Step Into the Surreal Photographic World of Sam Johnson

The Australian photographer makes everyday moments feel strangely captivating.


Located on Australia’s east coast, photographer Sam Johnson creates anonymous, slightly eerie images that feel just a step away from the everyday scenes they depict. There’s always something a little magical, or a little unsettling, about Johnson’s imagery. Flowers seem to sprout from a wooden fence; a broken scooter sits trapped in a chainlink fence; birds fly in formation across a cotton candy-toned sky.

When people do appear in Johnson’s photos, they are typically glimpsed from afar. “I tend to avoid including any faces in my images,” Johnson says. “It adds a level of identity that I’ve always felt ultimately subtracts from the direction I’m trying to take.”

Especially in those rare images that do include people, the scenes that Johnson captures often feel like stills from a strange film, possibly David Lynch shooting renegade on an iPhone. In fact, Johnson names the cult filmmaker John Waters as an influence. He’s lately been inspired as well by American photographers Thomas Jordan and Neil Krug, who also specialize in using vivid colors in unexpected ways.

Find more of Sam Johnson’s photography at his website, built using Format.


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Maarten Vromans’ Close Ups of Urban Erosion
“The Six Months” Records a Photographer’s Journey Through Depression
Kyle Jeffers Photographs Canada’s Non-Places

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