“Finding Florida” A story told with forced perspective photography

Photographer Bob Gibson travels the backroads of Florida with his camera seeking locations that exist unchanged from the 1960’s. When he arrives at an iconic scene, he sets a hand-build diorama in front of the scene–one created of scale model automobiles, found objects and prints of historically accurate signage. The final images tell a story of the times viewed through the eyes of a child on a family vacation.

Florida’s pre-Disney roadside signs are an outrageous celebration of monster-sized creatures and unending products made of citrus. However, these historically accurate signs also show the social attitudes of a state slow to implement civil rights and environmental protections.

“Finding Florida’ began for me as a nostalgic time travel project and became a history lesson.”

All of Bob Gibson’s photos are created “in-camera”. He sets up a tripod, puts his hand built diorama on a step ladder. Puts the camera’s lens extremely close to the “vintage cars” and hits the shutter.

The closeness of the lens to subject does the work to combine foreground and background. This technique, called forced perspective, is how early cinematographers made Godzilla and King Kong seem larger than life.  Gibson visualized images to tell the story of a location, built detailed dioramas then took them “on the road” to shoot each image in the Florida towns of his memories. The fun was searching for

old Florida fruit stands, attractions, historic downtowns and untamed wilderness. Although much of Florida have been overdeveloped, I found some the backroads and lost gem town’s that can still take one back decades in time.

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Near the town of Christmas Fone can view the vast horizons of marsh lands that feed the St. John’s River, as well Airboat Tours, Alligator Farms, Biker Bars and a park that includes restored Florida Cracker Homes.
Yeehaw Junction, a small dot on the map surrounded by hundreds of miles of marsh and Cypress stands, sold fresh Indian River citrus, orange blossom perfume, boiled peanuts, fireworks and stuffed Alligators.
Palm Beach stole the headlines for celebrity sightings, but the intentionally quiet Town of Jupiter Island was and still is America’s wealthiest zip code.
Port Salerno was a hard-working fishing village surrounding the Manatee Pocket. Sport fishing yachts have replaced the Net hauling boats, but this awesome sixties roadside Ice Cream stop remains.
Winter Garden was then the home of the Cypress Gardens waterski attraction. Today Legoland has replaced the pyramid of skiers, and the historic downtown is becoming “foodie spot with breweries” r
Jupiter Inlet is a wonderful time travel location. You can climb a Lighthouse built during the civil war and visit pioneer homes or drive right up to an ocean inlet to fish or watch boats navigate the waves.