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Erik Johansson: surreal photos that ruffling imagination
When the photo cant be differ from the most incredible dream, probably it belongs to Erik Johansson.
Young photographer from Prague Erik Johansson makes photos, using an incredibly painstaking approach for shooting, editing and mounting photos. Light, objects, perspective, shadows — everything is made so perfectly that the image can hardly be called unrealistic.
— Do you live in Prague? Please, tell in some words what do you like about this city?
— I think it is very nice city cause it`s not too stressful, its quite relaxed. I also like architecture, surrounding, environments, landscapes, parks. Its a good location in Europe, as I travel a lot so there are a lot things are closed by. It is hard to say one specific thing. There are a lot of good things in this city.
— Tell about your childhood. What hobbies did you have when you find out that the photo is the business of your life?
— I guess I have always been a person who likes to express my self visually. My grandmother was an artist, I really enjoyed watching the process, I also tried to create and then sketched on paper.I have been practicing since I was a child. When I was 15 I got my first digital camera, then I discovered that I could do something similar but with photos. For me it was a bit strange to do just photos, so I wanted to see if I could do more then just a picture. More like when you draw something you start with a white piece of paper and then feeling with something from the imagination at the same way I tried to create this world with the camera instead of drawing. I guess it is kind of power. I have a lot ideas that coming soon.
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
— Where did you study and what was your first job?
— When I was 15, I started to study Photoshop, it was in 2000, but only in 2008 I started working at a serious level. I started with the implementation of simple ideas. I wanted to see if I can do something realistically and unrealistically at the same time, achieve a balance between something impossible and make it real. And after doing this a couple of years I started to put my images online on different photo communities and then got feed back, on this time I started to get work requests. I started to do commercial works and to work partly for advertising agencies. Today basically I work with commercial projects. Doing commercial work is not boring for me cause it is also good collaboration with people. The most creating part of job — is my personal work. But I think it is nice to have both.
— Whose works you were inspired with?
— I get more inspiration with painters more then from other photographers. Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali or MC Escher and also Canadian painter Rob Gonsalves are my inspiration. I always visit exhibitions or galleries when I go to the central part of the city. There are also several blogs that inspire me.
— Have you faced with the plagiarism of your work? What did you do when you saw it?
— Of course. Things are spreading and people see them and sometimes use it for their own purposes without permission I think it is good for sharing and i am happy people use my works. But if it would be for profit of a big company I ask them to pay me. But it happens rarely. Everyone wants to be inspired. And sometimes I feel respected, because my work is inspired. I think it's just silly to copy the work, the author will find out about it anyway.
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
— I saw on YouTube video of the process creating your works. It's impressive. But tell me how you come up with an idea, choose the model, location and subjects in the frame?
— It is a quite long proses and I guess it looks like complex. Sometimes one things can takes several month to develop. But it starts from simple things. I think about the place, models I can use, what things do I need to build, and I always try to shoot as much as possible on one location and try to make everything as realistic as possible. Every location is that location that I already know. I take some test shoot and then decide.
— Do you work alone or with team?
— I usually work alone, all the time but when i need to do shooting or any specific work I work with team. I plan product about several weeks or months.
— Have you had any collaborations with famous authors? Whom would you like to work with?
— I have been in contact with some famous people, we are still in a process. But I want to work on album covers. I love music and I like listen to music when I create some works and I think it would be nice to work with specific artist and the way they want to express music in images as well. Sometimes I like old Swedish music and something from Spotify (some from 60's) something without lyrics may be electronic or classic music.
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
— What hardware and software do you use and why do you prefer it to use?
— I am using Photo camera Hasselblad. It makes really good quality photos. When I do retouching I use Photoshop.
— What do your works bring to the world? What do you invest in it?
— I hope my images can make people think and inspire people, as I am inspired by others. I also make charity and hope that will help people. I want to put magic in a world where everything can be explained, create a place that can’t exist but make it look as if it could.
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
— How you prefer to have rest?
— Somehow my hobby became my job and I when I am a bit tired I like to travel without camera. I like to see new things and that make me relax.
— Have you ever been to Ukraine? Would you like to make exhibition here?
— I have not been in Ukraine yet but I want to go. May be in the future I will organize exhibition and also there are so many places to see. Ukraine is on my list to travel to.
— Do you have any plans for future?
— Right now I don’t have any exhibitions plans, cause now I am working on new images, and exhibitions coming up next year so I need to make sure that i have enough works to do it. So I will do it this summers and next couple months.
— Which sites or YouTube channels can you advise for reading and watching to be in the trend of modern photography?
Moderskeppet — this is a great channel, but it’s unfortionaly in swedish. Other than this I don’t usually follow any specific other youtube channel for photoshop or photography but I do regularly check fstoppers.com and petapixel.com for example to stay up to date with news.
Erik Johansson, surreal photos
© Erik Johansson / erikjohanssonphoto.com
More Eric's works you can look at his official website, в Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
By Sergey Gutakovsky
2018