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Photographer Erik Johansson Shatters Reality In Latest Surreal Image [BTS]

By Hanssie on April 8th 2016

You can do a lot of mind-bending effects in Photoshop these days with a few clicks of a button and many hours of retouching. Though Photoshop is part of his process, Swedish photographer Erik Johansson prefers to create his images as realistically as possible, which means photographing as many real, physical objects as possible, then using Photoshop to put all the pieces together without the use of CGI.

Johansson begins with an idea, and from there it’s a puzzle for him to solve – how to get all the various elements to come together as realistically as possible. Johansson tells Creator’s Project, “It takes just as much time to do something in real life as it does trying to ‘fake it’ in Photoshop, so I just thought it would be more fun to do it for real.”


His latest project, ‘Impact’ is a personal project that took months to create. The image is of a lake that cracks and breaks apart as it reaches land. To create the effect of the broken mirror, Johansson purchased 17 square meters of mirrors and broke them into pieces. Then he took the mirrors, a model, and a small fishing boat to a remote area to shoot the scenes. In Photoshop, Johansson then took various images and composited them all together – a total of 196 layers – which you can see in the 6-minute video below.


According to the video notes, the image was shot on a Hasselblad H5D-40, edited on an Eizo CG318-4k monitor with Adobe Photoshop, and filmed with 4k GoPro.

You can see more of Erik Johansson’s amazing work on his website here and follow him on Instagram.

[Via The Creator’s Project]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Karthik Thorali

    truly amazing

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  2. Sindy Strife

    this is so amazing !

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  3. Jon Smallwood

    Wow…super creative

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  4. John Harmon


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  5. Chris Campbell

    Truly incredible work.

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    • Hanssie

      I agree. I love all his photo manipulations and the fact that he creates most of it physically is amazing!

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  6. Curtis Allen

    Some people are so amazingly inventive!

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    • Hanssie

      Seriously! I wonder how many years of bad luck all the mirrors cost him…just kidding (I’ve been waiting all day to make that joke :))

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