Friday, 22 March 2013

Erik Johansson

LECTURE: 22/03/2013

Erik Johansson (TED TALK)

  • Heavily manipulate images
  • Creates something different
  • "Process starts when you press the trigger rather than finishing once you've pressed the trigger"
  • His photographs still have (photo)realism; like they could've been captured
  • Rather he has captured the idea not the moment
  • His photographs are an illusion, using perspective to distort how we interpret them and what we think looks realistic
  • Our brain thinks it exists but it doesn't
  • Our brain takes things we don't even think about and tries to interpret or combine them
  • His photographs still have a realistic result
  • To do this Johansson gives away a few hints: manipulate the perspective of your photographs, same height, same level, same type of height, make it seamless, take away how the image was composed and erase the borders
  • You should create a place, instead of finding a place
  • Compose with the pieces for the puzzle
  • Johansson believes the realistic result comes down to planning
  • The only limit is our imagination

His use and appreciation of LIGHT is obvious throughout Johansson's work. The seamlessness of his work and planning of 100's of layer blended together have created some wonderful, wacky and inspirational photographs. His work is believable, we know it even if we can't articulate it.

CJ's Interpretation:

Set them free
'Set Them Free'
  • Things I'm familiar with: the way the light hits the water, the dappled lighting (evocative at dusk, sun up/down), the sailing ship, the storm (lighting), and the muted flesh tones (human)
  • Things I'm not familiar with: fantasy, because it's not believable

Angry Ants
'Angry Ants"
  • Things I'm familiar with: texture, natural light falling through, the detail of the overturned basket, the element of realism in the trees and the ants

***Remember the three C's: Colour, Contrast, Consistency

More Information: Erik Johansson's Website

My Research:

A photographer and retouch artist
My Favourite Images from his work:
Arms break, vases don't
Arms break, vases don’t, 2008

I love this! I think it's quirky and clever. It makes you look twice. The vase should be broken but instead the hands are broken! It is a ver clever use of layers and set up, and what ever other techniques this artist used to create this image!

Fishy island, 2009

This is so clever! You would expect there to be fish swimming in the lake from that perspective, but not one the size of the lake! This is so clever and works so well! I had to take a second look at this image because it just doesn't look right! I want my photographs to do that, obviously they won't be to this standard in a 13 week course but one can only try.

The video above, about 7 minutes in shows how this was put together and the layers!! Check it out! "Build it up piece by piece"

Roadworkers coffebreak
Roadworker’s coffee break, 2009

This image is great! I think it's funny how it's labelled coffee break, cos all you ever see tradies doing is taking breaks and standing round talking.. or maybe that's just when I see them. I think its so clever how he has photo-shopped this image together! And how he came up with the idea! 

Go your own road
Go your own road, 2008

This image is one of my favourites because I find it so fascinating! The blend between road and material is seamless. The concept is so quirky and makes you think twice. The subject is just walking along with this road coming up behind him like it's completely normal. I think these types of editing and digital manipulation are clever, quirky and unique, go beyond the realistic and open up a world of imagination.

"Having an interest in computers made it a quite natural step to start playing around with the photos and creating something that you couldn’t capture with the camera. Inspiration is everywhere and what you can imagine is what you can create."(

These words are very inspiring, as an artist you need to make your work stand out from others, tweaking a photo can make the difference between a good photo and a great photo... the subtle differences and changes will make the difference .... for me this means making my photos work for me and the brief which I am working with

Looking at the world with a slightly different perspective can give your work more meaning to yourself and also to the viewer, I need to be able to capture a shot and make it my own.

Erik suggests thwre are 3 stages to creating a photo:

1.       planning, making the reflections, materials etc realistic

2.       shooting / collecting material

3.       putting photos together


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