Rick Finkelstein’s Mysterious, Cinematic Dioramas

You probably made dioramas back in elementary school, but we guarantee you that even the ones your parents secretly made for you weren’t as evocative as Rick Finkelstein’s. A former trial lawyer who now builds detailed, psychologically rich scenes in miniature and takes dramatically lit photographs of his creations, Finkelstein observes that his two careers have something in common: “A criminal trial lawyer does two things,” he writes on his website. “He tells stories. And he also frames a case, decides what is included and excluded. He crops the story to only include certain information which does not reveal the whole truth. So too with photographs. They tell a piece of a story and exclude much other information which can only be imagined.”

This philosophy is apparent in the images Finkelstein creates. One shows a man and a woman, mostly hidden in dark shadows, meeting under a trio of mismatched Greek columns. In another, a large woman looks in the mirror and sees a lingerie model staring back at her. It’s left to us to determine whether this is truly the way she regards herself, or if what we’re supposed to see is the pressure exerted on her to look like that. Click through to see some of our favorite photographs by Finkelstein, who we discovered via Faith is Torment, and visit his website or gallery for more of his work.

Rick Finkelstein, Brief Encounter, 2012, archival pigment print. All images via Robert Mann Gallery