A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the opening night of the newest exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City called “Otherworldly.” A good friend of mine—Matt Albanese—has a rather prominent display in the two-floor exhibit.

Not long after graduating from SUNY Purchase—also my alma mater…what up?—with a BFA in photography, Matt began constructing small-scale landscapes and photographing them. Though it started by accident—he spilled some paprika on the counter and decided the mess looked like a Martian surface—the end result is absolutely stunning. (And I’m not just saying this because he’s a friend of mine.) Through his photography and creativity, he’s transported people to Mars, the moon, the path of a vicious tornado, the scene of an erupting volcano, a forest set ablaze, and more.

After gaining exposure from write-ups in various publications, it was no surprise that, when the Museum of Art and Design decided they would showcase an exhibit of “small-scale hand built depictions of artificial environments and alternative realities,” they asked my friend to create a piece for them. And create he did. (The images on this post are two of the three currently on display at the museum. Can you believe that the “leaves” of this weeping willow tree are actually ostrich feathers? And the "lake" below is, in reality, a patio table.)

Walking around the two-floor exhibit, I was completely blown away. Granted, I have a bias for my friend’s work, but each and every piece that is included in the show is absolutely beautiful. There’s a mix of photography, models, video…even snowglobes. All depict some sort of small-scale world of sorts. If you have the opportunity to check the exhibit out before it ends, I strongly suggest you do. (You’ll have until September 18.)

And you can keep up with Matt and his work via his Twitter feed and/or Facebook page.

Joshua Pramis is an online associate editor and resident tech guru at Travel + Leisure, and often mistaken as someone from an alternative reality. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis

Images courtesy of Matt Albanese.