Carnaval in miniature

Photography purists sneer at tilt-shift, loudly mock the Lensbaby and dismiss overly processed photos. But “The City of Samba,” a tilt-shift time lapse of Carnaval by Keith Loutit and Jarbas Agnelli, dares the most straight-laced to dismiss it.

Tilt-shift photography captures long distance images and makes them appear in miniature. In Loutit and Agnelli’s video, the claustrophobia is well captured in the frenetic shots. More than two million flooded Rio de Janiero this year for Carnaval, an annual festival. Wave upon wave of comical figures are rendered with the jerky movements of Barbie dolls fluttering around in a miniature city packed to the gills. Oh, and throw in an oversized gorilla float or two.

Still, the piece is surprisingly delicate in its depiction of lush Brazilian landscapes. Who knew tilt-shift had such range? Apparently, every tool has its place.

Keith Loutit is an Australian photographer and filmmaker who has been experimenting with tilt-shift for years. Jarbas Agnelli is a Brazilian artist working in film, photography and music. Both have had their work featured by the Guggenheim.

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