Zev Hoover, known on Flickr as fiddleoak, has become an internet sensation with his “little folk” photo series. These miniature worlds — in which he digitally shrinks people into tiny dreamlike scenarios — involve kids sitting on acorns, rafts made of popsicle sticks and paper airplanes as viable modes of transport. His images have generated buzz not only because of his sheer talent, but the fact that Zev is only 14 years old.
“I like to take the viewer along on a magical journey of rediscovering the world,” Zev says in the accompanying video. “I like showing them that even the little things around us are really beautiful.”
Zev started taking pictures as an 8-year-old with an old cell phone camera, before moving up the ranks and getting professional cameras — which ultimately ignited his passion for photography.
“I really like cameras,” Zev says. “They’re just beautiful. Lenses are lovely things. And so the actual shooting, I love doing. Also, there’s a moment like no other when you’re done editing a picture, and you sort of sit back and look at it… it’s wonderful.”
Zev doesn’t remember where the original idea for “little folk” came from. He claims it “just sort of happened” one day back in 2011 while on a walk through the woods with his sister. He’s always loved nature and being outdoors.
“I like putting my eye near the ground,” Zev admits, “because you see a totally different world when you’re thinking from the point of view of something smaller than you. Everywhere I go, I see a perfect spot for a little person. Maybe it’s a little rock, which makes for a perfect cave for a person, or perhaps it’s a leaf that would make for a perfect boat… I see that everywhere.”
Zev is inspired by everything in his life — ranging from various Flickr photographers to his current hobbies/interests. Recently, many of his images have been inspired by flight which stems from his hobby of making remote-controlled planes. Before that he was into origami, which is why he used paper cranes in his photos. And before that, he used playing cards after becoming interested in magic.
“I always try and show what I’m interested in my ‘little folks’ series,” Zev says, “I’ve found that they can sort of adapt to anything.”
His process involves capturing the background first without any people in it — often it’s a collage of pictures or panorama. Then, he’ll go out to a location with similar lighting and take photos of people (usually himself) in various poses. Next, he takes both photos into Photoshop and manipulates them by adding shadows and correcting color so that it all matches.
Zev is extremely humbled by all the attention and success of his photography. “I consider myself incredibly lucky that people like my work, and it encourages me to do more. I think photography is universal. You can photograph whatever is in your life. And if you stick to it, you can really get a nice result.”
Visit Zev’s photostream to see more of his photography.
And, check out 18-year-old photographer Olivia Bee who has worked for the world’s most iconic brands. Watch Olivia’s story.