Drifting Away: Erik Johansson [BTS]

I’ve been a fan of the fantastic composite work of Erik Johansson for years. His concepts are consistently interesting and his technical skills are absolutely superb. In this wonderful behind the scenes video, we get to see the making of Drifting Away, a 100-plus layer composite image that features a sunlit farm floating inside a bottle on an endless sea, backed by a dramatically lit sky. The video begins in Erik’s sketchbook, where we see the initial concept take shape. From there, he takes the viewer along as he shoots the various plates needed for the final composite. One of the details I just love in the video is how the music goes a bit muffled when the camera goes under water. It speaks not only to Johansson’s sense of humor, but also to much how little details matter to him. Once the images are captured, we get a peek at how it all comes together in Photoshop. Despite the fact that the video is a timelapse, you can definitely see the level of technique and artistry Erik brings to his work, from shooting his own “rain drops” to adding subtle details like bottle distortion and lens artifacts. A couple of years ago, Erik gave a wonderful TED Talk describing his approach to making his composites and how his work is “more about capturing an idea than a moment.”

You can find more of Erik’s great behind the scenes videos on his YouTube Channel.

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