A hole new world: Photographers reimagine potholes as surreal adventures

Remember when you were a little kid, when the best thing about rainy days was that they provided puddles for splashing in and daydreaming about? When you could float leaves across imaginary oceans and go fishing for underwater treasure?

Now imagine that you are fully grown and you're still doing that.

That's exactly what New York City-based photographers Davide Luciano and Claudia Ficca have done: They let their imaginations run wild in a conceptual photo series that transforms ordinary potholes into deep sea channels and rabbit holes to Wonderland.

The husband-and-wife photography duo began their "Potholes" project in 2009 after driving over an uneven road in their hometown of Montreal. They realized they could use their creativity as a lighthearted way to highlight municipal problems.

With props in tow and obliging friends and family as models, Luciano and Ficca set out to photograph their fanciful scenes during pauses in traffic.

Pothole pain: The cost of this winter's pitted roadways

"Some drivers would stop and laugh," Davide told TODAY.com via email. "One guy wanted our hot dogs and beer from the BBQ scene." (The photographers were gracious enough to comply, but only after they had gotten the perfect shot.)

The series, which spans streets in Montreal, New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, hasn't always been smooth sailing — er, driving. The first time the duo photographed in New York, Davide's brother Paolo was crouching on the street over a spaghetti-filled pothole when an impatient taxi cab started honking and a police car pulled up to question the team.

"Claudia ran over to the pothole, lifted the bag and spaghetti out, and the four of us walked away with the shot and a good story," Davide said. "Luckily the policeman let us go."

Davide's colorful stories befit the elaborately surreal project. The photographers may have run into a few bumps along their road, but ultimately, their creative perspectives trumped all.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Hole wide world: Potholes become elaborate photo scenes

    Photographers Davide Luciano and Claudia Ficca gather friends and family to model in this unique photo series that puts a humorous spin on an everyday municipal frustration: potholes.

  • Hole wide world: Potholes become elaborate photo scenes

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    Hole wide world -

    Husband and wife duo Davide Luciano and Claudia Ficca began their "Potholes" project in 2009 after driving over an unkempt road in their hometown of Montreal. The two continued to photograph potholes in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, providing a creative perspective to a frustrating everyday problem.

    Alice in Wonderland
    This image, of Alice chasing the White Rabbit down to Wonderland, is Davide's personal favorite.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
  • Hole wide world: Potholes become elaborate photo scenes

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    Baptism at Chemin de la Foret -

    A priest performs a baptism with leftover rain water outside of the Chemin de la Foret Cemetery in Montreal.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
  • Hole wide world: Potholes become elaborate photo scenes

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    Baywatch on Almafi Dr. -

    A Pamela Anderson look-alike rushes to the rescue as someone "drowns" in a Los Angeles pothole. (Maybe we should introduce Davide and Claudia to Matt Lauer and have him bust out his red swimsuit.)

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
  • Hole wide world: Potholes become elaborate photo scenes

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    Beer & BBQ on Rue Waverly -

    It's a block party for two on Montreal's Rue Waverly! And what better way to keep your beers chilled than in a cooler built right into the ground?

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
  • Hole wide world: Potholes become elaborate photo scenes

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    Bubble Bath on Rue de St-Firmin -

    Splish splash: A little boy playfully prepares for his bubble bath at an intersection in Montreal.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
  • Hole wide world: Potholes become elaborate photo scenes

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    Spaghetti & Meatballs on Greenwich Street -

    A man enjoys his meal as he dines streetside in Manhattan. (He better make it to go before that taxi gets any closer.)

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
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    Diver on Ave. Musset -

    A swimmer gets ready to take the plunge in a questionably shallow pool in Montreal.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
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    Dog Wash on Alfred Street -

    Pooches in puddles: Pets and their owners line up for a makeshift dog wash in Los Angeles.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
  • Hole wide world: Potholes become elaborate photo scenes

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    Champagne on Tecumseh Street -

    Three women enjoy bottles of champagne on ice and fresh strawberries in Toronto.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
  • Hole wide world: Potholes become elaborate photo scenes

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    Doughnuts on Rue Belanger -

    Get 'em while they're hot! A baker gives his fresh treats the finishing touch with a shake of powdered sugar on Rue Belanger in Montreal.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
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    Gardener on Cote du Vesinet -

    A woman tends to her flower garden on a warm day in Montreal. This definitely gives us a new perspective on urban agriculture.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
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    Pedicare on Rue Queen -

    DIY nail salon: Two women pamper each other with pedicures.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
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    Fisherman on Henri-Julien -

    A fisherman reels in his catch of the day at a secluded water hole in Montreal. Something seems fishy here....

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
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    Scuba Diver on Ave. Beaconsfield -

    A man surveys his pothole as he prepares to go scuba diving. Maybe it's deeper than it looks?

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
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    Laundry on Rue Saint-Urbain -

    A woman looks up from doing her laundry on Rue Saint-Urbain in Montreal.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
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    Walk of Fame on New Hampshire -

    Almost famous: A pseudo-celebrity makes his mark on New Hampshire Avenue in Los Angeles.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
  • Hole wide world: Potholes become elaborate photo scenes

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    Winemaking on Rue Saint-Zotique -

    I wonder if grape-stomping in potholes gives wine a more gritty, natural flavor?

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca
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    Santa Claus on Tremaine Street -

    Santa Claus is coming to town! The jolly old man dips his gingerbread cookies in a pothole of milk.

    Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca / Davide Luciano, Claudia Ficca

Samantha Okazaki is a multimedia editor for TODAY.com.

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