Erik Johansson’s impossible photography

Erik Johansson - Arms break, vases don't

Erik Johansson is a professional photographer and retoucher from Sweden who’s based in Germany and specialises in photorealist imagery. He creates remarkably realistic pictures of implausible scenes by digitally manipulating his own photographs.

Like to learn the strategies he uses to make these fantastical scenarios come to life? Then view the following illuminating video

Erik’s images capture ideas, not moments…

Erik Johansson

Of his work, he says:

For me photography is just a way to collect material to realize the ideas in my mind. I get inspired by things around me in my daily life and all kinds of things I see. Every new project is a new challenge and my goal is to realize them as realistic as possible.

Erik Johansson

images ⓒ Erik Johansson

So what do you think of photorealist images like these? Do tell – simply use the comment box provided below!

And if you’d like to see more of Eric’s photography, you can check out his portfolio here.

Other related posts that may also be of interest are:

The appeal of surreal photography (part I)

The appeal of surreal photography (part II)

My favourite photographer?

10 thoughts on “Erik Johansson’s impossible photography

  1. Really interesting video by Erik Johansson

    Well here’s my two-penneth worth

    Are photomontage’s interesting ….Yes
    Are photomontage’s clever…………Yes
    Are photomontage’s real………….. No
    Would I create a photomontage … Yes for commissioned work… No for personal work.

    These are beautiful well executed images and yet I feel they lack something. As Erik asked “ Is that photography” Well I do have a difficulty in calling this photography.

    In some ways I would prefer a montage to be completely surreal, to the point where photorealistic reality is lost and my eyes and brain are drawn into a completely imaginary world. A photograph which isn’t a photograph if that makes any sense !!!

    I feel photography needs to be born from spontaneity.

    The art of seeing; decisions on framing and technique all happen in that brief moment before depressing the shutter, freezing a moment in time and spurring me on to my next capture where the whole process will repeat itself.

    Erik’s view that “ the process ends when pressing the trigger”, well to a certain extent shooting in digital I can understand this statement. I no longer get that thrill of that first glance as I unwind my negs from their spiral. However shooting in “camera raw” does make me go through a similar thought process as I would in the darkroom, but now I don’t end up with a bin full of discarded prints and fixer stained fingers.

    • Hi Jon,

      I must admit I don’t have any burning desire to create photomontages either, but like you I do admire the technical skill involved in creating such ‘convincing’ images of such implausible scenarios. With this in mind, it seems to me though that Erik’s process is really only just beginning when he depresses the shutter!

      I loved the times I spent in the darkroom when studying photography at university. I was totally captivated by the process and the hours just seemed to curiously evaporate! Digital photography can’t offer the same absorbing thrill that the mysterious alchemy of the traditional darkroom provides, but it does at least make darkroom techniques accessible to many and for that I’m grateful.

      I agree there’s much to be said for the spontaneity of “straight” photography. And the relationship between photography and the notion of ‘the real’ has always fascinated me. (I’ve actually posted about this previously under the title “Do photographs tell the truth?”).

      Thank you for sharing your considered thoughts, Jon – it’s good of you to take the time to view and provide your valued feedback!


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