Impossible Images

Variety is the spice of life, and it is certainly part of what I enjoy about photography. Having a camera is an excuse for being anywhere and examining anything. Those of you who follow my blog or my photostream on Flickr will know that my subjects range from kids and flowers through the night landscape. I’m also intrigued with the idea of extending photography via software manipulation to create images of the impossible.

I’m pleased to announce that Spirals, one of my images of the impossible, has won a place in the prestigious MacWorld 2009 digital imaging exhibition.


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The image may be impossible, but it should not be implausible. To achieve this sleight of eye requires, as artist M.C. Escher put it, “deception.” Plausible impossibility tends to the opposite of plausible deniability: until you look very carefully it just might be for real, but it’s clearly imaginary if you give it thought.

My favorite impossible images often involve twisting stairs like Calling Alice (below) or infinite progressions to an impossible vanishing point, like World without End (far below).

Calling Alice

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In the photocomposition below, I sandwiched larger and smaller versions of the progression of doors together to make an apparently endless series. The doors do go on to the bitter end, namely the single pixel level.

World without End

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This entry was posted in Photography.

9 Trackbacks

  1. By Watchmaker Dial | Photoblog 2.0 on January 12, 2009 at 10:42 am

    […] it’s hard to stop when you’re on a sleep deprivation and good food binge fueled by Macworld and my birthday weekend, so why not invert the inversions? When does it ever […]

  2. […] months ago I was contacted on Flickr by Sophie Addison, and asked to share my image Spirals in a book Sophie was creating titled It’s a Beautiful World. All proceeds were to support the […]

  3. By The Wrestlers’ Tomb | Photoblog 2.0 on January 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    […] days I feel I’m channeling Vincent van Gogh, others it is M.C. Escher, and today I am channeling René Magritte and his painting The Wrestler’s […]

  4. By Clematis Light to Dark | Photoblog 2.0 on April 24, 2009 at 11:58 am

    […] I belive that photographers need to look at visual artists beyond photography (for more on this topic, see this interview with me). M.C. Escher has obviously influenced my composites. […]

  5. By Shaving Spirals | Photoblog 2.0 on July 3, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    […] noted: a photo composite created from the shavings left after sharpening a […]

  6. By Stair Lighting | Photoblog 2.0 on July 17, 2009 at 11:10 am

    […] than up, and likely would require physical model making or virtual compositing. A couple of my impossible images such as Calling Alice or Endless Stair might come close. (Check out my Impossible set on […]

  7. By Improbable Stair | Photoblog 2.0 on November 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    […] put this impossible image together using a cloudscape from the Bay area and the stairs at Scotty’s Castle in […]

  8. By Where does inspiration come from? on December 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    […] more about the surrealist influence on my work, check out (among other stories) Impossible Images and […]

  9. By The eye believes what it thinks it sees on December 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    […] the eye doesn’t see that makes the image both perplexing and interesting.   Related story: Impossible Images.   This entry was posted in Bemusements, Photography, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. Follow […]

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