All images by Mikko Lagerstedt. Used with Creative Commons permission.
If you’re seeking inspiration for surreal and emotive imagery, the works of Finland-based Mikko Lagerstedt will certainly do the trick for you. The self-taught fine art photographer has made it his mission to capture the emotion of places through photography. By combining digital photography and photo manipulation, he blends certain elements to take viewers to places that rouse the imagination.
One of Lagerstedt’s earlier works, a two-part series titled Dream, takes us around places that seem to be in between the familiar and the strange, making it easy for us to imagine traversing his fantasy worlds — or even places straight out of his own dreams. Everyday elements that we mostly overlook, like a shopping cart, a concrete walkway, a park’s empty benches, or a pile of rocks peeking from still waters are all transported into locations that could either be real or imagined. This sparks a number of things, like curiosity, wonder, and even a hint of unease.
Poking around in his website, I think I found where Lagerstedt developed a taste for such serene dreamscapes. “My very first inspiration towards photography came to me when I was driving on a summer’s eve to my relative’s cabin. After a rainy day, the sun started shining, and the fog was rising in the fields. I just had to stop and watch this beautiful moment and then I realized that I want to start capturing these kinds of moments.”
This experience eventually led to a distinct visual style that features minimalism, soothing tones, and calming hues. To top it all off and complete the dreamy look, he adds a veil of haze and an aura of mystery. It all seems so simple, yet also so hypnotic.
Mikko Lagerstedt has loads more of these mesmerizing works, so go ahead and visit his Behance portfolio and website for the rest of his sets. While you’re at it, you may also want to check out some of the stories behind his photography, as well as our features of his other sets.