How Commercial Photographer Erik Johansson Creates Some of the World's Most Impactful Images

It's been said that Prague-based Photographer and Retoucher Erik Johansson doesn't capture moments, he captures ideas. To him, photography is a way to actualize complex, surreal concepts that are in his head. So, when you think about it, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Johansson is kind of like our generation's Ansel Adams, as they both heavily employed previsualization techniques while pioneering unique solutions to achieve their visions. The end results are images that match the exact ideas they had in their minds' eyes. 

Johansson's latest concept, "Impact," had him creating an image in which a lake was breaking up as if it were a mirror. Wanting the effect to look as realistic as possible, he decided to pick up seventeen square meters of mirror, a boat, and a model, which he dragged out to a stone pit last summer. This five-minute video follows Johansson as he spends months bringing his image to fruition. The resulting behind-the-scenes glimpse is fascinating and does an amazing job at showing you how much work actually goes into creating a single photo. And even though one of his pieces can consist of hundreds of different images, he doesn't use any CGI or stock photos in his personal work. Instead, he opts to use a complex combination of his own photographs.  Amazing work as always Erik. Thanks for sharing.


For all you gearheads out there, the shot was photographed with a Hasselblad H5D-40 and edited on a Eizo CG318-4k monitor with Adobe Photoshop. The video itself was filmed with a 4K GoPro4 Hero Black.  Music ("Principles of Geometry") provided by Dam Aicoab.

Keep up with Johansson on his Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

Kenn Tam's picture

Been holding this damn camera in my hand since 1991.
Toronto / New York City

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Ok... I'm gonna be that guy and say that he is definitely not "our generation's Ansel Adams". Yes there is a strong need for pre-visualization, but his work carries no historical or cultural significance. Ansel comes from a time when the camera was relatively rare and expensive object. His work was great, but amplified by its rarity. Seeing as much photo illustration as we see, I have a hard time believing that we will study or revere his work in the future. Nothing against the work, but its a drop in the ocean.

Totally valid. I can't really disagree with you but as you pointed out Ansel comes from a time and history we will never see again. So, the parallels I draw are really between Ansel's and Erik's spirit. Their devotion to photography as an art form, the effort they apply to each image and their ingenuity when it comes to creating solutions to problems. Definitely a drop in the vast ocean of photographers but some drops make a bigger splash than others. Can we expect more than that these days? Or am I being cynical in believing there are no more new trails left to blaze?

Fantastic digital manipulation, photographic not so great.

Not to be a hater, but to me, the behinds the scenes video production was more impressive than the end photo. Didn't look at his other work. Talented, but not my thing.

The transition from the model to photographer, synced with the music was aces. Simple, but definitely caught my attention. The whole video was pretty great...

You should look at his other work...