By Crystal Chung @crystalkchung
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Italian architect and part-time photographer, Domenico Franco has cleverly placed the seemingly life-sized cars in front of historical sites such as the Colosseum, Trajan’s Forum and Via Giulia.
But the images aren’t all that they seem, as they are part of Domenico's latest project where he constructed the fantasy scenes by building the tiny Lego cars and digitally placing them onto separately shot pictures of iconic locations around Italy’s capital city.
Domenico, 46, said: “This project is not meant to convey a social denunciation, it is rather meant to throw a glance across the contemporary city with irony and disillusion on the contemporary Rome.”
Starting in 2014, Franco created his images using 3D Software - Blender and Adobe Photoshop - to place the colourful Lego vehicles within images of the city.
He said: “The process is quite difficult, generally the first step is to imagine what vehicle I would like to use, then I wander through Rome riding my bike and with my camera to find a good location.
“With the help of 3D software Blender, I then get the point of view and draw a grid in the same perspective where I want to place the model. I then print this grid onto transparent film and apply it on the LCD of my camera and, with a lot of patience, I set the camera the model and the lights and shoot.
"The last part of the work is created in Adobe Photoshop where I import the two images into separate layers and so on.”
Domenico’s finished pictures see a Lego helicopter touching down in front of the iconic Colosseum, a Lego train moving through the busy Porta Maggiore intersection and a truck rolling out a Lego Formula 1 Race Car.
Domenico said: “The most difficult one of the series was definitely the train - it was hard work to study and reproduce the sun light, direct shadows on the ground and the reflections on the bricks.”
Franco also builds each of the Lego vehicles himself and says it is the most enjoyable part of the process.
He said: “As an adult fan of Lego, the building process is the most fun thing as I am able to share this joy with my family.
“All the models shown in the project are genuine Lego sets that belong to my collection or from the rooms of my children.”
And for the Italian-born photographer he still loves to trick viewers into thinking the vehicles were really placed around the ancient city.
Domenico said: “I have received a lot of appreciation from all over the world for my photographs, but the one question I still get asked is: ‘How long did it take you to build these giant lego cars?’”