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'Box' diorama photos depict life's darker moments framed in cardboard set pieces

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The series of dioramas from 354 Photographers aren't for everyone. But Maxime Delvaux and Kevin Laloux, responsible for creating the Box sequence of images, likely knew that would be the case going in. Based within dollhouse-sized cardboard set pieces, the stills portray a wide variety of dark, often disturbing scenes. One example puts the viewer in the home of a child who's just murdered Santa Claus — or perhaps a parent dressed as the holiday icon. Another depicts a housewife indulging in a cigarette after a car has crashed through her kitchen. Others are less morbid, like the image that finds us looking upon a child wandering the city streets.

Regardless of how you feel about the subject matter, the meticulous work that went into crafting each scene is impressive. As Wired reports, the Box project was first conceived in 2009 as something of a résumé booster for members of the collective. Though they may seem like an odd addition to your typical portfolio, each scene took around three days to assemble, with the 354 crew paying obsessive attention to architecture, lighting, scale, and camera placement. Miniature furniture makes up the environment in each scene, with human subjects photographed separately and later edited into the frame. "We try to not explain too much,” Delvaux told Wired. “The point is to let people interpret the moment.” But they don't intend for observers to get too upset with what they see in Box. "Our scenes are always a little depressing but also a little funny."