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article imagePhotographer Erik Johansson's playful image manipulations Special

By David Silverberg     Jun 26, 2010 in Entertainment
It would be unfair to simply call Erik Johansson a photographer. He rearranges compositions to create unique eye-opening images, bending reality with ease. He spoke to about his creative process and future plans.
Straight out of Gothenburg, Sweden, Johansson knows a good visual when he sees it. Or, rather, when he manipulates it. The 24-year-old is winning love on the Web for his imaginative photos riffing off many themes, from the environment to urban sprawl. He's not content just snapping a great photo; that's where the fun just begins.
His work has been featured in photography magazines across the world, including South Korea's Elle Girl, Turkey's Photoshop Magazine, Belgium's Goedele, and Argentina's Users Digital Design.
Johansson is known for taking standard photos and tweaking them with Photoshop, a process that can take weeks or months. He's no tech amateur; he studied interaction design and computer engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, and he taught himself image manipulation during his spare time.
Erik Johansson s photography  where images are manipulated with Photoshop
Erik Johansson's photography, where images are manipulated with Photoshop
Courtesy Erik Johansson spoke to Johansson via email to learn what motivated him to dive into this niche area of photography: How did you first get interested in photo manipulation and Photoshop?
Johansson: I got my first digital camera when I was 15, that is about 10 years ago. I have always been drawing as a way of expressing myself, but with the digital camera I started to modify the photos. It felt like a natural step for me but it was mostly basic stuff of my friends and family. That's how it all started.
Photo manipulation by Erik Johansson
Photo manipulation by Erik Johansson
Courtesy Erik Johansson Describe your creative process. How do you go from an idea to execution?
Johansson: When I have come up with an idea the planing starts. Is this a good idea? Is it possible to realize? What do I need in terms of environment and people? This is actually the hardest part since the more you plan the better the end result will become. When I have found everything I need, I take the photos I need and put it together in my computer. I have learned that ideas have to grow and take time, this process from idea to final result is usually between 1 week to several months. What type of subjects are you interested in? Do you agree that you tend to be attracted to the environment/nature?
Johansson: I don't really mean to create any specific theme in my photos. They are just the result of my imagination and ideas that I feel that I have to realize. I am very glad for the positive feedback I have got. I myself am very self critical and always want to improve and become better, both in terms of ideas and realization.
A photo by Erik Johansson  showing a human hand reaching through the soil
A photo by Erik Johansson, showing a human hand reaching through the soil
Courtesy Erik Johansson What do you find most challenging about creating these photos?
Johansson: The biggest challenge is always to make it look real, it requires a lot of patience and experimentation.
Erik Johansson photo of a dog floating thanks to balloons
Erik Johansson photo of a dog floating thanks to balloons
Courtesy Erik Johansson What should your fans expect in the future? Any exhibitions coming up
Johansson: I don't plan any exhibitions but I do plan to set up a shop by the end of the summer as I have got some requests.
For more information on Johansson, check out his website or Facebook Page:
More about Erik johansson, Photographer, Photoshop, Images, Sweden
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