At this point, as a good amateur photographer, you will have been moved by one or another photo that has seemed very surprising, magical or unreal, and that has been attracting your attention. You’ve probably wondered how these are made.
This was surely done, from the deepest and hidden being of the artist, perhaps his deepest dreams or instincts. First let’s see what are the main objectives and characteristics of surrealism, so as to understand it better. Besides knowing the steps to know how to make surrealist photographs.
What is the surrealist movement?
First you have to define and know what the surrealist movement is. So this current has existed for almost a century, and completely changed the way we perceive, understand and can express art.
The groundbreaking and provocative conception can be based on spontaneity, on creations without control in the mind, exploration of the subconscious and the world of dreams, which helps us to choose the path of the essence of the human being.
This movement is known as the bet of surpassing the real in the field of art. Surrealism bets on a spontaneous expression of thought, and seeks to overcome limits that have been imposed on the imagination.
It also takes charge of expressing, through art, the absurd that is inside us, until the context becomes meaningful, and the unconscious can interpret it. So, in this sense, the true meaning of surrealism is the expression of the unconscious.
Forced Perspective in Photography
The forced perspective in photography is an optical illusion that is created through different sizes and planes in a photo. These can be as an example, a person touching the tip of the eiffel tower, a person standing on a hand, a dog with its mouth open as if it were going to eat someone who is at the bottom of the image.
Also, these images are totally real, as there is no retouching back to create them. This is a technique of manipulation of human visual perception, through the use of scale objects and the relationship between them.
Some tips for taking pictures in forced perspective are:
- You have to visualize an image before taking the picture.
- You have to play with the proportions of objects and people.
- Move the objects to get the angle and effect you want.
- Play with the closed diaphragms, as the image planes are equally important.
- You have to let your imagination run wild.
- Be inspired by seeing pictures of others.
Photographs with double exposure
Double exposure photography is a creative technique that will allow you to develop your conceptual and abstraction skills when taking photographs. It is one of the methods that requires more imagination, since you will have to think about the result of mixing two different photos in one, superimposing one on top of the other. It is a simple technique that can provide surprising results.
There are cameras that have this option in the menu directly, but if you do not have this option, you can do it through some graphic design program, such as Photoshop.
Light painting in photography
Light painting in photography, as its very name indicates, is the technique of painting with light. In addition, you can get amazing surrealistic images with long lights. It is usually managed by finding a dark place, and with a point of light, which may be the best you think, whether candles, flares, flashes, shaping a movement. For this, the exhibitions have to be quite long.
Once you decide what you want to “draw” on the image, you put your camera on a tripod and in bulb mode, it means that the shutter will be open as long as you decide. At this point, that’s when you’re going to start drawing, and create a unique image.
Objects in the photograph
It is a technique widely used by surrealist artists, and is about bringing to our art, objects in photography, common or everyday, that already exist and are not considered as artistic. This may be a modified everyday object, but recognizable and not in context, so it may be more attractive and shocking to the viewer.
The “Objet trouvé” does not have an established order, but is the chance that can make several objects relate, meet and emerge something that is shocking in the spirit of the artist, that is considered his work.
Take a photo with several photos
You probably know it’s a collage, or you’ve done one in your life, but maybe you haven’t tried to take a photo with several photos. This isn’t about making a composition by means of a retouching program, but rather making a scenario in which several images are played with directly.
Pictures of Light and Mystery
Surrealism tries to enter into the essence of the unknown, the deepest part of the human being, and has many doses of mystery and unreality. Light is a great ally in the search for what you want to express.
The photos of light and mystery, will contribute to your composition drama, magic, unreality. Now it’s just a matter of being aware of the possibilities and knowing how to play with them. For example, you can use it on a dark stage, and place a light on an object or person, so that it looks like it is levitating in nothingness.
Fogs and unreal landscapes in photography
It is the sum of countless variables, starting with each photographer’s imagination, knowledge of your camera, the behaviour of light, colour temperature, etc.
Weather conditions are those that inspire to take a picture. In this case, we refer to fogs and unreal landscapes in photographs that will evoke the mysterious or the unknown, and will make you want to see beyond the unknown, as the fog lets you see something, but not enough to capture what is the object you see in the distance. You feel that something is happening, but it escapes your knowledge.
Symbols in photos
Most of us share quite similar cultures, but also common symbols, that are allied to photography, at the moment of sending a concrete message, and that the spectator perceives it and can capture it in a correct way.
That is for example, if you see a photo of a white rose, it can be understood as “peace”, some “wings” can be associated with freedom, a “clock” with the passage of time, and so on.
These objects have a great symbolism, and adding symbols in photos, and playing with them in the composition of your image, can make your visual narration quite interesting.
Bearing in mind that you can fly objects, which on their own, could not do it, can give a very surreal touch to your photos. In levitation photography, there is a well-known technique called bed jumping, which involves jumping over a bed while the subject is being photographed in the air.
You can also put the subject that is going to fly, on a surface that can hold it. It can be a box or chair, depending on what you feel most comfortable with, and thinking that it can be removed as simply as possible, by a design program.
Photographic filters are those that will change conscious reality to show a completely different reality. In photography, as you know, there are many types of effects, which will help give another perspective to your image.
You only have to learn to know them, as they can open the doors to creativity. You can take pictures with your cell phone, and whatever you have in hand, according to your possibilities.
Now you will be able to take the most surreal and spectacular photos, with the purpose of impacting the spectators. Just let your imagination fly, and you will surprise more than one. Just take into account all these tips.