Creator Spotlight: Surrealist Photography with Modifeye

Creator Spotlight: Surrealist Photography with Modifeye

10 minute read

We're back with another installment of our Creator Spotlight series with Modifeye - a brilliant surrealist photographer and content creator who has done incredible photography and videography work for the NHL, Miss Universe, June Shine, Jackery, and many more.

Alright, let's get to it! If you met a stranger at the airport and they asked what you do, how would you describe yourself to them? 

A conceptual photographer that uses practical/real props to execute creative ideas. I’m also a bit of a jack-of-all-trades as I have done projects ranging from graphic design, set building, photography, and unique video jobs like operating an 18-camera bullet time rig. 

Photo courtesy of Modifeye

Talk to us about the beginnings of your career and how you got started. 

While in college studying Kinesiology, I realized that I had ventured down the wrong path in life as I could not stop doodling during class and the only projects I actually got excited about had a creative element to it. I decided to withdraw from that program and pursue a graphic design degree the following year. 

It was also around this time that I had developed a huge crush on a girl who was a photographer and in an effort to hang out with her more, I decided to buy a camera. I was always interested in photography so this was a perfect reason to get into the hobby. Incidentally, I ended up falling in love with photography and became obsessed with it (she turned me down). 

For the next several years I developed my design and photography eye, taking on any project that came my way. I dabbled with macro photography, portraits, abstract, landscape, you name it. Once I felt like I had a good grasp of the fundamentals, I started searching for my ‘thing’ and what kind of work I wanted to produce. After shooting all sorts of various subjects over the years, I realized that I wanted to make imagery beyond just one photo. I wanted to conceptualize, build things and compose ideas in unique ways. Surrealism and photo compositing was the perfect fit for me.  

Photo by Modifeye

Can you tell us about your earliest influences as well as the people that inspire you today?

While searching for my photography niche, I came across a TED talk by surrealist photographer Erik Johansson. I could not look away. I was completely captivated by his presentation and his works of art. This was exactly what I was looking for.


Photo by Erik Johansson

Erik presented what he called “Impossible Photography”, photo manipulations he had made where he would create a surreal scene but in a photo realistic way. At the time in 2011, this was mind blowing stuff and in my opinion he pioneered this modern style of photography/compositing. He still creates surreal works of art to this day and continues to be a huge source of inspiration for me. 

Photo by Erik Johansson

Other notable inspirations would be Erik Almas and Robert Gonsalves. Erik Almas is also a photo compositor that specializes in commercial photography. He has an absolutely breathtaking style with beautiful colours, perfect compositions and flawless execution. 

Photo by Erik Almas

Robert Gonsalves is a fellow Canadian artist that created “Magic Realism” paintings that will blow your mind. Whenever I need a creative jolt, I revisit his works. He had this incredible ability to paint realistic illusions using all kinds of objects, people and landscapes in a way that I have never seen before. I highly recommend going on a deep dive of his work and get lost in the thought and detail he put into his paintings.  

Photo by Robert Gonsalves

Can you talk about EditHaus and the role of community in your career? 

EditHauss and EditParty continue to be a complete life changer. I can’t thank CacheBunny enough for starting EditParty during the pandemic. I have met so many amazing, talented people from around the world and doors continue to open because of it. 

I always craved being a part of a creative community. In the past I tried Reddit, DeviantArt, Flickr and Facebook group photo walks, but was never able to make solid relationships. Now, thanks to EditParty, I am a part of a growing community around the world! It’s been great for sharing work, talking shop and seeing everyone grow. 

In fact, Edit Party had such a huge impact that a few of us from the community decided to rent a house together in LA, known as EditHauss. The 5 of us are all mostly freelancers but we often come together like The Avengers and will collab on bigger projects together. We all specialize in different fields so it’s been a great fit and perfect for teaming up. We are now on year 3 at the house!    

Photo courtesy of Modifeye

How has technology affected your career? Does anything in particular excite you about where technology's going right now?

The main technology change that has occurred during my career is smart phones/social media. I was studying design back in 2010, and while smart phones and social media existed, it definitely wasn’t like today. Pursuing a career in the arts/creative industries was a lot scarier back then, so much so that several people warned me about it stating that there is no money to be made. Fast forward to today and creative content is everywhere and it’s valued. Now, every company and brand needs an online presence and with that comes photography, design etc. There are so many new job opportunities that did not exist about a decade ago. 

Now technology seems to be moving faster than ever with all the current buzz surrounding AI. I have mixed feelings about some of the new technologies that have gone mainstream, such as generative fill in Photoshop and image generators like Dall-E. At first I was a little bummed out, as I spent about a decade practicing photo compositing and now you can generate beautiful concepts with a prompt and a click. Now, I’m learning to use the tools to my advantage and it’s been phenomenal. Generative fill for example has been amazing for retouching and has saved me a lot of time, and I have to say generating images in Dall-E/Mid Journey is a lot of fun. I won’t use it to create my art for me, but it’s useful to storyboard and see how the computer interprets my ideas. Sometimes it will give me a composition that I like better than mine, and sometimes it is a complete fail. 

Can you tell us about how you utilize Glyph products in your workflow?

Glyph products have been a rock solid addition to my gear list. I currently use the Glyph Atom PRO as my main workhorse and I haven’t experienced speeds like this before. The main difference that I’m noticing is how fast large RAW photo previews load and how massive project files are able to open quickly and run smoothly. Gone are the days of waiting for the spinning wheel of death to stop, thank you Glyph! 

Photo courtesy of Modifeye

The Glyph Blackbox PRO Raid has also been a welcome addition to Edit Hauss, especially for projects involving our 18 GoPro camera array! The thing is a beast and has handled everything we’ve thrown at it so far. 

Can you tell us about a time where having a data storage strategy prevented you from losing important work?

Shooting with an 18 camera rig means dealing with 18 SD cards and needing somewhere to put all that footage. Each GoPro was numbered and programmed to name the files to correspond with the camera's assigned number. All of the SD cards were labeled as well just in case things get moved around. At the end of each array shoot, the cards are laid out to start the ingest process and dumped into our Glyph BlackBox PRO Raid. With that many files per take, it can get extremely messy if you don’t have a strategy in place. 

Photo courtesy of Modifeye

Can you touch on some of your more recent career highlights?  What were some of the most gratifying moments of your career?

I am a huge hockey fan and this year I was super fortunate to be able to shoot not one, but two projects for the NHL! The NHL is my DREAM client and working on set with them was a surreal experience. I will never forget operating multiple camera setups while on skates, skating with the NHL’s best players. Special thanks to Kursza for bringing me on the team! 

Check out the NHL videos I worked on here and here, and of course - there's a fun BTS video too.

Photo courtesy of Modifeye

Other notable recent highlights would be:

What are some of your biggest challenges as a creator?

I can’t focus. Plain and simple. I am very easily distracted and it doesn’t help that we live in a super fast, stimulating world. It is a daily struggle for me to stay on task and I continue to try new tactics to help improve my focus. 

On the creative side of things, I often talk myself out of pursuing ideas that I have. I will think of an idea, get excited, then soon after I will bail on the idea thinking it’s not good enough. Imposter syndrome is something that is common amongst creatives and I am no exception. Getting out of my head and just trusting my original thought has always been a struggle for me. 

Photo by Modifeye

What are the three ‘must haves’ for every creator?

I am going to answer this without using equipment/gear.

  1. Someone you can bounce ideas off of.
    Someone that you trust that will give you honest, constructive feedback that can help you. Having someone (ideally with a lot of experience) that has a developed eye in your field is incredibly valuable.

  2. An ‘escape’ hobby or activity that gets you moving around.
    It could be as simple as going for a walk, gardening, exercise etc. I think it’s so vital to take breaks from the computer to move your body and relax your mind. It can be a great way to overcome creative block and also reduce stress.

  3. Playlist(s)
    Whether it’s a relaxing playlist to help you focus and get into flow state or a playlist to fire you up because you are already late on a deadline and it’s 3am - you need a go-to DJ or list of songs that you curated. I’ve wasted a lot of time  trying to decide on music or being too picky and constantly changing songs which disrupts my flow. Now I just go straight to my saved sets that I know get the job done. 

Well thank you so much for sharing your insights with us. Looking forward to more collabs with you in the future. Thanks for blessing the world with your creativity!

Photo by Modifeye


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