Impossible worlds caught on camera

Story highlights

Swedish artist Erik Johansson edits images to create unique, mind-bending collages

A master photo manipulator, he depicts impossible worlds using photography and photo editing

CNN  — 

A river that shatters like glass? A dog that floats like a balloon? These bizarre visuals may seem like magic at first glance, but they are the careful handiwork of Swedish artist Erik Johansson, who edits images to create beautifully peculiar collages.

“I create these pictures in order to find a connection between two everyday objects in an unexpected way,” says Johansson.

“It’s a look into another world – one that is much like ours, but just a little bit odd and different.”

A master photo manipulator, Johansson’s ‘Perspective Illusion’ series uses photography and photo editing to bend landscapes out of proportion, twist objects beyond comprehension, and create images that depict the impossible.

Walk A Way by Erik Johansson

Each collage can take anywhere from one month to half a year to create, but the process begins with a simple sketch of an idea that Johansson pulls straight from his imagination onto a scrap of paper.

From there he sources locations and objects that are representative of the idea he has drawn and takes multiple photographs.

“This is the part that takes the most time, because often I’m trying to source locations and objects for multiple ideas at the same time,” says Johansson, who has been working on the series since 2011.

It is what he calls “putting the pieces of the puzzle together.”

The third and final step of his creative process involves hours of editing a multitude of images into one seamless impossible shot, transforming his sketch into a surrealist image.

Once this puzzle is complete, Johansson leaves it to the viewer to perceive the mind-bending illusions as they please.

“I usually don’t talk too much about my work. I’d rather hear what other people have to say. I just present my idea and put a title on it, and leave it up to the viewer – I just hope that people will be be inspired to see and think in a different way.”

See highlights from Johansson’s ‘Perspective Illusion’ series in the gallery above.