On the 26th of January the doors opened to my first exhibition in USA at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are 25 large photographs on display throughout the mansion to be explored. We had a fantastic opening on the 25th of January and the exhibition will be open all the way to the 28th of April 2019. If you’re in Minneapolis or close by make sure to check it out. I put together a video below that gives you a brief summary of the exhibition.
Another year has passed and I managed to publish a total of 7 new personal projects and two behind the scenes videos in 2018. There were a few projects that I did manage to photograph the material for but didn’t manage to finish before the end of the year. That, in combination with lot of new ideas, will most likely make 2019 my most productive year yet with plans to publish over 10 projects.
Behind the Scenes videos
Last year I also published 2 behind the scenes video but this year I will try to double that. Video editing is still a very playful area of creativity to me but so far I’ve only been filming them mostly using smart phones and GoPros. A few months ago I bought a Panasonoic GH5 which is especially good for filming while still being small and easy to use, I hope this will show more in my upcoming videos where I hope to make my videos better produced. I like behind the sceens videos because I love to share the process of how I create my images, I don’t think the process should necessarily be secret, the imagination is what should be the limit, not the tools. See my behind the scenes videos here.
I’ve been sketching on a bunch of new ideas for the past months and I think my feel for light and colour has developed over the past years, it has become a natural part of my work use of artificial light in the form of compact and powerful flashes and light modifiers on location to create the mood I’m seeking. I do however think that the light has to have a purpose in the image, if there is light, it should come from something that makes sense. I recently got a pair of Profoto B10s which I’m excited to try out for the upcoming projects this year and I have plans to build more props for the image as well.
At the moment I have two new confirmed exhibitions coming up in 2019, one in Minneapolis, USA and another in Seoul, South Korea. But I’m currently in discussion regarding two more exhibitions and one in St. Petersburg in 2020 if your calendar extends that far. See current and upcoming exhibitions here.
Charity Prints ( Barncancerfonden )
In 2016 I started selling limited edition prints. In addition to the limited- and open edition prints I've also been selling a charity print to bring in money to the The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation. I donate 50% of the sale price directly to the fund. In 2018 we sold 20 charity prints bringing in a total of 1 467 USD ( 1 287 Euro or 13 148 SEK ) to the fund. Thank you so much for your support! Link to the print here: Endless Stories
Finally I just want to thank you for following me on this journey of creativity! Thank you for your support and I hope you will follow me into 2019 and beyond!
Here you can see the process behind my latest project “Daybreaker”. Photographed in the early fall of 2018 out in a field with model and props. I wanted to capture the light hitting the model in a realistic way so I used one flash as the sun (Profoto Pro7b 1200ws with Telezoom Reflector, ¼ CTO) and another light as the moon hitting the model and prop from behind with a colder light (Profoto B1X with a white umbrella, ½ CTB). I used a large black fabric to flag “the sun“ so it would only hit the legs of the model and parts of the lever. Photographed with a Hasselblad H6D-50c @ 50mm, 1/60s, f8, iso200. The cat and various parts of the background was photographed seperatly and added into the scene in post.
Below you can see the Behind the Scenes video showing the process behind creating the project from sketch and planning to shooting and post production. Photographed in Holmestad, Sweden, August 2018.
Music: “yglo - saturday” on klangwelt records, a side project by Ryan Davis, listen more of his music under: www.ryandavis.de
This is a new image I made for the Swiss company Clienia, building bridges together. In collaboration with Ammarkt we developed an idea of two people building a bridge over a river in a Swiss village. I went to Switzerland to photograph the background and photographed the models and car as well as the building blocks in Prague. Below you can see a behind the scenes video of how it came together.
This is a new campaign I've worked on together with Townhouse for Nexium 24h. The idea was to create two images, one with a man floating hight above a city submerged in clouds and the other a woman looking out over a city from the top of a pizza tower.
As I wanted the scenes to look realistic, an important part of creating these images was to shoot as much as possible for real. I worked with my team here in Prague to build a real tower of pizzas in smaller scale and to create a cloud like environment to place the man in. See how it was made in the video below:
I've always found that moment right before falling asleep fascinating. When you let go of your thoughts and fall into the land of dreams. For a long time I wanted to create an image about this, and last year I got the opportunity that was the perfect start. Scroll down if you want to jump right to the behind the scenes video.
The idea for this project was to have a person in a room floating weightlessly, capturing that moment of falling to sleep. I figured that the best way to make the fabric of the clothes and the hair of the model to appear weightless would be to shoot it underwater.
Last year I got invited to United Arab Emirates to the XPOSURE festival (November 2017) to exhibit and speak about my work. Apart from that they had also built a huge water tank for the festival, where underwater shootings and workshops would take place. They asked me if I wanted to shoot something as well and I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to start working on this project.
Having no previous experience of under water shootings, I decided that the best way to be in control of the shoot would be to shoot from outside the tank. By pressing the lens orthogonality towards the glass underneath a black cloth, I would minimize distortions and unwanted reflections, to get as clear view of the model as possible. In terms of lighting I had a large softbox as the main light source from above and a smaller warmer light from the left shot through the glass. The water was clear and by compensating the white balance I could make it look as if the model appeared to hover weightlessly in the tank. The very talented underwater model Krysia Makiela did a fantastic job sleep-floating for me during this session.
After shooting the model I had a good starting point for the rest of the image. I knew that I wanted a lot of things happening in the room so I started looking for different props I could use. I photographed a room with a cold flash outside the window and a smaller warm flash disguised as a bed side lamp to the left. I then started shooting the different objects in various positions, some of them supported by fishing thread and some by simply holding them up. I combined all the pieces of the puzzle in Photoshop together with the model. Being consistent with light and perspective made this process quite straight forward but I deliberately let it take time to make sure I would be happy with the end result. See the process of how it was created in the video below:
I would like to thank Simon Newton and the Xposure festival for giving me the opportunity to shoot in the tank and I would like to thank the underwater model Krysia Makiela for helping me putting this idea to life.
In this mini series you'll follow me in 4 episodes on the journey of coaching two people to realize their photo projects. I hope you'll follow me on the journey throughout the year and you might see some behind the scenes of one of my own projects as well. This project is a collaboration with Eizo and Kamera & Bild
Episode 3 & 4 coming later this year...
A few weeks ago I learned that Rob Gonsalves passed away last year (sadly by suicide) and I just wanted to write a few lines about him and his importance to my own work. Robert Gonsalves (July 10, 1959 – June 14, 2017) was a Canadian painter of magic realism (surrealism). He produced original works, limited edition prints and illustrations for his own books.
I have always found a lot of inspiration in illustrated children books. I remember seeing Rob's work many years ago, even before I discovered photography and my own style. It was a spark, I loved to lose myself in his work and I loved the surreal transitions between the different worlds he created. I wanted to do that as well.
It's very sad that he left us so early and I think that he deserved more frame and recognition. To me he will always be among my biggest inspirations. Rest in peace Rob.
Rob's sister wrote this tribute about him: [LINK]
2017 is over and that went fast! It was a good and exciting year but I din't manage to finish up and publish all of the ideas I wanted to. Some due to not finding the right locations and some due to lack of time (priorities). I had four exhibitions 2017, my biggest so far in Dunkers, Helsingborg, Sweden with 40 large prints. I had a smaller exhibition in Uherské Hradiště, Czech Republic, another one in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and one in Stockholm, Sweden at the Swedish Museum of Natural History which is still going until March 2018.
Upcoming Personal Work
In 2017 I created Full Moon Service which is probably one of my most popular motives in the past years, I'll try to beat that this year. I have a bunch of new projects coming up in the first half of 2018 and many more planned. I would love to make another book but it took me 9 years to get enough material to fill my first one so this year I hope to put more effort into finishing more new projects. I don't plan many exhibitions for this year and hope to focus more on the personal work. It will be a busy year!
In 2016 I also started selling limited edition prints. In addition to the limited- and open edition prints I've also been selling a charity print to bring in money to the The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation. I donate 50% of the sale price directly to the fund. In 2017 we sold 31 charity prints bringing in a total of 1 430 USD ( 1 191 = Euro ) to the fund. Thank you so much for your support! Link to the print here: Endless Stories
As usual it feels like next year (2018) will be my most productive year so far. I do have a few projects that are almost finished and I hope to be able to share them with you soon. Thank you for supporting and following my work, I'm excited about 2018!
All Above the Sky is a project that I wanted to realize for a long time but it was not until the summer of 2017 that I decided to start working on it. I finally found the location I was looking for by the lake "Vänern" in Sweden, more exactly here: "58°40'05.5"N 13°29'31.6"E". It was a calm late summer evening as the rain was sweeping by in the horizon. I used a Profoto 7b 1200ws with a magnum Reflector to light the rocks from the left and then later shot the model in the same light in the water. Shot and filmed on Hasselblad H6D-50c with the 50mm II. See the process in the video below:
My prints are available in three different sizes (small, medium, large). To clarify the difference between them we've put together a short video showing the difference more in detail. From the size and paper to how it's delivered safely to the customer.
The small prints are shipped flat and are not signed or numbered. The medium and large prints are signed and numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity. The medium and large prints are only available as limited edition prints and are shipped in custom made packages. Prices always include world wide shipping and we take full responsibility of any damage of the print on its way to the customer, damaged prints are however extremely rare.
On the 16th of June the doors opened to my biggest exhibition so far in Helsingborg, Sweden at Dunkers Kulturhus. The exhibition contains 40 artworks including 3 new previously unpublished photos and includes work from 2008 until 2017. The artworks are presented as large prints with lots of details and is open all the way to the 8th of October 2017. Here you can see photos from the exhibition and the opening night where Thomas Öberg (bob hund) was preforming as well. Below is a short video giving you a peek into the exhibition, I hope you have the opportunity to see it for yourself this summer!
This is a photo I've been working on from now and then for the past 8 months. Shot in late summer of 2016 a beautiful calm evening in the middle of Sweden. I brought out 7 rice lamps, 7 light bulbs, an electric generator, a car and two models out in a field. The main part that has been retouched in this photo is to replace the rice ball with a moon texture, the light and the mood was very close to what you see in the photo. Below you can see a behind the scenes video of how it was made.
In 2016 I was commissioned a project for the Swedish construction company NCC on the topic "Beyond Construction". Together with the advertisement agency Garbergs we worked out six different concepts to highlight the different areas in which NCC is working. The images were used for print and web throughout Scandinavia. In the video below you can see how one of the photos were made.
Bending Reality: 17th June - 8th October 2017
On the 17th of June 2017 the doors will officially open to my biggest exhibition so far at Dunkers Kulturhus in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden. The exhibition will include 40 artworks produced over the past nine years including three new previously unpublished photographs that I have been working on for the past months. If you enjoy the photos here on my website I'm sure you will love them as huge prints full of details. That is the only time that you can really appreciate the immense amount of work I put into all small parts of an image and it explains why it takes me several months to finish just one single artwork. Helsingborg is located in the south of Sweden and is easily accessible by train from Copenhagen Airport. ( Address: Kungsgatan 11, 252 21 Helsingborg, Sweden ).
The exhibition will be open from the 17th of June until 8th of October 2017 but there will be an open vernissage on the 16th of June from 6 - 8 PM. If you'd like to meet me in person I will be there on the 16th and in the day of the 17th of June. There is some additional information on Dunkers website. I hope you get a chance to see it!
Official facebook event: Exhibition - Erik Johansson
2016 is over and it's time to get back to work! 2016 has been a fantastic year with my first big exhibition at Fotografiska Museum of Photography in Stockholm as well as the release of my first book "Imagine". I unexpectedly became the nature photographer of the year in Sweden and also became Hasselblad- and Eizo ambassador.
Upcoming Personal Work
I didn't have time work as much as I wanted on new personal work but I managed to produce at least six new pieces throughout the year. I did however manage to shoot a lot of new material that you will see the result of in the first half of 2017! Senja in Norway and Bohemian Switzerland in Czech Republic where the top locations I traveled to. I have about 4-5 photos that I basically have all the material I need to put together and I hope to find time for that in the next weeks and months. The plan is to try to publish one new piece each month in the first half of 2017. I'm planning to do another behind the scenes video of one of them as well so stay tuned there is a lot coming up.
In 2016 I also started selling limited edition prints. In addition to the limited- and open edition prints I've also been selling a charity print to bring in money to the The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation. We donate 50% of the sale price directly to the fund. In 2016 we sold 46 charity prints bringing in a total of 2 250 USD ( 2 138 = Euro ) to the fund. It was the most single sold print of 2016 so thank you so much for your support! Link to print here: Endless Stories
It looks like this may become my most productive year so far. More updates of what is happening in 2017 will follow. I want take this opportunity to thank everyone for supporting and following my work, 2017 will be an exciting year!
New short behind the scenes video of my latest project "Cumulus & Thunder". I always thought that clouds and sheep look somewhat similar and I had this idea in mind for the past years. I finally shot it a sunny afternoon in Sweden with a ramp, fake clouds the sheep shot the day after. Made with home built tools and shot in mainly natural light. See the video here below:
I was recently featured in a video series by Volvo. Human Made Stories is a series of short films portraying people that inspires. People who do things differently and go their own way. In the beginning of summer (2016) a film team followed me around for three days as I created my latest personal project "Wake Up!" and you can see the result of that film in the clip below.
Note: Even though most of the content in the film is true I don't actually own a Volvo.
This is the final image, shot in three rounds in the summer of 2016. Trees were chopped down and placed in a lake at 4AM when the water was calm. The model was shot in a swimming pool in similar soft natural light and finally the trees under the water surface was shot from a cherry picker right above the tree level. All material shot on a Hasselblad H6D-50c and material combined using Photoshop. There are no CGI or illustrated elements in the final Photograph.
In June 2016 I unexpectedly received the award "Nature Photographer of 2015" from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency who has been handing out the price for the past 26 years.
It was an unexpected yet fun award to receive although controversial. How can a Photoshopper become the nature photographer of the year? The biggest misconception with my work is that I create something in the computer, everything I do, every little detail is photographed and just combined together in the computer. To me the computer is just a way to put the pieces of the puzzle together and it requires a lot of planning.
The nature and northern European landscapes has always been important in my work and something that I constantly come back to. I understand that not everyone think that I deserve this price, I therefore decided to donate the entire price money of 25 000 SEK to The Swedish Cancer Society. An independent non-profit organization with the vision of finding cures for cancer. The overall aim of the Society is to achieve a higher survival rate and a reduction in the incidence of cancer.
A big thank you to all of you who follow me and thanks to the
Environmental Protection Agency for this prestigious award!
I was thinking about this idea for quite a while. I thought it would be interesting and challenging to create a lake cracking up like a mirror. I knew that I had to get real mirrors to create the effect of the lake cracking up as realistic as possible. In early 2015 I found an old Gym that were selling off their old mirrors. I decided it was time to get this idea started, bought four 220x160 cm mirrors and had them cut into differently shaped triangles at a glazier (a professional glas cutter). I brought out the mirrors, a boat and the model to a stone-pit last summer (2015). See how it was made below: (Click here for more behind the scenes videos)