What Is Reality? (or One Art Births Another)

Erik Johansson

I recently came across the work of an amazing photographer. His surreal images are the modern-day equivalent of Escher artwork, but a step better. This young Swedish photographer’s work will stun you and have you questioning reality. Some of these I could stare at all day — they just ooze inspiration.

Reality and Discovery

I’ve mentioned that I love M. C. Escher’s art, but I haven’t really talked about why. Johansson’s photos hit me the same way that Escher’s do: they make me question the nature of reality. Maybe questioning the nature of reality should be a topic for my “Things I Like” series, because I could probably talk about that topic for a while. But today I just want to make one key observation. When a piece of art makes me question reality, it’s food for writing.

Take the photo of the girl looking out the window, for example. The image makes me wonder. Who is the girl? What is this strange place where she resides? What is outside? Is she trapped inside, seeking to get out or is she in a safe place of refuge, peeking out at her dark fears? Questions like these gel in my mind, and if I dwell on them long enough, I’m bound to find a story somewhere in the middle of it. After all, writing a novel is about discovery. We writers often write stories to explore ideas, to push the limits of reality and find out more about ourselves.

Check out Erik Johansson’s webpage to see more amazing photos. And I’d love to hear how his work inspires you. Leave me a comment!

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