Apr 16, 2013

Phlearn Interviews Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson is a full time photographer and retoucher from Sweden based in Berlin, Germany. Erik works on both personal and commissioned projects and sometimes creates street illusions. Erik doesn’t capture moments, he captures ideas.

He has spoken at a TED conference, and worked for company’s such as Adobe and Microsoft. Join us as we pick Erik’s brain,¬† learn about his process, and have a behind the scenes look at his sketches and editing process.

How did you become interested in photography?

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, I guess I just like that way of expressing myself. I got my first digital camera in 2000 and right away it felt like I wanted to do something more with my photos than just capturing a scene. I wanted it to be a process like when I did my drawings. That’s how I discovered photo manipulations.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

I really like creating surreal scenes making impossible places look realistic. I actually get more influenced by painters than photographers. For example Escher, Dali and Magritte.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by all kinds of things. I follow a lot of inspiration blogs and I really enjoy scanning Deviant art for new creative work. I think it’s just amazing to see the great amounts of creative work that’s available through the Internet. But I also get inspired by all kinds of regular day activities, something I see or experience, I think inspiration is rather about thinking and reflecting over the things you see and just trying to imagine how it could be different. A lot of my ideas gets born that way.

On average, how long does it take you to create an image?

Normally a few months from initial idea to final image. But I do work on some projects in parallel. I think that it’s important that it takes time. As soon as I come up with a new idea I try to leave it for a few weeks and then come back to it to see if I still like it. The planning¬†and finding the right location is what takes the most time. Then it’s just about capturing the material and putting the puzzle together. The way I work in photoshop is actually not that complicated, everything is about the planning and the material you have to work with.