Forest. Weird right?! 😉🌲 ✧ Would I have started this series without being forced to stay home? No way. I was fulfilled by what I was doing as a travel photographer, and I look forward to getting back out into the world one day. Soon I hope. But man, what an opportunity to pivot, to stretch creatively, to try something new. I have so much privilege and I think it is important to name that. And here I am playing with rosemary and toys the size of a thumbnail while people in essential jobs are showing up every day to work despite the serious risks, long hours, and more. I just hope that this series brings you some lightness and joy. I believe that we need art, even now. Especially now. ✧ This set was made with rosemary clippings from the massive plant outside my partner’s house, baking soda (for snow), a paper plate, a sheet, a headlamp and train figures. Snow was added in post. ✧ PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE. Head to prints.erinoutdoors.com to browse, and use code “GREATINDOORS20” for 20% off from this series. ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Gotta love an afternoon visit to Jello Lake 🌲 And before you guys ask, YES I WAS allowed to fly my drone here!! 🙄😉 ✧ Over the past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the nature of creativity and how ideas come to us. These days it is easy to feel like you are in competition, but I have never once experienced this to be the posture that supports long-term success or a feeling of peace. We cannot hold onto our ideas so tightly that we suffocate them. I believe ideas are given to us from God (or whoever/whatever your higher power is) and we’re just the stewards. Like love, celebration, and laughter, creativity can really shine when it is shared. (@elizabeth_gilbert_writer has a wonderful book about this concept called Big Magic. It’s also a big topic in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I recommend both.) ✧ This set was made with jel dessert (vegan jello), asparagus, and train figures in a pie dish. So many of you have been curious to see behind-the-scenes footage or a hyperlapse of me creating one of these scenes… so if you are interested, check out @rei’s latest IGTV video! 🥳 ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Something kinda simple and sappy today 💓 and maybe a little saucy if you look at the hand placement… 😂🍑 ✧ My partner and I have been dating for a year, and I wanted to create an image based on somewhere we have gone together. Here is a sunset inspired by Black Elk Peak in South Dakota, made from cut pieces of paper I glued together. A light behind it creates the illusion of mountain layers. 🤓 ✧ This one is for you @thejoehenderson. You are an absolute trip. Thank you for making me laugh. For listening so well, even when it doesn’t make sense to you. For being a kickass Robin sometimes. For hiking with me at night and for stopping to listen to frogs. For helping me learn how to slow down. For trying to build fires even when they don’t work out for you. For listening to me practice my TED Talk 28912 times. For making me breakfast while I write. For asking good questions. Thank you so much for proving every love story I have ever heard wrong and creating this one with me. ✧ Lots of folks have found my work lately because of this #OurGreatIndoors series. If you are new here, welcome 👋 You might guess that you are in for images and stories from around the world, once travel can happen again. But you should know that I also share thoughts & rambles that are sometimes challenging, sometimes complicated, and often vulnerable. The invitation here is always rather simple; it is for you to create and experience your life, and your part in this world, with more intention. ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Ahhh, a stroll through the @gomacro mountains, where we found some quite chocolatey features. Normally I would tell my friends to avoid licking the scenery, but in this case it all appeared to be edible and you don’t even need a permit. 😂 Flavors included banana + almond butter, double chocolate + peanut butter chips, oatmeal chocolate chip, and maple sea salt to name a few. 😛 ✧ Under different circumstances, I’d be snacking on these while outdoors on a hike or shoot. But staying home has introduced a whole new style of adventure–– involving less movement and more imagination. 💭 ✧ Thank you to @gomacro for loving the #OurGreatIndoors series and wanting to explore with me! If you are interested in experiencing some of the plant-based bars pictured here, you can use code “NEWFLAVOR30” for 30% off your order from gomacro.com. ✧ See if you can find the tiny bars in the 2nd & 3rd images. Also – all these bars were saved and snacked on 😊♥️ #gomacro #biggerthanabar #sponsored

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

A peaceful morning fishing together on Tinfoil Lake 🌅😉 ✧ The images in this series might be fun and whimsical (I hope they appear that way to you!), but I create them from my memories or from feelings of places I have been, which feel rooted and meaningful to me. ✧ I grew up next to the Long Island Sound, and my grandpa used to take us out on his little boat when I was a kid. My cousin and I would be stuffed into orange lifejackets, two messy blonde heads on the front of the boat feeling like we were flying. On summer days we’d go stand on the pier and try to catch something. And though I never really had the patience for fishing growing up, it was always about the time spent together anyway. ✧ This image was created with tin foil, a toothbrush, a lamp under a sheet, and tiny people from a train set. Lots of questions on where to get them–– simply search for model train figures online and you’ll find lots of options. 😊 More BTS in my stories and highlight on my page. ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

The beauty of the ✨Glowing Gore-Tex Cave✨ ✧ Yesterday this idea was nagging at me all afternoon. I believe that ideas come from somewhere beyond us. When they ask you to pay attention to them, I’ve found that it is best to listen! I heard “create a glow worm cave tonight”… and so… here we are. Is it creativity or just quarantine? Gotta say I believe it’s the creativity. ✧ The set-up for this is tin-foil on a cutting board, 2 books with rain jackets draped over them, paper with holes poked in it, a smart lightbulb set to teal behind that, train figures, and the rock they are standing on is a hunk of rose quartz. Inspired by how it feels to be in a glow worm cave in New Zealand. ✧ Got an idea relentlessly poking at you? That idea wants to be out in the world. Put it into action 🐛 #ErinsGreatIndoors #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

For the perfect weekend adventure, may I recommend a trip to the Great Pancake Canyon? This weekend, Syrup River was flowing. Maybe it’s due to the rain we’ve had?? Not sure…. any of you specialize in pancake science and can speak to this? Anyway, this was a truly unique experience with fantastic views from both below and above. Also great breakfast available. 🥞 ✧ Camera info: Sony a7Riii & 90mm f2.8 Macro lens. Materials: Literally just pancakes, syrup, and model train figures. ✧ Want to create your own outdoor-inspired adventure while staying home? Post & tag #OurGreatIndoors or follow along with the hashtag to see what this community is creating. Or if you’ve got another project you’re working on, I would love to hear about it! Or if you are doing nothing, that’s OK too! Take care of yourself! ✧ Thanks to my pancake expert @thejoehenderson for helping with this adventure. Who knows where we will go next… 😂 #ErinsGreatIndoors • #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Nightstand Astrophotography 🌌 A bit of stargazing from the comfort of my bed. My friend here still won’t stop pointing at stuff… ✧ This one is inspired by a photo I took of my friend @rachelroams last year in New Zealand. Created with a couple of model train figures, paper with holes poked in it, and a smart lightbulb (I changed the color to blue, but you could also do this in post). ✧ I’m so happy to hear these photos are bringing you joy and sparking creativity. It’s been so fun to see what you’ve created so far in the #OurGreatIndoors hashtag! Hope everyone is taking care and being super kind to yourselves right now whatever the season looks like for you. ♥️ ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors • #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Some pretty sweet dunes… literally. 🤓 Here we have the Sugar Sand Dunes, located on a sheet in my bedroom. Luckily we got a permit. Lots to look at. My friend just couldn’t seem to stop pointing at stuff! ✧ This project has been a great challenge for me in many ways. The parameters I set for myself when embarking on this very tiny journey were: 1. Create outdoor scenes out of household objects (obviously) 2. Shoot things I’d normally shoot, as if the scenes were real 3. Only use Photoshop to enhance an image, do not make it essential 4. Make the scenes as believable as possible For me, having a set of guidelines for a series is what helps me decide what belongs and what doesn’t. It gives me handrails throughout the process. ✧ I’ve created a couple of scenes so far that didn’t make it into the series, and I’m sure I’ll make more that don’t feel like a fit. That’s ok. That’s part of if–– study is vital. Practice, too. In this particular instance, mine just happens to look like a tiny train person standing on a mound of sugar. ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors • #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Welcome to Broccoli Forest. 🥦 A whoooole forest in my own apartment, who knew?! Apparently there’s great birdwatching here (as you can see, my friend brought binoculars). 😂 ✧ Originally my idea for this series was solely to do landscapes made from objects in my home. I’ve always loved using abstraction in my art, and thought this would be an interesting challenge given the context. I then thought it would be good to add tiny figures to give a sense of some scale. From there I found a ton of incredible creators out there making amazing miniature worlds. @tanaka_tatsuya is a favorite of mine. ✧ These images were created with broccoli, a bamboo plate, a sweatshirt, a pillowcase & a little train model figure. If you are making/photographing something inside that is outdoors-inspired, share using the hashtag #OurGreatIndoors so we can see how far and wide our community’s creativity stretches. 🌿 ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors • #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

View this post on Instagram

Today I went on my first EVER trip to Paper Bag Canyon. 😉 I wasn’t really sure what we were going to find here, but I am learning that imagination is an adventure in and of itself. 💭 ✧ The response from this series has been great so far! Thank you to everyone who has sent me images of the adventures you are creating while inside. ✧ I HEREBY CHALLENGE YOU to create your own indoor adventure, and to share it so we can all come along! Whether it’s a tiny one like this series here, or setting up your tent in your living room, post and tag #OurGreatIndoors and let’s create some inspiration for us all as a community. And if you can’t participate at this time, I invite you to follow along. I’ll share your work on my stories as the hashtag fills up. ✧ This canyon was made from paper bags taped to a cutting board, and the little hiker dude is a figure from a model train set. Lighting is just the natural light coming from my window. If you feel disqualified because you don’t have a big fancy camera, try using your phone! As always, use what you’ve got. Creativity can thrive even (especially?) within a set of restrictions. 🧑‍🎨 ✧ #ErinsGreatIndoors • #OurGreatIndoors

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on

(Visited 1 times, 5 visits today)

Leave Your Comment Below

More Inspiring Stories