2017 Trevor Carpenter Photochallenge, week 46 : This is not a pipe

Time to get creative this week as we dive into the wonderful world of Surrealism! To be more specific, this week, your challenge is to follow in the footsteps of Rene Magritte, a Belgian surrealist painter who combined dreamy imagery with absurd perspectives. His hyper-realistic style is a perfect starting point for us photographers.

Golconda – Rene Magritte, 1953

The challenge is to create your own image, based on the imagery and techniques of Rene Magritte. How you incorporate Magritte in your image, is entirely up to you.

Some useful links:

Now let’s have a look at some of the characteristics of a Magritte painting.

Bowler hats and hidden faces

One of Magritte’s key characters in many paintings is a man with a bowler hat, often with a face hidden behind an object. Analysts of Magritte’s work link this them with the untimely death of Magritte’s mother, who drowned in a canal. When she was found, her face was covered by her wet dress.

The son of man – Rene Magritte, 1946

The Lovers – Rene Magritte



One of Magritte’s most famous paintings is undoubtedly ‘The treachery of images’, or, as it’s better known, ‘Pas un pipe’. The text ‘this is not a pipe’ seems to contradict the image that it accompanies: clearly, it’s a pipe we’re looking at, right?

The treachery of images - Rene Magritte

The treachery of images – Rene Magritte

However, if we listen to Magritte, it becomes clear what he means:

The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture ‘This is a pipe’, I’d have been lying!

This is not an apple – Rene Magritte, 1946

This is of course a great theme to pick up as a photographer: what are the things that we shoot, and how do they correspond to reality? Do they make their own reality?


Magritte offers some great ideas for practising your double exposure and photoshop skills: many of his works contain some kind of cutout.

The return – Rene Magritte, 1940

The wonders of nature – Rene Magritte, 1953

Strange proportions

Magritte’s surrealism really shows in how he proportioned objects in his paintings. Very realistic objects like apples an roses  become really strange when they fill up a room:

The tomb of wrestlers – Rene Magritte

The listening room – Rene Magritte

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Facebook, or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2017
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2017 Trevor Carpenter Photochallenge is fun and easy.

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About maaikegee

I live in the middle of the Netherlands together with Significant Other (who features regularly in my Photochallenge images) and my two cats Bumper and Pebbles (who are also no stranger to modelling). I’ve been glued to my compact camera for the last ten years, still love my Sony RX-100 and switched to a Nikon D7200 in 2015. I love street photography, conceptual photography, macro and still life. You can find my portfolio at www.maaaike.nl

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