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I'm here to share my photography.
Or is it photography?
Because, of course, this is a photograph
that you can't take with your camera.
Yet, my interest in photography started
as I got my first digital camera
at the age of 15.
It mixed with my earlier passion for drawing,
but it was a bit different,
because using the camera,
the process was in the planning instead.
And when you take a photograph with a camera,
the process ends when you press the trigger.
So to me it felt like photography was more about
being at the right place and the right time.
I felt like anyone could do that.
So I wanted to create something different,
something where the process starts
when you press the trigger.
Photos like this:
construction going on along a busy road.
But it has an unexpected twist.
And despite that,
it retains a level of realism.
Or photos like these --
both dark and colorful,
but all with a common goal
of retaining the level of realism.
When I say realism,
I mean photo-realism.
Because, of course,
it's not something you can capture really,
but I always want it to look like it could have been captured somehow
as a photograph.
Photos where you will need a brief moment to think
to figure out the trick.
So it's more about capturing an idea
than about capturing a moment really.
But what's the trick
that makes it look realistic?
Is it something about the details
or the colors?
Is it something about the light?
What creates the illusion?
Sometimes the perspective is the illusion.
But in the end, it comes down to how we interpret the world
and how it can be realized on a two-dimensional surface.
It's not really what is realistic,
it's what we think looks realistic really.
So I think the basics
are quite simple.
I just see it as a puzzle of reality
where you can take different pieces of reality and put it together
to create alternate reality.
And let me show you a simple example.
Here we have three perfectly imaginable physical objects,
something we all can relate to living in a three-dimensional world.
But combined in a certain way,
they can create something that still looks three-dimensional,
like it could exist.
But at the same time, we know it can't.
So we trick our brains,
because our brain simply doesn't accept the fact
that it doesn't really make sense.
And I see the same process
with combining photographs.
It's just really about combining different realities.
So the things that make a photograph look realistic,
I think it's the things that we don't even think about,
the things all around us in our daily lives.
But when combining photographs,
this is really important to consider,
because otherwise it just looks wrong somehow.
So I would like to say that there are three simple rules to follow
to achieve a realistic result.
As you can see, these images aren't really special.
But combined, they can create something like this.
So the first rule is that photos combined
should have the same perspective.
Secondly, photos combined
should have the same type of light.
And these two images both fulfill these two requirements --
shot at the same height and in the same type of light.
The third one is about making it impossible to distinguish
where the different images begin and end
by making it seamless.
Make it impossible to say
how the image actually was composed.
So by matching color, contrast and brightness
in the borders between the different images,
adding photographic defects
like depth of field,
desaturated colors and noise,
we erase the borders between the different images
and make it look like one single image,
despite the fact that one image
can contain hundreds of layers basically.
So here's another example.
One might think that this is just an image of a landscape
and the lower part is what's manipulated.
But this image is actually entirely composed
of photographs from different locations.
I personally think that it's easier to actually create a place
than to find a place,
because then you don't need to compromise
with the ideas in your head.
But it does require a lot of planning.
And getting this idea during winter,
I knew that I had several months to plan it,
to find the different locations
for the pieces of the puzzle basically.
So for example,
the fish was captured on a fishing trip.
The shores are from a different location.
The underwater part was captured in a stone pit.
And yeah, I even turned the house on top of the island red
to make it look more Swedish.
So to achieve a realistic result,
I think it comes down to planning.
It always starts with a sketch, an idea.
Then it's about combining the different photographs.
And here every piece is very well planned.
And if you do a good job capturing the photos,
the result can be quite beautiful
and also quite realistic.
So all the tools are out there,
and the only thing that limits us
is our imagination.
Thank you.
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【TED】Erik Johansson: Impossible photography (Impossible photography | Erik Johansson)

24325 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on August 24, 2014
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