Classic Photos: The Warped Reality of Robert Funk

Long before the present day, when every image seems to be Photoshopped, Robert Funk was creating surreal images that bent reality without even leaving it. The previously New York based photographer captured images around the world in the 70’s, juxtaposing real life with toys, miniatures, paintings, cutouts & “plastic thingies.” He pioneered the photography of toys, an unusual subject for the time, and was featured in many magazines of the day including Popular Photography. Often his images used large flat cut-outs of magazines or even his own art, interacting with the environment around them while their shiny surfaces reflected the surrounding light. His work took him around the world, sometimes seeing him haul large cut-outs in his luggage or creating new ones on location. It wasn’t always just play though… of the photograph taken below he says:

“I snapped this, he gave me the biggest death look. I thought he was going to scalp me. I was about 7 feet from him in a wide open landscape. In 1976, Morocco was a dangerous place to shoot and foreigners were looked at as being prey. Taking easy pictures, they are easy. That’s most of what you see today. Easy Pictures. Taking tough pictures requires a little bravery and lack of judgement. I had 3 men pull knives on me in Casablanca while shooting. Two of them punked down after I stood my ground. The third one chased me around a car while shouting kill you in French.”

See a load more of Robert Funk’s fantastic work at

Below: the artist himself in 1983.

Benjamin Starr

Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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  1. I like Robert Funk’s work a lot. He seems to predate other people doing miniature and toy photography like David Levinthal, Laurie Simmons and others.

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