Known by his Flickr username Fiddle Oak, 14-year-old Zev Hoover has been causing quite a stir on the internet over his fairytale-like, surreal photographs. Hoover’s ‘miniature worlds’ are created by shrinking down images of people and placing them in various scenarios using Photoshop. With the help of his sister, Nell, this young, yet incredibly talented, photographer from Massachusetts creates beautiful, clever and well-executed images. I interviewed Hoover this week to get some insight into his ‘miniature worlds’ and to discuss his path to photography, inspiration and camera of choice.
When did you first become interested in photography?
“I started taking pictures when I was 8, with an old cellphone camera. I have no idea why I got started, just happened naturally.”
What is it about photography that has kept you interested for 6 years?
“Everything! I love cameras, I love the mechanical click of the shutter. I love lenses, and apertures. I love shooting selfies, and editing, and sharing. There isn’t one part that I don’t love.”
What is your camera of choice?
“I shoot with a d7000, but any interchangeable lens camera with a large enough sensor would do the trick. More important is the lens, which for me is a samyang 85mm f1.4. I just love that thing.”
Your ‘miniature world’ photographs have been receiving a bit of attention in the media lately. How did you come up with idea?
“The idea came from a walk in the woods with my sister. It is fun to imagine little people peaking at you from behind the ferns, and fun to shoot because I can put my eye near the ground and imagine a world from their perspective.”
Can you tell us about the process behind creating these miniature worlds?
“Well, I start with an idea, then I shoot the ‘background’ picture (the scene without the people in it). Then the next day, or later the same day, I find a willing subject (usually me) and take a picture of them, trying to match the lighting and colors as close as possible. Then, I take both pictures into Photoshop, cut out the background of the person picture, draw shadows in and adjust brightness to make a better match. Tada!”
What inspires you as a photographer?
“I am inspired by everything in my life, from other photographers, to lovely evening light. I find a lot of the ideas for my pictures right before falling asleep.”