Art Flourishing in Quarantine!

Outdoorsy Erin Sullivan is bringing adventure travel photography indoors with spectacular results.



(Scifier /

What is an acclaimed photographer and travel blogger to do, suddenly finding herself “un-busy” and hunkering down in her Los Angeles apartment  in “the new normal”? Never one to sit still, Erin Sullivan had a lightbulb moment. Yes, her world just got a lot smaller, but why not bring the great outdoors inside by recreating the look and feel of scenic spots in miniature at home? The results, as you can see, are amazing!

Her tools? Heaps of imagination, her Sony alpha A7Riii 90 mm f2.8 Macro lens, and little plastic model figures from hobby shops still delivering during lockdown “to give a sense of some scale.”

Each piece going up on Twitter also features a “behind the scenes” image. These show Sullivan’s ingenuity in setting up the shot using things found around the house, her eyes having scoured her living space for colors and textures echoing something of the landscapes she usually photographs. The optical illusions she came up with take in real and imagined destinations including “Great Pancake Canyon”, “Sugar Sand Dunes” and “The Enchanted Forest of Broccoli”.

Check out these gems from Sullivan’s Twitter gallery
This image was made using tin foil and rainwear!

Here Sullivan recreated the White Sands National Park in New Mexico by spilling sugar on her bedsheets!

The response from grounded marathon runner, Andrew Hughes, is heartening: “Can’t get enough of these! I was supposed to run my first marathon in the White Sands of New Mexico a few weeks ago before it was cancelled. This is a sweet and enjoyable consolation on an isolation Friday.”

Inspiring others
After Sullivan began posting her ideas, keen to encourage other wanderlusters to turn adversity into creativity, she invited everyone to create their own indoor adventures for the #OurGreatIndoors hashtag. “I want to give [the challenge] to the world as a new way for us to look at our collective humanity, and our collective creativity, and the hope that we can bring to each other,” Sullivan told the Washington Post. And it worked! So far, bathtub waterfalls, coffee sand and book mountains are among their creations.

On her Instagram account, #erinoutdoors”, Sullivan explains that her new hobby led her to some “incredible creators out there making amazing miniature worlds.” @Tanaka-tatsuya is one favorite. Here’s Tatsuya’s surfing composition using surgical masks:

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A post shared by Tatsuya Tanaka ???? (@tanaka_tatsuya) on

And another take on quarantine life:

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A post shared by Tatsuya Tanaka ???? (@tanaka_tatsuya) on

Sullivan’s challenge joins a growing number of creativity prompts beaming out to the quarantined public via social media. The Getty Museum is asking people to recreate masterpieces from their art collection using people and objects in their homes. The entries shared in their lockdown challenge will make you LOL!

Meanwhile, hashtag #stayhomegetout is where people are surreally documenting themselves, in full gear, engaged in “camping”, “rock-climbing” and other outdoor adventures, but at home!

Erin Sullivan, photographer
Sullivan’s Twitter bio showcases someone who cares about our environment and the meaning of her craft: “Photographer passionate about travel, the outdoors & living deliberately. @TED speaker. Inspired by nature, culture & conservation.”

In this TED talk, Sullivan wonders if photographing a moment can steal something of the experience from us. She explains that we’re often so quick to pull out our phones to snap something amazing, that we forget to pause, and be fully present. But her new “quarantine works”, and the art they inspire, like all art, allow us to experience these precious, imagined moments for ourselves.

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