Little people
Photo: Mike Rubenstein
















By Danielle Scregg

For this months photography blog I turned to Instagram for inspiration. As many of you will know, Instagram is a photo-sharing come social networking service. It allows its users to take photographs and then add a digital filter.

Lending some style guides from what once was a popular camera, the Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid, the square shaping is what makes it different from the usual 4:3 aspect ratio we are used to with mobile phones.

What some of you may not know is where it all began, so here is a little history: Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger launched the site in October 2010 and it rapidly became popular. As of September 2012 Facebook bought the company for a whopping $300 million in cash and 23 million in shares of stock, with plans to keep it independently managed.

A popular feature that was added to the app in January 2011 known as the hashtag helps users popularise their photographs. It was through such hashtagging that I found my next talented photographer.

User Mike Rubenstein, found at @rubicantekid, takes photographs of his miniature drawings, creating something different from your average picture of food, clothing or cosmetic product.

Rubenstein currently works as an illustrator and whilst on the job he dreamt up an imaginative way to use his Instagram account. The idea developed from one bored happenstance whilst drawing on a post-it note.

He draws pictures of people and places them next to objects that you could normally hold in your hand.

The first of these little peopleIn an interview with Instagram he said: “The first of these little people was really just a doodle from a post-it note, but I got such a kick out of how the photo came out that I started looking around my desk to see what sort of stuff I had lying around… and at this point I can’t look at anything without wondering if a little paper guy might look good alongside it.”

Many people take photographs of the objects he places his drawings next to. What sets Rubenstein apart is the clever way in which he adds interest to the boring, run of the mill pictures of food by adding these comical drawings.

In each photograph, the little drawings not only add a sense of entertainment, they also form a story. The whole thing reminds me of the film, Honey I Shrunk the Kids. If you haven’t seen the film, it is about a dad who invents a machine that shrinks things. By accident his children get shrunk by the machine and the film depicts their struggles in trying to manoeuvre around the giant house.

If you could conjure up an image of yourself the size of the drawings, you can imagine what life would be like for the little characters. Robenstein also adds a caption to go with each photograph which also adds to the hilarity.

“The whole fun of the project is in shifting the context of everyday things through these little cutouts,” says Mike.

What I like most about Instagram is the way in which people like Robenstein can express their talents freely, for the world to see using photography. I know I will be looking forward to seeing what other adventures these little, paper people get up to on my Instagram feed.