DPP Home Profiles Erik Almas-A Maker Not A Taker

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Erik Almás: A Maker Not A Taker

Erik Almás, renowned for his immaculately composited advertising and fine-art images, answers the question “How’d he do that?”

erik almas
"Erik Almás pieces together intricate photographic puzzles from a variety of different exposures, often captured through numerous shoots in divergent places. Opening Spread: His attention to detail has brought him worldwide clients, including Puma, which commissioned this image of footballer Samuel Eto’o."
In Trondheim, Norway, where wunderkind advertising photographer Erik Almás grew up, it’s impossible not to stare at the sky. Sculpted dramatically by one of the country’s longest fjords, the sky in central Norway emanates an eerie, muted glow throughout the summers, when two full months pass without any darkness.

In the dead of winter, when the sun peeks over the horizon only three hours a day, the aurora borealis shoots ribbons of fiery color across the night. The river Nidelva, which flows through the city, reflects and doubles the visual impact of whatever is happening overhead: You look up, you see the sky—you look down, sky again. To live here, as Almás did his first 21 years, is to crane the neck upward and orient oneself in relation to atmospheric spectacle. It’s easy to understand, then, why Almás has become known for a signature style built on the visual duet between sky and landscape.

Now 36, Almás is based in foggy San Francisco, another city with a heightened sense of atmosphere. Restless, driven, always pushing himself toward new means of technical and aesthetic expression, he has deployed his unique vision in award-winning work for clients including Microsoft, Toyota, Nike, Puma, Pfizer, Harley-Davidson and Hilton Hotels. His images for these and other clients often contextualize people or products within hyperrealistic panoramas that frequently are capped by clouds that Turner or van Gogh might have envied. So breathtaking are Almás’ meticulously planned, produced and postproduced images that fellow photographers and armchair Photoshop quarterbacks often are left to scratch their heads and wonder, “How’d he do that?!” As it turns out, this is a question Almás is more than happy to answer.
There are so many great people out there who never get hired. Clients won’t find you by just your being good. You have to put yourself out there. You have to have great pictures, but you also have to package and brand yourself the right way.


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