Photographer Erin Sullivan is creating miniature worlds with household objects while she's self-isolating.
  • Erin Sullivan is a travel photographer, writer, and on-camera host based in Los Angeles, California.
  • Sullivan has been self-isolating for the past month, which has prevented her from traveling for work as she typically does.
  • Sullivan is bringing her work to her home, creating miniature worlds for photo shoots with household items like broccoli, tinfoil, and even pancakes.
  • "One of my favourite things about this project has been sharing it with the community and hearing that it's giving people joy," she told Insider.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

It's a hard time to be a travel photographer like Erin Sullivan, who's currently self-isolating in her Los Angeles, California, home.

"I have so much privilege in that I have a safe place to be and that I live in a place where it's safe to go on walks," she told Insider.

Despite her positive attitude, it's still difficult for Sullivan that she can't travel to take photos in unique backdrops around the world as she's used to. So she's bringing the abundance of the outdoors inside.

Sullivan has been using household items to create miniature versions of places she's photographed around the world

Sullivan got the idea for the project because of the abstraction that's often a part of her work.

"I've always been interested in abstraction as a tool for photography," she said.

"I always try to abstract what I'm seeing so it gives the audience a little bit of a pause. I wanted to apply that same concept to the things in my house."

"How can I abstract a pillowcase? How can I abstract a paper bag and make it look like these places I know very well?" she asked herself.

The answer to those questions has turned into #OurGreatIndoors, a project that has led Sullivan to create everything from a forest made out of broccoli to a canyon made of pancakes.

She shares her photos on Instagram, challenging her followers to create their own tiny worlds while they're stuck inside.

When she started the project, Sullivan had to think about how she could convey scale to her viewers

Because she's trying to make small items seem larger, Sullivan had to find a way to make her scenes look bigger than they are.

She decided to use small, human figurines to make the areas seem big.

Sullivan ordered the figurines online, and she's reused them for each shoot.

"It feels really hilarious doing the series. You just have to laugh it's so ridiculous," she said. "And the images have been really neat."

Sullivan has worked to be responsible with the process and materials she uses in this project

Sullivan primarily uses things she already has around the house for her shoots.

But if she needs any additional materials, she'll grab it on her weekly grocery run, rather than adding any additional outings to her week that could increase her interactions with others.

"Nothing goes to waste. I really don't want to be wasting anything just for a photo right now," she said.

"So I did a pancake canyon, and we ate all those pancakes."

"I kept the sugar from the sugar sand dunes," she said of another shoot.

Sullivan said the time it takes her to do a shoot varies, but it's thinking of an idea that takes her the longest.

Her concepts will often come to her while she's falling asleep or working out.

Actually setting up the shoot might take as few as 10 minutes, with an additional 30 minutes of actually taking pictures, or she could be working for as long as two hours.

"It's unpredictable," she said.

The project has been keeping Sullivan's creativity alive

"It gives me some momentum and something to look forward to in my day because I'm not going out shooting right now," she said of the project.

"Normally, I spend a lot of time on the road or shooting things outside, so for me it's a way to keep that part of my life alive in a totally different way and a totally different scale."

But she also said it's been a nice way to connect with others during a period that can be very isolating for people.

"One of my favourite things about this project has been sharing it with the community and hearing that it's giving people joy," she told Insider.

"People have taken on the challenge to do with their kids. They've said it's been fun and it's a nice break."

"But also it reminds us of the places that we love," she added, making people feel less disconnected from the outside world.

She encouraged others to try her #OurGreatIndoors challenge, even if they aren't professional photographers.

"You don't need to be a professional. Just don't be too attached to the result," she said.

"Don't compare yourself or your work to others. Just let it be fun."

You can see Sullivan's latest installments in the project on her Instagram here.

Sullivan also has a TedTalk about the relationship between living in the moment and photography, which you can watch here, and you can visit her website here.

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