Lens-Artists Challenge #209 – Surrealism

Nightmare, surreal, performance art
The Stuff of Nightmares

โ€œNightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations.”

Stephen King

Well I must admit that when I saw Tracy’s Surrealism challenge I had a bit of a nightmare of my own. After all, I’ve never been a fan and never attempted anything surreal. I’ll further admit that as I put together my thoughts and ideas for the challenge – and then worked to create images that translated them, I had a heck of a lot of fun! So for me, this is what a “challenge” should be – something that makes you step outside of your comfort zone to try something different, and because of that stretches your capabilities and your artistic thinking a bit more than usual.

hummingbird, impression, surreal, pointing
Facing a Fickle Finger

“The fickle finger of fate controls our destiny, come what may.”

David Harris

I played with software in both of my opening images. In the first I chose an image I’d included several years back of a performance artist working in front of a wall painting of a giant vulture. In the unedited image it appears that the vulture is dropping the man from its beak. That may have been surreal enough as it was, but I chose to add a small amount of twist in photoshop to make it a bit more so. Just above, I combined two images in photoshop, a hummingbird and a man’s pointing finger. To me it appears he is telling the bird, much larger in perspective than it would normally be, to go away. I further edited the image with painterly effects in Topaz.

surreal, magnolia
Surreal Magnolia

“My images were surreal simply in the sense that my vision brought out the fantastic dimension of reality.”


My image above is somewhat less surreal than the first two and needs no explanation. Here I simply applied one of Photoshop’s filters to a closeup of a beautiful magnolia. I almost felt bad “mistreating” it but I did rather like the result.

lion, surreal, yellow
Yellow But Not Mellow

“Only in art will the lion lie down with the lamb.”

Martin Amis

The image above is, to me, truly weird – ie surreal? I started with a lion portrait from our safari in Botswana, then moved a yellow hat and jacket from an image of our granddaughter onto the lion. Once I’d integrated the elements I ran them through multiple photoshop filters until I was happy with the result. I truly stepped out of my comfort zone on this one! I must admit it took me back to my college days when blacklights and neon posters were all the rage ๐Ÿ˜Š.

statue, surreal, green, gator, firecracker

“Create in the dark, only then can you recognize the light.โ€

Jyrki Vainonen

Last but not least, I’ve been wanting to post the image above for quite some time. It was a roadside statue of a giant alligator we came across during one of our drives north. I made a cutout of another image, a fireworks burst, and added it to the bottom corner of the image because the alligator for some odd reason is holding a firecracker and seems to be shouting. Go figure! I finished the image by adding just a bit of “zigzag” distortion in Photoshop.

I don’t know much about surrealism, and I’m maybe still not a fan, but I really enjoyed the challenge, so thank you Tracy for that! We hope you’ll join us this week and stretch yourselves just a bit too. Please remember to link your posts to Tracy’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. Thanks also to Andre for last week’s Summer Vibes challenge which gave us all an opportunity to show our love for the season. My apologies to anyone I missed as I was on the road much of the week. (and by the way, my surreal header is an unedited image of the sunset one evening this past week during our travels – how cool is that?!)

Finally, we hope you’ll join Sarah with your three favorite images next week as she helps us to close out our month of Guest Hosts. We’ll be back the following week when Anne leads us with her “What’s Your Photography Groove?” challenge. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

76 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #209 – Surrealism

  1. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-209-Surrealism – WoollyMuses

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  3. Brilliant, Tina! You must have had a great deal of fun, and the results are excellently surreal! Love the magnolia and the alligator – but for me the winner is the Stuff of nightmares.

    • Thanks Jez – that was a really unusual and beautiful sky. A fond memory as we all took the time to appreciate it together on our last evening of the family reunion.

  4. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #209: Surreal – Calling-all-RushBabes

  5. So glad you decided to play Tina, I especially love your Surreal Magnolia! ๐Ÿ’› xxx

  6. Wow Tina, these are great pictures, very creative and well done!! I especially like the way the magnolia flower turned out. This topic is also a big stretch for me, right now I have no idea what how to approach it.๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. It is so much fun to be challenged in our photography, Tina! You nailed this challenge with your surreal images, for sure! Your lion is cool–love all that yellow! Love what you did in your hummer picture, too! I would have to say our road trip had some very surreal moments, but nothing to be shared in images, LOL!

    • LOL indeed Terri. We just finished a road trip ourselves and you’ll note that none of my photography from the trip made it to this one ๐Ÿ˜Š (except for the header that is!)

    • Thanks John – I agree. This one was very different and presented a unique opportunity for some personal growth through experimentation. I loved it and hope others will join in.

  8. Stepping out of your comfort zone has yielded some great results Tina! I especially like the twist you’ve given to your opening image and the magnolia ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Tina, you’re an expert at this now! It warms my heart that everyone seems to be having so much fun. My favourite is the lion photo. It is really weird. I really like the magnolia photo too. You have brought all your creativity to this challenge and have inspired me to play more with PS. I still haven’t managed to cut anything out! I’ll keep trying.

    • Ha ha ha, I am the furthest thing from an expert Tracy! But as much as I mentally resisted the theme up front, I am always up for a challenge and this certainly was one! I truly appreciated the push to move out of my comfort zone and had so much fun working on my eventual results. Thanks so much for hosting us and for your truly interesting and really fun challenge.

  10. Amazing what you can accomplish with a little thought and effort, Tina. I seldom ‘tinker’ in that sense, but it does make for a diverting few hours and I really like what you’ve achieved.

  11. Hi Tina
    I like the tickle finger one the most and to me it didn’t seem like “go away” but more felt like a conductor’s finger as the bird danced and all the music was in the surreal vibe background.
    Or as if the finger/hand was in sync (training for something?) with the large bird in some type of fantasy movie!
    Hahaha – I guess the mark of a fun surreal image is when it leads to ideas like that!

    Enjoyed all and had to grab My sunglasses for yellow not mellow lion ! Nice vibrancy there!

    • Many thanks Lisa, don’t think I’d be able to respond to this one without it! I’m no expert but the most recent changes to P/S make it much easier to use and to create from.

  12. These were fun, Tina! Oh, that last image–like a large alligator on the street isn’t enough, let’s have him waving a firecracker! ๐Ÿ˜† I love it!

  13. Well done! Your efforts have certainly borne fruit. I’ve never used Photoshop etc. and have no particular desire to, With family here this week and all that this entails, I doubt if I’ll square the time to join in. But I may play around later.

    • I appreciated the advance notice on this one Margaret, as I spent the week enjoying my family as you are. Many thanks for stopping by – enjoy your time with those you love!

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