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Photography And Surrealism


First-generation surrealists like Dali or Breton would have likely resisted the idea of rules for surrealism, but like any genre, it does have conventions, guidelines, and things to keep in mind if you want your image to be successful.




photography and surrealism


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Surreal photography challenges its admirers to change their perspectives, question their values, and create something unforgettable. This unique genre has inspired many photographers to recreate their wildest dreams.


In this article, we have 14 of the best examples of surreal photography from some of the finest surrealist artists. Their work will help you break the shackles of a stale imagination, and redefine the possibilities of photography.


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The artistic movement of surrealism was a phoenix born of the ashes of the First World War. Once peace broke out, European artists fought to break away from the intense realism of war. They tore down the absolutes of reality and reconstructed the world using elements of dream and pure imagination.


Surrealist photography lives on. And modern technology means there are more opportunities for creating surrealist photography. You can use in-camera and post-production editing techniques to subvert the world we perceive as real.


This is why underwater photography is naturally surreal. The landscape and its inhabitants are far removed from those above the surface. The physics are entirely different. And the deeper you go, the weirder it gets.


Blacklight photography is a technique used to explore this concept. The glow of the paints illuminates the subjects in unnatural ways. Surreal photographers, like Danilo Batista, use blacklight to expose the hidden personas of their subjects. The results are surreal portraits that combine the physical and spiritual worlds.


Changing this natural order is a common surreal photography technique. Making the large small feels like we can control or influence the things we have no power over. And if the small becomes large, we lose control of them.


Anya Anti explores these surreal photography ideas in her work. Anya uses surreal photography to tell stories and create fairy tales. In the example below, her subject has bound and chained the moon, which she drags at her heels. The moon is in her possession, and something that was for all now only belongs to her.


Joel uses these surreal photography ideas as a way of telling stories. He gives a new perspective and takes the viewer on a journey with him. His self-portraits are made of pure daydreams and imagination. He combines self-portrait photography and digital image manipulation techniques, creating surreal photos that are full of magic.


The art of surrealism is about tearing down reality so it can be re-imagined with an infinite scope of possibilities. And with surreal photography, pry apart the seams in the fabric of reality. A realist photographer can look at what the world is made of, deconstructing as they go.


The surreal photographers featured above have shown how surreal ideas can be expressed with a camera and some photo editing software. From stylised compositions to traditional camera methods, there are surreal photography techniques everyone can try.


Chris Bryan-Smith is a travel and documentary photographer based in Europe. Originally from the beautiful green hills of North Wales, he is currently located in Barcelona, Spain. He studied photography in college and has been documenting his explorations ever since. You can see a selection of his work on Instagram; @kbs.photographs.


Surrealism photography has its roots in the Surrealist art movement of the early 20th Century and was centered around post-war Paris. The Surrealists set out to bridge the gap between the human unconscious, as expressed in the fantastical world of dreams, and our more mundane waking lives.


Although none of the central players of the Surrealist group were themselves photographers, many artists on the fringes of the movement used photography as their main form of artistic expression.Early Surrealist photographers included some old-hands from the wartime Dada movement such as Hannah Hoch, but also Man Ray, and even George Brassai employed photomontage, collage, photograms and other innovative darkroom techniques to make surrealist photographic images.


Of course, surrealism and photography share a rich and complex history. Early surrealist photography, as with all art that emerged during the surrealist movement of the 1920s onward, drew inspiration from dreams and the unconscious mind. Some artists brought imaginary scenes to life through photomontage and collage, while others employed alternative processes like solarization, with the latter likely discovered by Lee Miller, a prominent surrealist.


Still more, like Man Ray, used photo-sensitive paper and everyday household objects to create abstract, mind-bending compositions. Claude Cahun explored the notion of identity through performative self-portraits, taking on the role of a doll or a dandy. Today, surrealist photography exists in many forms: the composite or montage is still a popular choice, while double exposures can also explore the idea of the uncanny.


500px Ambassador Julia Wimmerlin is best-known for her travel and animal photography, but her work often veers into the surreal. Sometimes, the location itself is otherworldly, as was the case in Dead Sea, where she found an expanse of vibrant turquoise water. In her conceptual work, she reimagines the human body through the use of mirrors or shadows, stretching or fragmenting familiar shapes beyond recognition.


A recent series of self-portraits reminds us of some of the famous pictures Lee Miller made with Man Ray, elongating and distorting her neck, bringing us back to the origins of surrealist photography. Her effects are done in-camera.


Hans Bellmer (1902-1975), born in Germany, is most well known for his unsettling portraits of mechanical dolls that he created himself. He originally studied engineering and was incredibly interested in politics, yet gave that up to pursue a career as an artist. He had read about Surrealism and sent photographs of his dolls to other artists, who immediately praised his work. This spurred the collaboration with other artists and led to his work on a few more books, ranging from his own photography to experimental poetry to illustrations of erotic stories.


While Erik Johansson creates beautiful, dreamy surrealist images, Christopher McKenney takes dreamy surrealism and puts a darker twist on it. His photographs often feature a human whose body is missing and face is covered; the face is either obscured by a sheet, covered with a paper bag on fire, or hidden behind a mirror (among many others). In these photographs, the entire body is often not seen. All of his images are post-processed to have eerie, de-saturated color tones, and are typically shot in the middle of the woods or on a back country road.


What type of surrealist photography do you prefer? Are you drawn more towards the original, darkroom manipulations, or the wide variety of new options on Photoshop and other post-processing programs these days? While surrealist photography has certainly come a long way, it can be argued that Photoshop makes it almost too easy to create images that once were only able to be made by professionals in a darkroom setting. Even so, it can be hard to argue against the fact that both original and modern surrealist photography requires a lot of originality and creativity. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Paris was a city of fantasy and chance encounters for Surrealist artists of the 1920s and '30s. During this period of unprecedented social and cultural transformation, photography played a dramatic new role in both avant-garde practice and mass culture. In their works, photographers such as Jacques-André Boiffard, Brassaï, Ilse Bing, André Kertész, Germaine Krull, Dora Maar, and Man Ray used fragmentation, montage, unusual viewpoints, and various technical manipulations to expose the disjunctive and uncanny aspects of modern urban life. In Twilight Visions: Surrealism, Photography, and Paris, guest curator Terry Lichtenstein has assembled over 150 photographs, films, books, periodicals, and Surrealist ephemera to show how real and imaginary versions of Paris were constructed through photographic images.


Surrealism is a cultural movement that developed in Europe in the aftermath of World War I in which artists depicted unnerving, illogical scenes and developed techniques to allow the unconscious mind to express itself.[1] Its aim was, according to leader André Breton, to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality", or surreality.[2][3][4] It produced works of painting, writing, theatre, filmmaking, photography, and other media.


The word 'surrealism' was first coined in March 1917 by Guillaume Apollinaire.[10] He wrote in a letter to Paul Dermée: "All things considered, I think in fact it is better to adopt surrealism than supernaturalism, which I first used" [Tout bien examiné, je crois en effet qu'il vaut mieux adopter surréalisme que surnaturalisme que j'avais d'abord employé].[11] 041b061a72


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