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Picture Show: Fake Holidays

Most vacations involve self-deception. We all do it to varying degrees, but to engage in the fantasy of a few days in paradise is...

Most vacations involve self-deception. We all do it to varying degrees, but to engage in the fantasy of a few days in paradise is to partake in a willful suspension of disbelief. Yet nowhere is our modern propensity for playful delusion more evident than in the work of the photographer Reiner Riedler, whose book Fake Holidays explores the wonderful absurdity a number of artificial paradises, from themed amusement parks to simulated beaches to scaled-down landmark replicas.

"I started my project years ago in Germany when I first saw these artificial summer beaches in the big cities like Berlin or Hamburg," says Riedler. "After work, you go to these places, and as soon as you get off your shoes, put your feet in the sand, and hold a cold drink in your hand, you are on holiday. There are many places all over the world that deal with the same idea, and at the beginning the places are all fascinating. But the more you observe them, the more you learn about the business machinery that stands behind them."

What follows is a look—with both wide-eyed wonder and a bit of a knowing wink—at a selection from Reiner Riedler's Fake Holidays.

In addition to Riedler's photography, Fake Holidays contains essays by Bill Kouwenhoven and Jens Lindworsky. For now, you can order a copy by emailing moser[at]kno-va[dot]de. It should be on Amazon soon.

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