Hailing from the mighty town of Oldham, Gisela Szlatoszlavek has been a street and documentary photographer for the last decade, capturing and documenting the people and the iconic areas of both Manchester and Blackpool.
It was around a year ago, working as a teaching assistant, when she hit upon a ‘little’ idea, one prompted by her students using small plastic figurines in class that made her “think of how well that would work out in the street.”
So, she set about thinking of Blackpool and Manchester’s most iconic and recognisable streets and people, before beginning the long process of planning and preparing the tiny shots.
“The idea process takes weeks,” Gisela remarks, “I’ll use Google Street View to find the right locations and plan the shots before I even leave the house.” An often painstaking process that involves getting the right angles, aesthetics, lighting and a myriad of other variables correct, which will affect how the finished photograph comes out.
From here Gisela then buys the figures online, and then takes her time to adapt, and individually hand-paint them so that they fit her intended scenes. In some instances she’s gone to the effort of meticulousily creating miniature clothing and outfits for the figures, using a high-strength magnifying glass (and a steady hand!)
Gisela’s series of miniature scenes has been entitled ‘A Nod To…‘ taking in everything from Salford Lads Club to the Manchester Bee, and even the graffiti artist Akse P19, depicted painting on a spray can with his iconic Ian Curtis memorial on Port Street in the background.
“Everything I’ve done up to now is a nod to something special about the city, such as the Haçienda, Manchester United, and Manchester City.”
More recent ‘nods’ include ‘Vintage‘ with “iconic items such as the top 40 tape and if you were around in the 80s you would understand the use of a pencil to rewind,” and ‘The Courteeners‘ complete with a pink neon sign, a yellow Lambretta knocked on its side, and The Smithfield Social in the background.
The ‘Nod To’ series also includes scenes set in Blackpool, where Gisela has “picked out the details that you would only see on Blackpool Beach; the vest-wearing sunburnt men, the buggies being pulled along the sand backwards, sunbathers and ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hats.”
Gisela explains, “What is important to me is capturing the essence of all that is great in Manchester and Blackpool and turning it into unique and original photographs that capture not only the iconic but also the fun.”
The plan is for Gisela to eventually produce a book of her incredible miniature images and work, and while the series remains a side project for her, the hope is for one day to collaborate with other artists, and eventually take on paid commissions.
To follow Gisela’s photography and the ‘Nod To…’ series, head on over to her Instagram page and give her a follow…