Photographer Luke Gram's series of multiple exposures, digital and glitch art bring the dream world closer to the conscious realm


Canadian photographer Luke Gram recently exhibited in London, U.K. a part of his series of photographs which distort reality,  blurring the line between the freedom of painting and the succinct detail of photography. Aptly titled 'Svapnantika', the sanskrit term translates to 'consciousness in dreams'. 

We recently sat down and asked him a few questions after he shared with us the complete series.

Can you shed some light onto your thought process and inspiration for this series? 

"It might sound a bit odd, but I'm always asked who my biggest inspirations for photography are and the answers are almost never other photographers, rather its almost always painters.  Martín Rico, Mariano Fortuny, Ranón Martí Alsina, Carlos de Haes, and Aureliano de Beruete are amongst some of the finest in the world, and staring at their paintings has helped spur ideas of colour schemes and tones that I've brought over into my photography. I've always been envious of brilliant minds who can paint well. The ability to translate thoughts to canvas is the most appealing aspect. I couldn't paint at all - still can't, so I use photography to bridge that gap.
Modern photography with the wonders of photoshop and lightroom has helped narrow that gap even more. With photoshop and lightroom, creative control over almost all aspects has been given like a brush to us. 
For this series I wanted to take my portfolio of landscapes and portraits and create something new from something already existing. Using a photoshop technique that mimics the analogue method of multiple-exposures, I was able to superimpose images from my archives and create what I've shown. I wish I could say my process of creation was intricate and well thought out, but that'd be a lie. I basically started with a a folder of photos that I thought would blend well and went from there. After much trial and much more error, I began to be able to piece together one by one images that worked. A lot of the time pieces wouldn't work well colour and layer wise, so I would have to move one of the files to another option and experiment." 

What is glitch art, and why did you decide to incorporate it into the series?

"Glitch art in a nut shell is taking a photo and putting it through a process that basically shreds the data and creates errors that result in pixel changes and a unique aesthetic. There's a ton of great glitch art floating around the internet lately as the process is developing overtime and people are making it more accessible and easier to create. That being said, I wanted to take the style and tone it down slightly, just enough to distort the images in the theme I had going. With multiple exposure photography theres generally two images imposed on each other to create that layered effect. By utilizing glitch art, I was able to take a single image and pull it apart where it uses the original photo to create an additional layer that is distorted but remains on top, mimicking the multiple exposure technique but in a more graphic way. I brought it into the collection to add another dimension to the series, throwing the theme of dreams and distorted reality to another level."

So what's next?

"I'm not quite sure! For a while I've been wanting to incorporate my portraits that I take on my travels but I'm hesitant to do such yet because I don't want to take away from them. They're quite special to me and it's easy to get carried away with these techniques. That being said I've been working on ways to incorporate photographs of temple paintings, monuments, etc. with the portraits to try to create some that bear semblance to the culture and location of the portraits I've taken, particularly in China, India and Nepal. It's a long work in progress, so we shall see."