2019 Week 36: Surrealism

“Balloon Ride” by Tonya Bender
2016 PhotoChallenge: Levitation

Surrealism is more than just a concept, it is an intellectual and creative mental process committed to representing the world in strange and abstract ways. This artistic movement first began in France during the 1920’s as both visual artworks and writings. It committed itself to otherworldly and unconscious expressions that were often bordered between reality and dream in order to disturb the viewers recognition. Some key words that describe surrealism are bizarre, unusual, weird, freakish, unearthly, absurd, and dreamlike.

“Soul Chasing” by Tonya Bender
2015 PhotoChallenge: Translucent Long Exposure
“Frankenstein Triptych” by Eric Minbiole
2019 Photochallenge: Triptych

There are many techniques that can be utilized in order to successfully develop a surrealistic image; some which are very simple and others that are much more involved depending on the degree of Surrealism that the artist wants to achieve. Although editing software such as Photoshop can be a key tool to create surrealistic art, it is not a requirement. Some simple techniques that can be done “in camera” include long exposures, unusual perspectives, photographing objects out of place (Juxtaposition), intentional camera movement, abstract forms, and many more. If you enjoy or wish to manipulate images using photo editing software, some examples to achieve Surrealism include multiple exposures, Infrared or monotone, HDR or over-processing images to make it look unrealistic, adding unusual objects to the image, or manipulating the scale of objects or features such as eyes and mouths to create strange looking scenes or portraits. Whichever technique you choose during your creative process, remember that the goal is to create an unusual and dreamlike image.

“Blackwater Falls Infrared” by Tonya Bender

I encourage you to seek out Surrealism and Surrealistic images to give you an idea of the style you wish to achieve and for additional inspiration. There have been many past Photochallenges that have involved Surrealism including the annual Halloween challenges, Levitation, Forced Perspective, Picception, Infrared, Out of Place, Translucent Long Exposure, Unusual Perspective, Abstract Portrait, Abstract Landscape, Harris Shutter, Juxtaposition, and the most representative “This is Not a Pipe”. You can click on any of these past challenges which will link you to the challenge write ups for a more detailed description. You can also search these past challenges on our Facebook page to see more great examples.

“Feeding Station” by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero
2017 Photochallenge: This is Not a Pipe
2017 Photochallenge: This is Not a Pipe
by Eric Minbiole

Below are some other examples from past challenges that embrace Surrealism, many of them which did not require Photoshop. Remember to keep an open mind, be creative, and have fun!

“Laser Portrait” by Eric Minbiole
2016 Photochallenge: Light Painting Portraits
“Interesting Eye Patch” by Tonya Bender
2016 Photochallenge: Abstract Portrait
“Staging Clouds” by Tonya Bender
2018 Photochallenge: Forced Perspective
“Watch Dog” by Tonya Bender
2019 Photochallenge: Picception
“Split Portrait” by Eric Minbiole
2016 Photochallenge: Split Face Portraits

To recap this week’s challenge:

  • Take a new photo that represents our reality in strange and abstract ways defined as Surrealism
  • Post your photo during the week of Sunday, September 1st and Saturday, September 7th.
  • Please remember to comment on at least FIVE photo submissions this week by answering the question “why?” in your comments. In other words, “why do I like (or not like) this photo? or “why did this photo catch my eye?”

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebookor Flickr (or both). Tag the photo:  #2019photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2019 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About Tonya Bender

I am a self taught photographer from Allegany County Maryland where I reside in Little Orleans with my husband. My interest in photography began 20 years ago when my husband gifted me with my first film camera, a Canon AE-1. I dabbled in nature photography as well as portraits for a few years until shortly thereafter I put photography on hold to pursue my education in laboratory science and Chemistry. Upon graduating I combined my passions of learning and photography while exploring, practicing, and fine tuning my artistic style. With the use of my creative eye, my camera, and my processing skills I seek to create images that inspire emotion, thought, and interest. I first joined and started participating in The Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge in 2014. From the moment I submitted my first photo I knew I had found a new home. The members were so accepting, informative, and encouraging. I spent the next 6 years participating, learning, and creating in ways I never thought possible. I became more confident in my work which encouraged me to enter photography shows and competitions in which images I have created as a result of The Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge have won top prizes. A few years into my journey at The Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge I became a Guest Contributor and have written several of my own photo challenges for the group. I am honored to now take on a more permanent role as a contributor and administrator in hopes that my story and my challenges help inspire others just like this group has inspired me! If you are interested in seeing more of my work please check me out on Flicker at https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyajbender/