Lori Nix has a morbid imagination. The photographer has been fascinated with the end of the world for as long as she can remember, and she says it may have to do with growing up in rural Kansas.
“I’ve been in tornadoes, floods, blizzards,” Nix told Business Insider. “I grew up surrounded by disaster.”
Nix’s project “The City” portrays a world where some disaster has caused humans to depart for an unseen destination. What’s left behind are dilapidated structures — art museums, theatres, laundromats, bars, libraries — that no longer function and are slowly being reclaimed by Mother Nature.
To create the photos, Nix and her partner Kathleen Gerber construct dioramas of each idea by hand, using a variety of materials. When the diorama is finished, Nix brings in her camera and photographs it in a way that makes them look chillingly real.
Nix constructs all of her dioramas, like this one depicting a library circulation desk, in her Brooklyn apartment.
Each diorama can take up seven months to create, the result of adding painstaking detail to every part of the scene.
In this diorama, the columns are approximately two feet tall and she used Breyer model horses for the fountain.
Nix usually builds and paints the dioramas, while Gerber adds dirt and distresses them so they look old and decrepit.
When Nix and Gerber finish constructing the diorama, Nix photographs the diorama with a traditional large-format camera. Each shot can take up to two weeks to get right.
Nix says that this image of a library is everyone's favourite. The books are individually carved out of foam and took an entire summer to create.
Not all of Nix's dioramas are serious. In this one, she added pterodactyls to the scene to add humour.
Many of Nix's work references what climate change might do to our world. Here plants are seen overtaking a Space Center.
Nix says that while she is afraid of what climate change might do to Earth, she is fascinated by what a changing world can bring.
This one is based on a mall that Nix visited in Columbus, Ohio. When she went back to do more research, it had already been razed.
'I imagined the 7 train being abandoned out on the platform long enough so that it was flooded by sand and wind,' Nix told Details.
For this map room, Nix tried to imagine a beautiful place overtaken by mildew and mould. She say it was influenced by Hurricane Katrina.
Nix says a lot of her work is inspired by 1970s disaster and apocalypse movies like 'Planet of the Apes' and 'The Poseidon Adventure.'
Nix says this one was inspired by her childhood in Kansas, when her mother would take her to the town beauty shop every other week. 'I've never forgotten those weird pink colours.'
Nix got the idea for this one from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, which is around the corner from her apartment. She tried to imagine 'just how crazy it might get,' if it stopped being maintained.
When Nix is finished photographing a diorama, she deconstructs it and throws it away to make room for the next idea.
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