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Samples of impossible photography

If you want to see some examples of impressive “impossible” photography, then consider the work of the four photographers featured here.

These artists have redefined the standards for what should be considered impossible photography. They have pushed the limits of digital photography, shot composition, lighting, and post-production. Their work has an undeniable draw that we as the viewer cannot ignore.

Holger Pooten is a master of lighting, timing, and post-production compositing

Holger Pooten manages to transform a simple fax machine into a work of art by disassembling it into components and parts and making it the subject of a dramatically lit photograph.

Photograph of an exploding fax machine by Holger Pooten
Photograph of an exploding fax machine by Holger Pooten (photo copyright Holger Pooten)

Other works from Holger’s personal collection demonstrate a flair for the dramatic. Such as this photograph of a man who is spontaneously catching fire.

Photograph of a man on fire from Holger’s personal collection. (photograph copyright Holger Pooten)

I especially like this image of different styles of shoes stopping to refuel at a Texaco station. The idea of shoes as transportation, comprable to automobiles just made me smile.

Photograph of shoes refueling at Texaco.
Photograph of a shoes refueling at Texaco station from Holger’s personal collection. (photograph copyright Holger Pooten)

The commissioned work Holger did for Nike is also impressive. Runners were caught while in mid-air so that they appear to be floating.

Runner wearing Nike.
Nike Runner (photo copyright Holger Pooten, commissioned by Nike)

This last image is another work where Holger captures something mid-motion. Causing us to reflect on what action is taking place in this distinct moment.

Photograph of man striking object.
Man striking packing material — from Holger’s personal collection. (photograph copyright Holger Pooten)

Holger works in the UK and Germany for companies like Nike, Adidas, Vogue, and Intel. Please note that a few of the samples in Holger’s portfolio may be considered not safe for work.

Li Wei creates reality defying photographs

Chinese photographer Li Wei has been astounding audiences with his impossible photographic works since 1999.

Photo of young woman hurling boy.
047-01. “Love at the high place 1”. 2004,07.01. Beijing. 150x150cm (photograph copyright Lei Wei)

I am just amazed at the creativity demonstrated by Li. His photographs of people hurling each other, landing head first into the ground, and hanging dangerously outside a building are breathtaking.

Photograph of man dangling outside a window.
040-02. “29 levels of freedom”. 2003,07.24. Beijing. 120x175cm. (photograph copyright Lei Wei)

One of the most impressive feats of Li Wei’s technique is that his photographs are not manipulated in post-production. Li carefully stages his subjects and shoots photos from angles that result in photographs that defy gravity and imagination.

Photo of man in concrete walkway.
035-01. “Liwei falls to the Earth”. 2002.08.20. Beijing. 120×212.2cm. (photograph copyright Lei Wei)

Integrated digital photography, a new art pioneered by Platinum FMD

Platinum FMD describes itself as an “image conception studio that uses all available artistic means to find the best solution to create images” and a group who “strives to make impossible images become reality.”

Man sleeping in lego medical bed.
Agency: McCann Portugal, Art Director: Diogo Mello, Client: Ministerio Da Saude Portugal (photo copyright Platinum FMD)

The works created by Platinum’s team are astounding.  The photographic imagery created by Platinum’s artists forces the viewer to stop in awe.

Photo of shark created from droplet in water.
Agency: Corbett Chicago, Art Director: Mark Brobowski, Client: Vigamox (photo copyright Platinum FMD)

So, how do they create these kinds of images? Platinum uses something they call integrated digital photography – which involves mixing all available resources including photography, illustration, 3D and CGI.

Children playing with toys.
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Russia, Art Director: Mikhall Loskutov, Client: Effortel. (photo copyright Platinum FMD)

Charlie White constructs photos using actors, directors, and a visual effects team

Charlie White is an artist who challenged us to consider what things might look like of extra terrestrials were part of our every day lives. In a series of photos in 1999 and 2001, Charlie created several photographs that presented vignettes of what campus life, social scenes, and relationships might be like between humans and E.T.s.

Alien visits campus house.
Fleming House, Caltech, Passadena 48×96 (photograph copyright Charlie White)

Charlie’s photos were exceptionally interesting because they involved hiring large casts of actors, studio lighting, directors, and visual effects teams.

Alien at cocktail party.
Cocktail Party 36×60 inches (photograph copyright Charlie White)

Learn more about Charlie White in Wired Magazine’s article The Wizard of Id. For detailed biographic information, read Wikipedia’s Charlie White (artist) page.