The sea is a recurring theme in the surreal digital art of Ukrainian photographer Mikhail Batrak (born 1984) – much action takes place here by the rocky shores. Waves are the backdrop against which half-fried eggs or cups of tea or violins or mirrors are carefully placed.
Mikhail, who grew self-sufficient in the capacity of a merchant navy officer, says that at a certain point he was disappointed by the “one-size-fits-all” concept of modern life. In pursuit of answers, he turned to photography and Zen. He learned quickly and developed his own methods and approaches.
In his smooth and splendid works, Mikhail cuts reflections into weird fragments, deconstructs bodily functions (for instance, the sound of music hitting the ear) and visualises elusive psychological processes (like storytelling flowing out of the storyteller). Infinity – with a mind-boggling inversion of reality – is another big subject. A man is submerged in a pool of black coffee which is contained in a mug from which he himself will take a sip. A child holds a glass jar within which he is captured – himself holding a glass jar. According to the photographer, “the language of surrealism is similar to any foreign language with one major difference – nobody can teach you to speak it, every surrealism is personal.”
He has something interesting to say on the concept of beauty and the human mind: “As a merchant navy officer, I used to travel and shoot landscapes until the day I realised that all the time I had spent chasing the beauty around me, beauty itself never existed outside my mind. For most living creatures, there is no major difference between the most fascinating scenery as we see it and complete mess unless it gives shelter, food or water to drink.”
Mikhail continues further with empiricism: “What we see is not the real world but its model rendered inside our brains based on poor signals taken from the eyes and individual past experience. The colours we perceive are just the specific light wave frequency captured by the retina and rendered by the brain. Nobody knows if other creatures see it the same way or if the real world is in colour. At a certain moment, I ceased chasing the ghosts and started searching for beauty across my mind. Meditation, digital camera, laptop, pen display and Adobe Photoshop are the tools I use.”
The featured photograph above is called “Entropy”.
Images used with permission.