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Tuesday, 31 May 2016


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Julie Blackmon fits this bill I think

You probably have to include the work of Bert Monroy (bertmonroy.com). He creates photo-realistic pictures entirely in Photoshop with no photography involved. The amount of detail in his images is staggering.

Is it just me or does that photo have a Norman Rockwell air about it?

some of my favorits:
Dariusz Klimczak - http://www.kwadrart.com
Erik Johansson - http://www.erikjohanssonphoto.com
Jerry Uelsmann - http://www.uelsmann.net/works.php
kirsty MitchelL - https://kirstymitchellphotography.com
Mattijn Franssen - http://home.kpn.nl/fran3324/index.htm

just to add some "european touch" ;-)

Mike, might that name possibly be Julie Blackmon?

No fan of such art but Domen Lombergar comes up from memory: http://www.domenlo.com/

I'd like to suggest Oleg Oprisco, whose work I like very much.

Lori Nix?

People whose work I like and follow - from the top of my head, but in no particular order: Dave Hill (commercial photographer, but I love his style), Kindra Nikole (mostly flimsy fantasy, elves and forests kind of photography, but tastefuly done), Anne Leibovitz (yes, THE Anne Leibovitz), Gregory Crewdson (not sure bout the Photoshop part, he shoots large format analog, but boy does he fit the "surreal photoillustration" category), Kirsty Mitchell (she does those crazy detailed photos, and I mean literally crazy - this is one of the few photographers I know that really do take advantage of high resolution cameras).

An extreme example is Dominic H Rouse (dominicrouse.com)

Was it Julie Blackmon - http://www.robertmann.com/2010-blackmon-press . Beautiful images here described as "digitally collaged photographs."

Here is a video of a Swedish guy creating heavily Photoshopped and obviously surreal landscape scenes. I'm personally very conservative/restrictive with my alterations but I like his results. Perhaps in part because it's obvious that they are "fake", and hence, present no moral issues to me. :-)


All the Best,

/Håkan Andersson

I came across Ed Freeman's work recently (www.edfreeman.com). I particularly like his Desert Realty and Western Realty portfolios, which show digitally enhanced images of buildings from around Southern California and the Western United States respectively. I think he manages to give these buildings and structures a certain appeal and charm.

Hi Mike

How about my friend Elana? She really does seem to use photoshop as a creative tool, rather than a way to make the real world 'right';D


And yes, those Lux images make me uncomfortable too - maybe a bit like when you see a perfectly symmetrical face or a shop mannequin...just feels wrong!

Andreas Gursky comes to mind - A pioneer in digital retouching and making of mega prints. I saw his work at MOMA (NY) in 2001 and was blown away. Sizes does sometimes matter, and digital manipulation wasn't much of a concern because his "photo illustrations" were in an art category of their own.

IMHO, as they say in the forums, if you want photographic digital artistry you have to go all the way. Catherine McIntyre's work is wonderful. See cmci.websign.ru

Of course she is an artist who happens to use photography and photoshop in her work

Unfortunately overt digital manipulation is common in amateur exhibitions here in the UK. I say unfortunately because most of it is junk. There are exceptions however. Rikki O'Neill is one but there again he is an artist, not a photographer. That doesn't stop the Royal Photographic Society from embracing his work. Are they wrong?


Could this be Chema Madoz? Although I don't think she photoshops anything.

Erik Johansson is really quite interesting for his creative surrealism. And the images are, as far as I have understood, based on very elaborated and staged real photos which have later been merged and undergone the PS-treatment. Reminds me of Dali, Escher and Magritte all mixed up.


Julie Blackmon(http://www.julieblackmon.com/), perhaps the person you're thinking of?



Gregory Crewdson?


You must be thinking of Julie Blackmon.


Feel free to not post this if I'm the 356th person to give you the answer...

Were you thinking of Julie Blackmon? Her photographs are carefully staged, if not photoshopped.
Also this was an interesting show of photoshopped images at the met:
and the accompanying show featured manipulated photographs before photoshop:

Also on this subject, my friend Kim DePaul led off a paper with these three quotes:
“Photography is truth” Jean Luc Godard
“Photography is a lie from start to finish” Edward Steichen
“All photographs are accurate; none of them is truth” Richard Avedon

Julie Blackmon? (sic)

I really like Richard Tuschman - Hopper Meditations.

Andreas Gursky
Gregory Crewdson
Erwin Olaf
Jeff Wall

How about starting way before Photoshop. Gustav LeGray's seascapes, Reijlander's montages, John Heartsfield's anti-nazi magazine covers, Hannah Hoch's Dada cut-ups, Jerry Uelsman's darkroom dreamscapes, and Nancy Buson's work with early digital technology. Or maybe, in a more photo-journalist tradition, the work of Civil War photographers who were fine with moving bodies or leaving props if it helped the composition. Most applicable to the recent dust-up over manipulated images - most of the best images by W. Eugene Smith, who spent days in the darkroom perfecting images and was no stranger to potassium ferocynide. None of these are new to you, I am sure - the history of the medium is fraught with manipulated images.

Once I was attending the opening of an exhibition. There was a photographer showing some work with heavily photoshopped images (e.g. the head blown out of proportions etc.).

The artist was discussing with another person and I listened to the conversation: "yes of course my images are manipulated, but isn't it what photojournalists do all the time? I've seen it happen, they get into a room and start moving objects around, so that the pictures come out how they wish them to be".

While I don't know if this artist was saying the pure truth or exaggerating it a bit, it seems that there is something that happens from time to time.

My first thought is that you don't need photoshop or an airbrush to manipulate a photo after the fact, as you can manipulate the fact itself!

The second thing is a bit more complex: if I write an article for a newspaper, I need to omit some details. Maybe I'm interviewing a person in her kitchen and don't need to write that there's some green soap on the sink. It's not part of the story, if I would write it I would disturb the narrative of the article, fill it with meaningless details.

While the journalist is interviewing the person, a photojournalist takes some photos. Which behavior is appropriate?

1. He doesn't notice the green bottle and takes some shots without changing his vantage point. Publishes the photos with the soap.

2. He notices the bottle and moves it somewhere else.

3. He photoshops the soap out of the image after the fact.

4. He moves his vantage point to keep everything as it is but to exclude the soap from the photo.

I know that many people would accept only 1. and 4. Also my guts tell me that these two behaviors seem the most appropriate.

The real question is: why do we want from photography a higher degree of truth than the one we want from writing?

Erwin Olaf from The Netherlands comes to mind.


Is Julie Blackmon the name you're looking for ? I like her work quite a bit, maybe more so because it's a little outside my normal fare.

I'm afraid I don't have any recommendations for you, though, because I don't really pay attention to photo illustrators. I did watch a couple of videos by Ben von Wong - creator of "epic" photographs. He's an impressive young man - I particularly appreciate how outgoing he is; how confident and sociable enough to pull people together and do these projects. The end results, to me, look like still frames from motion pictures, and make me think "gosh, cinematographers do this a couple hundred thousand times for a movie". I enjoy the videos on how he creates his images more than the images themselves. And, at least in his case, the images are extreme enough that rather than be disappointed that they're "shopped", I find myself impressed with how much of the image is NOT shopped.

But ultimately, having learned a little about him, I'm not likely to revisit his site, at least not often ... meanwhile, Clyde Butcher's book (the one you linked to a while back) arrived in the mail last night.

Mike - Here's another artist who's work you might find interesting.


Gay Waldman does very interesting photo manipulation in PS. I've been buying her art for decades and find the evolution from hand-colored print collages in the '90s to full-on digital manipulation fascinating. Enjoy!

I went to refresh my memory on the Diane Arbus photo and found some guy already covered this nicely a decade ago: http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com/2006/03/top-ten-number-8.html

The two that spring to mind are Jeff Wall and Andreas Gursky. The use is often subtle, but it is there. Cindy Sherman has shown that the transition from traditional manipulation to the use of digital processes can be achieved reasonably seamlessly. Well into the contemporary art world, but actually very based in photography are Gilbert and George. Another is Ruud van Empel, somewhat in the Loretta Lux school of image making. There are lots more but it's getting late.

Jeff Wall and Gursky both use PS extensively, not just for color correction but to alter content.

Chris Dorley-Brown. Some of his work is straight(ish) I think, but I'm a big fan of his extraordinary, slightly otherworldly "street" composites.

You might be thinking of Julie Blackmon - http://www.julieblackmon.com/Portfolio.cfm?nK=312

I took a crack at this type of picture myself for our christmas card last year: http://www.michael-tallman.com/distracted-parenting-christmas-card-edition/

Found a few more in my bookmarks. All are terrific artists, IMHO.

Jim Kazanjian http://www.kazanjian.net/

Rocky Schenck http://rockyschenck.com/page/7/

Ruud van Empel http://web.ruudvanempel.nl/index.html

Jane Long created with images from the Costică Acsinte Archive on Flickr Commons for her series Dancing with Costică which was featured at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in 2015.

Magdalena Wanli. Check out her November 2007 portfolio. http://photo.net/photodb/member-photos?photo_id=7211255

Others beat me to citing Julie. I met her some years ago when she was just starting out on her now well-known body of work. The extent to which she manipulates her images varies although I don't think any are untouched. She's actually quite good with lighting effects.

And, yes, nearly all the best known contemporary photographic artists (Gursky, Crewdson, Burtynsky, et.al.) manipulate their works digitally (sometimes very radically) before producing either digita or chromogenic prints. It's become quite accepted, even expected in the art world*.

Loretta Lux, btw, is the German artist's nom de plume. I found her work rather enchanting in a creepy way. (You have to see her prints in-person to get their effect. Books and internet don't work at all.) But despite having a very hot start in the past decade she's all but disappeared from the art world since 2011 or so.


* The art world expects expression rather than fidelity in works presented in photographic media. "If thy garbage can offend thee take it out (or, better yet, put another one in)!"

Maggie Taylor does incredible work: http://www.maggietaylor.com

One popular photo-artist on my list is Brooke Shaden.
You can see her work at:
and gain some insight into her use of compositing in Photoshop at:

You might also try:

Margi Geerlinks

Daniel Lee

Both also predate digital capture (not digital scanning of course).

I almost forgot...

Andrzej Dragan

Okay, that's bizarre: the Robert Mann Gallery (which I got to following Julie Blackmon links) represents "The Estate of Ellen Auerbach" and "The Estate of Elisabeth Hase" and others. But it also represents "Ansel Adams", "Harry Callahan", and "Walker Evans". Is there some conventional subtlety of the gallery business I'm unaware of, or is this just weird?

(Meanwhile, the Julie Blackmon photos are remarkable, and do raise in my head the question of how she got there. And since they're explicitly art and explicitly including both real and unreal fantastic elements (an amusing concept, but I think I have an idea what she means), no question of some sort of impropriety, just the usual technical curiosity.)

A few of my favorites;

Dirk Wustenhagen;

Jessica Drossin

Julieanne Kost;

and some have already mentioned JPC.

The Erik Johansson behind-the-scenes videos are worth watching, but maintaining focus is key, things go by pretty fast.

Jeff Wall, c'mon: https://artblart.com/2013/03/05/review-jeff-wall-at-the-national-gallery-of-victoria-melbourne/

And a younger one, whom I happen to know, Matthieu Brouillard: http://cielvariable.ca/matthieu-brouillard-les-cadavres-anticipes-jean-pierre-vidal-le-regard-atterre-et-lenvol-de-limaginaire/

An artist friends that I've exhibited with a few times makes landscapes that are very similar to ones I photograph but we use completely different techniques. I'm a no-crop, get it right in the camera type of guy (I even use a tilt shift lens rather than correct perspective later) whereas he will use up to 100 images tiled together, heavily manipulated to look convincingly real. The effect is very interesting and I have definitely fooled myself into thinking, "Well this photo is definitely realistic and came from a single shot."


I've been busy with work and haven't been able to read all of the comments accompanying this series of posts, but something occurred to me this morning that seemed both obvious, but somehow also new to me. It was the fact that the pleasure of looking at a picture like McCurry's pictures lies in the notion that what you're seeing exists somewhere out there in the world, and that the photographer was there to see it and capture it. That combination creates a combination of wonder (i.e., the reader is surprised by what they are seeing), pleasure (joy that such beauty exists in the world) and respect (for the photographer's skill and timing). As a viewer, you say to yourself, "Wow! Look at this beautiful picture of India. It looks lovely and I wish I could go there to see it myself. Steve McCurry's timing and composition in capturing this fleeting street scene was perfect."

Once you know that the picture has been manipulated, a lot of what created pleasure in the viewing experience is lost. You are no longer impressed that such a scene exists in this world, because that scene does NOT exist in this world. It doesn't matter that it COULD exist, the fact is that it doesn't.* You can still appreciate it (in theory) from a purely aesthetic perspective, but I personally question whether it is possible to separate aesthetic considerations from the subject matter in such pictures. And, needless to say, your respect for the photographer AS A PHOTOGRAPHER (as opposed to an illustrator) will also decline. It is very different to say, "Steve McCurry did a great job of placing himself in the proper location, being prepared, and having the timing to capture this shot." vs. "Steve McCurry did a great job of cloning out the distracting elements of this street scene."

[* I also have real sympathy for people like Ted (featured comment from a few days ago who wrote "However I was always frustrated and discouraged by how my photos would somehow have so many more distracting elements and somehow just did not have the punch and pure style a guy like McCurry had"] and countless tourists who have been fed tall tales and a simplified vision of what faraway places look like, only to be disappointed when they actually go there and find that those places are just as complicated and messy (in a good way) as the rest of the world.]

This is very different from the nature of the pleasure in viewing the Loretta Lux and Julie Blackmon pictures you have referenced above. In the example from Ms. Lux, there is an appreciation of how much she has stripped away from reality, and of what effect that has on our perception of what started out as something real. We don't look at the image of the two boys and think, "Wow! Great timing to capture the older boy helping his brother, and to get the younger boy looking right at the camera!" Instead, we appreciate the fact that Ms. Lux presumably had to conceive of her vision for the image first, and then go about executing it. We DO appreciate her Photoshop skills, not her photographic skills per se.

The same is true for the image by Ms. Blackmon. There, a large part of the pleasure of the image lies in the fact that elements of it "could" be real, while the image taken as a whole is clearly not an accurate representation of a single moment in time. Again, you appreciate the artistic vision and execution, not necessarily the skills as a photographer per se. Moreover, in both pictures it is fairly obvious (to me at least) that the images are illustrations and do not purport to accurately represent the world in front of the camera lens. The photographs signal on their face how they are meant to be appreciated. In turn, that led me to revisit a comment to the initial Steve McCurry post. Although at the time I laughed when I read Trecento's comment, now I think he had a point when he wrote: "Maybe, perhaps, the problem was that he didn't go far enough."

Best regards,

Surprised that no one mentioned Alain Briot...
Or George Barr...


Take a look at Huntington Witherill's beautiful manipulations of floral images, and don't forget that his background is in large format, classic black and white landscapes... which he also does quite beautifully.

WOW, what a cornucopia. My eyes may start bleeding. \;~)>

And yet, that Moose fellow also does more than a bit of that sort of thing. The sub (and sub-sub)albums of Alt dot Moose contain examples, in different moods, modes and styles.

All are photo derived, although many may not appear so.

Really like Cesar Blay. Check out his stuff here: https://500px.com/cesarblay

Some of it can be a bit much if you look at it all at once, but some is sublime ...

Victor Albrow from Edinburgh - http://www.albrow.com - look at the 'Folk Archive' for my favourites.

re Julie Blackmon. I've noticed that a lot of artists cite influences that don't really have their "look" and carefully avoid earlier artists who do. Julie Blackmon's work doesn't really seem to me much like that of Norman Rockwell of Jan Steen, but what about the painter Balthus?

I can't seem to drag a jpeg over, but the relationship between Blackmon's work and that of Balthus from the early 50s opens interesting questions, IMHO.


Yes, the photoshopped Fine Art mentioned in the comments is really "fine." But, what i really love is an unstaged photo that is totally surreal as it is, such as Stepeh Shore's "Holden Street, North Adams, Massachusetts, July 13th, 1974."

I'm a big Julie Blackmon fan especially her interiors. My pet-peeve with her work is that she works pretty loosely with the CG shadows in her exteriors. One shadow is crisp and sharp and another, right next to it, is very diffused. Some going left and right in the same "shot". They are all highly PS'ed. I had the good fortune of meeting her at a show and asked her about it... she didn't take kindly to the criticism... oh well.

If you want someone who creates composites, using Photoshop to alter the original images out of all recogntion, try Scottish photographer Rikki O'Neill. Some of his work is so far removed from the original, it is debatable whether it remains in the realms of photography and has instead become a different art form.

He does have a website, http://www.rikoart.com, but when I try to access it all I get is a Wordpress password request. Maybe it will get fixed by the time you read this?

In the meantime, here is a link to one of his better known images, which is comparatively "normal" by his standards.


An example where he has completely transformed the original image, in this case the face of the principal subject, can be seen in this shot. I did go to one of his talks a while back, but he was not letting on how he does it.


There is no way Julie Blackmon's Olive & Market St isn't photoshopped; it's much too clean! Even the litter on the street is clean :-D

I do like it as an image, if not a photograph.

Here's someone to add to your list: Ceslovas Cesnakevicius. I wrote about him, and the broader subject of image manipulation, in my article from way back in January 2009 Image Manipulation: Is It Worthy of Being "Photography"?. I can't say my opinion has changed since then!

Emily Allchurch. Not so much the photograph as art but art made with photographs. Mind blowing use of Photoshop.

Maggie Taylor http://www.maggietaylor.com, who happens to be married to Jerry Uelsmann, who is of course the great "analog" photo illustrator.

In the nature landscape genre, Marc Adamus, who limits himself to manipulating the light, perspective, and atmospheric elements, but not permanent subjects http://www.marcadamus.com

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