Swedish photographer Erik Johansson creates surreal photographs that capture the supernatural in the everyday. Although they’re obviously doctored, his skills make the compositions look as though they’ve really happened. We see a lot of things that take place in open spaces and nature, and Johansson’s subjects are shown literally sewing up a landscape, effortlessly rowing through a green field, and setting the ships in a painting free into the ocean.
Johansson looks at photography as a way to collect material and to realize the ideas in his mind. He looks at every new project as a challenge to make it as realistic as possible, and he often succeeds. It’s part of the fun that goes along with Johansson’s work, because we generally think of photography as a documentation of something that actually happened; seeing wintered ushered in via someone’s bed sheets, for instance, creates a delightful confusion. We know that there’s no way that this picture is possible, but Johansson has crafted it so realistically that for a second we might believe it.
Dido Fontana‘s photography-vérité, is candid, relaxed, naturalistic (okay, not natural for everyone) and funny. Using film and developer, acid and dark rooms he discovers his girls and their midnight romps are beautiful, it just might be their off day and that’s okay.
Read more about Dido in this interview & check out some preview images from his newly release book.
Joel Tretin calls himself a Photo Humorist and that description seems perfectly apt. His photo series Stranger in Paradox “looks at what’s true and totally screws with it.” At first glance, the pictures seem deceptively straightforward—portraits of the city shot in a somewhat generic ad-agency aesthetic. Hidden in plain sight are the visual jokes: a parking ticket on the windshield on a sports car in a building height ad; a carousel over a revolving door; an elephant walking though the green murkiness of a subway. The Photoshop manipulations are mostly seamless—it really looks like that woman is pushing an eight-seat stroller, and that sporty yellow cab looks real next to its stodgier brother. A stack of cars make the most of a lone parking space.
The subtlest images make you work for them. A lit Wall Street façade, American flags… oh, there. The don’t walk sign is flipping the bird. The traffic sign points to the “Road Most Taken” an apparent play on Robert Frost’s Road Less Taken.
Photo manipulation in art is often used to create surreal imagery. And these pictures are surreal in that they portray things that are unreal and often fantastic, but the photos lack the intention and technique that transform pictures into fine art. Which seems to be just fine with Trentin, who says:
I am a failed stand up comedian, who now tries to make people laugh through photography.
Sculptor Lauren Fensterstock crafts dark, supernatural worlds of monochromatic nature scenes, often fashioned in all black, that contain a deep sense of tranquility and serenity. Completed with paper and Plexiglass, these intricate scenes show flowers, grass and ponds. With thousands of flowers and blades of grass, all carefully placed, the work is dense and lush, taking over the room it inhabits. Fensterstock’s work breathes life into the space. Showing a landscape that is distilled into a single color illuminates the beauty and the texture of each individual component. Fensterstock’s work was recently published in a beautiful, hardcover book titled Radical Sentimentalism, with analytical essays and an in-depth catalogue of her installation work.
The details of her work as written on a representative gallery’s site:
“Fensterstock’s. site-specific installation work and wall pieces depict nature by incorporating meticulously cut and curled paper, charcoal, and Plexiglass to create floral and garden scenes. Fensterstock’s work and practice references French and English garden design of the 1500s to 1700s, the 18th century practice of ‘quilling’—sculpting paper by wrapping around a quill—along with a nod to, and reflection upon, 20th century American earth art and the work of Robert Smithson.”(Excerpt from Source)
The team behind Atelier Ted Noten blend design and art so well, it can be difficult to unravel. They explore issues usually relegated to art such as violence, beauty, private and public life through design. Ice picks and cocaine are sunk into acrylic and transformed into designer bags. Perfume sprays down the barrel of a gun, its silencer concealing nail polish. The atelier’s design seems to at once celebrate and chastise high fashion’s excesses. Its bold design sensibility and irresistible ambiguity make their pieces difficult to turn aside from.
Cam Floyd has a talent for producing dream-like images. He covers the canvas with detail, color, and washed out textures. Southern born and raised, Floyd attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He now relocated to LA where he works as a studio assistant to prestigious illustrator James Jean.
In Buried, artist Nathan Cyprys’ work is “symbolic of both our unavoidable mortality and [Cyprys’] attempt at rebirth,” according to his artist statement. He also mentions art’s uncanny ability to validate what would otherwise be considered absurd behavior. To regress into favorite childhood games, such as digging holes in the ground and climbing into them. Or should I say progress? Hmm…