In her photo series Half Awake, American photographer Erin Tyner gives us an inspiring example of the unexpected synergy of photography, dioramas, and storytelling. Looking at any one of the twenty images in the series, I forget that they are photos and I forget that they are miniatures, as I am drawn to the “unfolding narrative” of each.

Alive in their little world, Tyner’s figurines prompt big feelings: of wonder, mystery, adventure, and longing. Each vignette has the curious, playful quality of a scene, from those oddly beautiful stop-motion animated films. Any of these photos would fit right in and look genius, framed, hanging on the wall of the bedroom of a cool kid. Or at an exhibit that gathers discerning art patrons. Speaking of which, Tyner’s work has been featured in a number of exhibits, and has been lauded by lovers of fine photography from all over the web. Count me in.

You can purchase the prints of the Half Awake series at Erin Tyner’s etsy shop. To know more about Erin and to check out her other works visit