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Black-and-White Landscape Photos Blend Analog and Digital Dystopias

Fantastical digital manipulations made from everyday materials emerge in Copenhagen-based artist Lise Johansson's 'Sehnsucht.'

DJ Pangburn

DJ Pangburn

Images courtesy the artist

While philosophical friction might exist between conceptual photographers who shoot landscapes with analog film, and digital artists who explore imaginary landscapes with software, some artists, like the Copenhagen-based artist Lise Johansson, prove that the divide can be happily—and fruitfully—fused.

In her new series Sehnsucht, which won the silver medal in the conceptual category at the Fine Art Photo Awards, Johansson uses analog photographs of real materials to digitally build dystopian landscapes. As she tells The Creators Project, Sehnsucht is defined as “the inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what”—a yearning for a “far, familiar, non-earthly land to call home.”

“The series Sehnsucht was created by photographing fragments of organic and non-organic materials,” Johannson explains. “These fragments were the building blocks for a universe that exists only in my mind, in between imagination and reality.”

Johannson says the series is also a result of an ongoing investigation into the use of shapes and textures from mundane objects and materials to create “dystopian landscapes of a forlorn world.” She does this by stripping the objects and materials of their original context, giving the digital manipulations a “realness” that helps blur the lines between the real or familiar and fiction.

“Desolate landscapes and distant horizons,” Johansson says. “Only a few souls are left, seeking answers that cannot be found. It is an eerily quiet meditation on abandonment and hope.”

While these landscapes and horizons are bleak, they may say more about the human mind than actual physical geographies. Because, whether intended or not, dystopias are always the result of human imagination and ambitions gone awry.

Click here to see more of Lise Johansson’s work.

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