Photographer & Digital Artist Erik Johansson
12th December 2019 - 18:00 GMT / 13:00 EST
LIVE PHOTOGRAPHY TALK SHOW
Photographer & Digital Artist Erik Johansson
Recorded live on 12th December 2019 - Now available on replay
Live interview with Erik Johansson
Learn about compositing & creating surreal worlds
The importance of planning, perspective & light
Working as a self-taught photographer & retoucher
Different stages of creating composite images
Ask your questions
Full interview available on replay
How we see the world around us
For many photographers, an image is largely complete when you press the shutter button, but for photographer and digital artist Erik Johansson, that’s just the start of it.
Erik, who is self-taught in both photography and Photoshop, has been working as a professional photographer and retoucher for 10 years. Since a young age, Erik has had a keen interest in drawing and computers, and when he received his first camera, at the age of 15, he started combining his different passions.
“I always liked creating stuff,” said the Swedish-born artist. “But to me it felt weird to take a photo and be done.”
“Being used to drawing it was natural to see if I could modify the photographs, and how much I could modify them and still make them look like photographs.”
However, his interest in photography wasn’t enough for him to seek a career in the field. Instead, he went on to study computer engineering at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, and it was during this time that Erik rediscovered his interest in photography.
His background and interest in computers served as the natural stepping stone to combining his passions for art and computers.
Instead of simply taking a photograph, Erik started experimenting with how far he could push his imagery, bringing to life surreal worlds through a combination of real-life images and digital manipulation.
Full of ideas, Erik started posting some of his work online, which ultimately led to him working as a freelance retoucher while continuing with his studies and his own personal projects.
It’s being able to share these ideas with others that Erik now enjoys most about his work.
“It's very satisfying to bring a vision to life, something that starts as a simple thought and then ends up as a huge print in an exhibition months or years later.”
“Being able to share the ideas in my head with others in this way is what I find most satisfying,” he said.
Inspired by artists such as Salvador Dali and M.C. Escher, Erik finds his inspiration from all things around him and tries to see life from a different perspective.
“I love how surreal images show you something unexpected, something different, and I think it helps us think differently about the world around us.”
Distinguishable by his photo realistic surrealism, Erik’s work can take months to complete, and requires careful planning, an intricate knowledge of light, as well as a keen eye for detail and desire for perfection. He spends a lot of time planning shoots, figuring out how to bring his idea to life, what to photograph and what to do in post.
This is just one of the points Erik discussed during his live show, so make sure to watch the full interview on replay to find out how he uses light and perspective to put together the puzzle pieces of reality.
Now, Erik continues to work on his personal work, but also relishes the challenge of bringing to life the visions of his clients. His unique style and attention to detail have led to him working for brands such as Heineken, Volvo, Toyota and Google, collaborating with advertising agencies from around the world (he’s also been involved in some more unusual projects, such as street retouch pranks or anamorphic illusion installations).
As someone who enjoys challenging and playing with peoples perception of reality, some things still remain incredibly straightforward for Erik. His advice for anyone wanting to get involved in photography is to just do it.
“Just get started, whatever it is. Don't be afraid of failure — it's just a natural part of the process.”
He advises to create as much as you can, especially if you’re self-taught like he is.
“Learning by trying is not always the fastest way but I think it's a great way of learning because you discover the limitations through your own failures.”
He also stresses the importance of finding and developing your own style (a subject which formed the focus of our new magazine chat show).
To learn more about Erik, his advice for aspiring photographers and retouchers, his work and techniques, make sure to sign up and watch the full interview. You can also post your questions in the comment section below.