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Creative Voices

Keeping It Surreal: The Photography of Erik Johansson

By Dan Cowles

“In Sweden, we have a tradition of storytelling,” photographer Erik Johansson says. “Just one picture can tell so much.” That’s especially true for Erik, whose talent for digital image manipulation stretches images into another realm, far beyond what the eyes see.

“I’ve always been a visual person,” he continues. “When my mother asked me how my day in school was, I always preferred to make a drawing rather than just tell her.”

“I got my first digital camera at the age of 15,” Erik says, “but being used to drawing, I felt like the work was too boring. When you take a picture, it’s basically over when you press the trigger. I wanted to do something with my pictures. So that’s how I discovered photo manipulations.”

Watch the video below to see how Erik works, from initial sketches all the way to his final reality-bending images.    

Look behind the scenes of Erik Johansson's creative, photographic, and Photoshop-retouching processes.