Interview with Master Photo Manipulator Erik Johansson

Imagination offers us the unique ability to see beyond our material realities into another world that may not make logical sense, but always resonates with us emotionally. Certain forms of technology have allowed us to present these emotional landscapes in incredibly realistic ways, forcing us to possibly even question what reality means to begin with. Many artists have taken to playing with these ideas while using photography as their tool, but very few of them are able to present an image so real, it forces the viewer to accept it, not as a material possibility, but as something larger than that.

Born in the small town of Götene, Sweden in 1985, Erik Johansson seemed to have been born with the love of drawing installed within him, which was perhaps inherited from his grandmother, who was a painter. By the time he got his first digital camera at 15, he already had firmly established his sketching talents, which helped propel him forward into the world of photography. Because of his history with drawing and the finite nature of photography, he began to feel strange to essentially be finished with the work once the shutter snapped shut. This dissatisfaction led him to photo manipulation, where he began altering his photos using programs like Photoshop, twisting and turning them in whatever ways he could imagine to create something unseen.


However, it wasn't until after he began studying in Gothenburg in 2005 that he began to post his images online, quickly receiving commission requests by advertisement agencies. After finishing school with a Master in Interaction Design, Johansson chose to pursue photography full-time, eventually moving to Berlin, Germany and working with various companies like Google, Microsoft, and IKEA. Despite his commercial success, Johansson will always consider his personal projects to be the most important.

With plans to move into motion pictures and books, Johansson's unending imagination has allowed countless people to explore their own. In 2011 he began doing street illusions, one of which gained national attention. "Mind Your Step" was placed in the famous square Sergels torg in the middle of Stockholm. At 105' by 59' feet, the massive image gave the impression of a deep hole in the ground when looked at from just the right angle.

Mila Pantovich

An avid traveler, Mila Pantovich splits her time between San Diego, CA and Banff, AB Canada. She has been working with JustLuxe as a writer and editor since 2012 and has been featured in several publications, including Huffington Post. Additionally, she works in content design at Intuit. Follow her travels on Instagram: @MilaPantovich ...(Read More)

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