Matthew Albanese specializes in photo trickery, sculpting detailed dioramas out of everything from garbage bags to jelly beans and lighting them in such a way that they look like natural landscapes. He's built the surface of Mars from charcoal and paprika, turned ostrich feathers into weeping willows, and captured a fake Aurora Borealis against a cork board night sky.

Albanese made his "How to Breath Underwater" diorama up top using a wide range of materials: nonpareils, clay, candle wax, glitter, figs, peanut shells, and yes, toothpaste, just to name a few. He then carefully lights his pieces and plans his forced perspective shots. These methods allow him to create realistic images of misty mountains, forest streams, exploding volcanos, and even the surface of the moon.

Visit his gallery for more of his fake landscape photos are well as videos of his process.

Strange Worlds [Behance - Hat tip to Cathy!]


"Fields, After the Storm," made from faux fur, cotton, and sifted tile grout.

"Aurora Borealis" — this one does contain one real element (the trees, which were added later), but the aurora is a colored beam of light against a black curtain and the stars are lights shining through a cork board.


"Wildfire" — the glow comes from yellow, orange, and red party bulbs.


"New Life" — the tree is made from chocolate and ostrich feathers; the water is coffee.