Meet the artist and photographer making a big deal of little people

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
David Gulliver creates delicate works of art which he then photographs. (PHOTO: Supplied by David Gilliver Photography)
David Gulliver creates delicate works of art which he then photographs. (PHOTO: Supplied by David Gilliver Photography)

You might have to squint a bit – or get your glasses – to see these tiny works of art, but once you do, you’ll be blown away. 

These incredible miniature figurines, set in tiny, imaginary scenes, are the brainchild of Scottish artist David Gilliver (43). 

David, a professional photographer, is well known for his Little People collection. It features figurines, each barely 2 cm tall, in their meticulously constructed world.

READ MORE| From farming art to face tattoos – the fascinating ways fans are paying tribute to marvellous Messi

He purchases the tiny railroad figurines from Japan and Singapore and sends them to a painter to have them customised to his requirements before building the world around them.

“Creating this work is a rather delicate (yet incredibly rewarding) process,” says David.

David Gilliver, art, figurines, photography
Although David admits that it's a delicate process, he says it's also a satisfying one. (PHOTO: Supplied by David Gilliver Photography)

He uses fruit or everyday objects to construct the landscape and photographs the diorama once its set up.

“The time to shoot each diorama varies, but on average each shot probably takes something like two to three hours to set up, photograph and edit.

David Gilliver, art, figurines, photography
Fruit often makes an appearance in David's world, often forming part of the landscape. (PHOTO: Supplied by David Gilliver Photography)

“Sometimes lighting the miniature scenes in a satisfactory way is the trickiest part, so I spend a lot of time getting that part just right."

David has also taken the once ubiquitous blue Covid-19 face mask and found new use for them as a swimming pool for his tiny figurines, including one leaping from a diving board made from a hand sanitiser bottle. 

“I've always enjoyed the interaction that takes place between the figurines and objects or props that we humans either use or consume as we go about our daily lives.”

David Gilliver, art, figurines, photography
The pandemic helped him to get more creative with his dioramas. (PHOTO: Supplied by David Gilliver Photography)

READ MORE| These awe-inspiring images are winners in the 2022 photomicrography competition

“I've lost track of who I actually go food shopping for anymore – my family, or the Little People!” 

David Gilliver, art, figurines, photography
David has found a way to form worlds around his figurines. (PHOTO: Supplied by David Gilliver Photography)

His most recent pieces were created during lockdown, when it was difficult to travel abroad, but he says it was an ideal time to get creative with new ideas. 

People have fallen in love with his work and along with exhibitions of his artwork throughout Europe, he holds courses where he teaches the techniques of macro photography – the art of photographing small subjects very closely. 

David Gilliver, art, figurines, photography
In 2018 he became a full-time artist, specialising in macro photography and light painting after working in finance for 14 years.(PHOTO: Supplied by David Gilliver Photography)

David says that being a father to a young daughter has been critical in keeping his imagination alive, which he believes is important as an adult in his line of work. 

"This style of photography very much taps into a childlike way of thinking. The more you do of it, the more you're able to access it. It's like a muscle almost," he says.

Sources: bbc.com, independent.co.uk, davidgilliver.com, Instagram (@dgilliver), Facebook (David Gilliver Photography)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24