Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ben Goosens

Ben Goosens is a digital artist from Belgium who worked as an art director in advertising for 35 years. After retirement he began creating experimental / surreal photomontages as a hobby. Unlike many surreal photographers work, Goosens images are very crisp and vibrant with an obvious 'advertisement' style, which is presumably influenced by his career in advertising. I really love his concepts, and he has some very interesting ideas, however I prefer the the 'grungier' style of surreal photography.

Denis Olivier

Denis Olivier is a French photographer who does amazing film photographs of landscapes, people and objects. His long exposures of landscapes are magical, and the contrast and quality of the film really add to his style.
Olivier comes from a very artistic background, both his parents were artists and he was interested in painting and sculpture from a young age, eventually getting into photography and studying art at university. In his website bio he talks about how his photographic background began:

"My first encounter with photography took place when my parents performed some strange static dances with an object in front of their face. Later they would close themselves up in a special room under the house for long periods of time, and no one was allowed in. They diligently made sure that they were left to their own devices while inside. One day I was given permission to enter the room and allowed to stay, but on the condition that I didn't move or went out. I remember there was a unique chemical perfume and a red light.
I was bewildered: my parents appeared flashing a white light on a piece of paper using a strange apparatus. Then they dipped it into a clear liquid and Behold! I couldn't believe it, a miracle! They were wizards who created pictures."

I really love the way he talks about his parents photography, it captures the magic of the old film days so beautifully, and adds a touching child-like innocence to his story.

 My favourite works of his are his surreal compositions; his work is in my eyes the definition of 'surreal'. His series is called 'Dreamspace' and includes around 50 composites.
I really love Olivier's style, and his dream like images have a very magical aura to them. There is something about them being film like that makes them appear more surreal, as there is little to no hint of photoshop.

Check out his website for more amazing images, he has a huge range of genres:
He also has a range of interesting interviews, which can be found at his site, one of my favs is this one:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Abstract, Conceptual and Surreal Photography

The differences between abstract, conceptual and surreal photography are often hard to define, as in many cases images can include qualities of each genre. Although digital artworks often get confused over which genre they belong, abstract, surreal and conceptual photography are all different and have their own key elements and principles.
There is a fine line between conceptual and surreal photography, as sometimes it is hard to tell if the meaning behind the image was intended or not; the general rule is if the idea for the image was planned and has a clear and understandable meaning, then it is conceptual, but if there is no apparent meaning and the image portrays elements in an unrecognizable way, then it is surreal.

Abstract Photography

Abstract photography focuses on patterns, and is often taken in a very minimalist way. The image is free of concept and idea, which allows you to focus more on the texture, form and colour of the image. Abstract images are generally straight shots, but often use in camera techniques such as long exposures, shallow depth of field or macro to capture a part of the world we do not generally see.

Conceptual Photography
Conceptual photography is an image that is formulated off an idea or story, and the original concept is much more important than the image that portrays it. A prime example is advertising photography; where the image is trying to sell the 'idea' of the product. As conceptual photography is predominantly used in advertising, it is often taken in a clean, crisp and vibrant style, which may or may not be photoshopped. On general principle conceptual images blend and combine recognizable objects to create humorous or interesting compositions that have very distinct messages. Conceptual photography tends to get mixed up with surreal photography when the concept isn't believable or clear.

Surreal Photography
Surreal photography is defined as 'dreamlike' and portrays things that we wouldn't be able to see outside the realms of our subconscious mind. The meaning behind surreal artworks is left in the eyes of the viewer, as there isn't a specific concept that is depicted. Many surreal artists never have set ideas for their work, they just let the work transform as they create it. Photomanipulation is almost a necessity of surreal photography, as in order to be surreal, it has to not be something that could be seen in real life; textures and filters are often used to give a grungy, desaturated look, to give hint that the image is of something that is 'out of this world'.