Viral pictures show incredible scenes created solely by cardboard

Pictures taken by a photographer from Maine have gone viral after he used cardboard cutouts in front of the sun to create incredible scenes.

John Marshall has spent the last five years creating his "Sunset Selfies" series, using cardboard cutouts of shapes such as dragons, dinosaurs and even Kermit the Frog to create the viral pictures, British news agency SWNS reports.

Marshall, 54, said he has a limited time to take the pictures due to the ever-changing nature of the evening sky.

John Marshall surprised by a T Rex in a fun selfie created using cardboard in Maine. (Credit: SWNS)

John Marshall surprised by a T Rex in a fun selfie created using cardboard in Maine. (Credit: SWNS)

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"Sunset is an amazing time. I have about a half-hour window to take my photos, but the sky can change so much during that time," Marshall said. "You never know what the sunset is going to look like. That's what's cool about it - it's a collaboration with nature, with whatever the earth gives you."

Marshall, who has a 27-year-old son and a 25-year-old daughter, said he got the inspiration from his own childhood.

"I always wanted to be a cartoonist when I was a kid, I did a lot of single-panel cartoons," Marshall noted. "I was out watching the sunset one evening, and beside me I had a camera, a beer box, and a pair of scissors. I quickly cut an alligator's face into the box, put it on my head, and snapped a picture. It looked really magical against the setting sun."

John Marshall rides a horse in a fun selfie created using cardboard in Maine. (Credit: SWNS)

John Marshall rides a horse in a fun selfie created using cardboard in Maine. (Credit: SWNS)

Marshall first started the series with a very simplistic ideal and no editing or special effects from his camera. But over time, the writer-by-trade said the process became more complex.

John Marshall singing with Kermit in a fun selfie. (Credit: SWNS)

John Marshall singing with Kermit in a fun selfie. (Credit: SWNS)

"In terms of creativity, this is how I spend all my time. It's a nice way to take some time away from my computer screen," Marshall explained. "The cutting itself I try to do very fast. It can be pretty rough - all you really need is the silhouette, so it's quite forgiving. But the challenge is to figure out how to stage the photo. It's a mix of photography, art, and a bit of acting."

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"I set up a tripod, sometimes wooden stakes, and I spend a lot of time running back and forth to the camera to see if the angles are right," he continued. "Sometimes I'll use the same cardboard shape over a few days, to make sure the photo is right. But I've got quite good at looking at the sky during the day and knowing exactly what the sunset is going to look like that day, so I know what I'm working with."

John Marshall is found by ET. (Credit: SWNS)

John Marshall is found by ET. (Credit: SWNS)

Marshall hopes that his work can inspire others, alluding to his work with orphaned children.

"I can tell stories through my silhouette pictures, and I try and keep it kid-focused because I know they're watching," he said. "I also want to show them that this is something that everyone can do, this is not some magic that I've created. I really want to encourage kids to make their own sunset pictures."

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