21 Dreamlike Film Photos by Oleg Oprisco That Will Blow Your Mind


Oleg Oprisco is a photographer based in Ukraine whose magical, dreamlike photographs have been shared far and wide on the Internet. In an age where realistic photo manipulations are the secret sauce behind impossible images, Oprisco’s work stands out for one simple mind-blowing fact: they aren’t artificial digital manipulations.

You read that correctly. Rather than use clever Photoshopping, Oprisco carefully plans out surreal scenes and shoots them on film. The only Photoshopping that goes into the final images are color adjustments (sometimes a lot of them) and the removal of dust specks from the frame.

Ideas are regularly jotted down into a notebook. Once he decides to turn one of the ideas into an actual shoot, preparing for the shot takes two or three days. Hours upon hours are spent coming up with concepts, creating the costumes and realistic props (e.g. oversized matchsticks, fake butterflies, a stack of fake books), scouting out locations (sometimes pretty dangerous ones), and figuring out hair and makeup.

Each scene starts with a color palette, which guides Oprisco’s choices for each of the elements included in the shot. Outfits and props are either created by hand, or purchased from flea markets and other second-hand sources. Instead of having a team of assistants, Oprisco generally tries to create every element of his shots himself.

The photographs themselves are captured using Kiev 6C (which you can buy used for about $50) and Kiev 88 medium format cameras and a variety of lenses (e.g. 90mm/2.8, 180/2.8, 300/4.0). 12 shots are captured onto each roll of film, and Oprisco is not able to review the photos he captured until he gets the film processed.

Many of Oprisco’s photos are so amazing that you’ll have a hard time believing they weren’t the product of digital trickery.





















Can you figure out what went into each of the shots above? Leave a comment with your answers!

You can find more of Oprisco’s work by visiting his website.

(via 500px and Bored Panda)

Image credits: Photographs by Oleg Oprisco and used with permission

Get the hottest photo stories delivered to your inbox.
Get a daily digest of the latest headlines:
  • Jason Kessenich

    Some outstanding work here.

  • Carlini Fotograf

    Kiev 6C for $50? Maybe in bad condition with no viewfinder. I just sold one for $150 for the body only with the metered eye level viewfinder. .

  • Paula


  • genexk

    i am sure everyone believes it

  • Bearr

    These are gorgeous.

  • Patrick Huffine

    While aesthetically pleasing and some clever ideas, these are far more exercises in costumes, props, and set design than they are exercises in photography. Photographically, these are okay.

    The photos say nothing but they sure do include pretty girls. Budding photographers: use pretty girls. Always. Your photos should never not have pretty girls in them. What is the point of photography if not to just shoot nothing but pretty girls. Pretty girls in pretty places doing pretty things. Really push the envelope.

  • John Milleker

    Two of those birdhouses have seen some things.

  • David Vaughn

    I think they are probably meant to be seen as fine art and not so much as photographs. Not saying that photos aren’t inherently art, but these in particular seem to be art first and photos second.

  • Adam Cross

    I’m not sure why these are supposed to be so “mind blowing” because they were shot on film? :S I was expecting some really intelligent duodecuple exposures but these are just well dressed sets and costumes with some colour adjustments. They’re lovely, obviously, but not “mind blowing”

  • Jack McKechnie

    I liked them..nicely thought out images…and you know with film it is harder..your always taking a chance..spending more..and planning more!

  • BoneDiddlie

    Whomp whomp : (

  • Lindsay

    Most seem to forget that a good percentage of terms in Photoshop come from film processing and the darkroom.

  • Patrick Huffine

    As tempting as it may be to get into the What Is or Isn’t Art argument, I do think you’re right. It appears as though the creator is going for an artful aesthetic. I feel only a few may succeed at that idea. Many are center-composed, prop gimmick ideas, often with leading lines that actually drive your eye away from the subject and appear to have little understanding how one’s eye moves around a composition, that rely heavily on the fact that the subject is a female. They don’t really say or do anything. Some are a bit emotionally evocative, The color palette aesthetic is nice, but even that is overdone for my taste. Hazy, un-contrasty shots attempting to evoke nostalgia.

    But, to be fair, I do think the costumes, props, makeup and settings are done well.

  • Jim Macias

    Welcome to the modern internet. Everything is mind blowing.

  • cavazos.michael

    Nice stuff but I was expecting something more along the lines of Jerry Ulesmann’s work due to the headline

  • Lois Bryan


  • Scott M.

    Love the red haired girl painting the autumn leaves red. He tried it again with the girl and green giant paint brush but wrong color green.

  • Ian Norman

    I’m a little confused by this post. It’s mentioned that “they aren’t artificial digital manipulations.”

    But there is definitely some more substantial digital manipulation going on here. For example, in the image of the red-haired lady in a white gown against the red leaves of a tree, there are large portions of the image that indicate that the tree’s leaves were cloned. If you look carefully you can see repeated patterns in the leaves that look like perfect copies of other parts of the image. It appears like large portions of the tree was cloned to fill in more of the photo.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of surreal portraits like Oleg’s and I’ve even played with this same style myself but I think it’s disingenuous to say that these “aren’t artificial digital manipulations.”

    Props, costumes, composition, color, light, and concepts are all amazing in these images for sure but they don’t seem to be pure film with only color correction and dust spot removal. I’ve pointed out some of the more obvious cloned textures in the attached image but you can find even more large cloned areas if you look closely.

  • Gatot Jaka Timur

    scary pictures, dark atmosphere. i don’t like them

  • Vin Weathermon

    There is some photoshop here but I don’t care. They are creative, beautiful images that took a lot to produce.

  • Andrew Farrington

    Perhaps we coould see teh ‘raw’ scans as well??

  • Richard Ford

    Wow – what a talent!

  • David Vaughn

    I do think some succeed better than others. I was just meaning that the evocative nature of the images are the point, and not so much the subjects or the content. They seem kind of fantastical.

    I feel these are well-executed. Among the many posts of “surreal” photographers who are mostly middle-class white kids naked in the forest, this stands out to me even if the technicalities such as the composition (which I think is deliberate because of the aspect ratio) or the post-processing aren’t really the most original.

    I feel like, for the most part, everything put together from the props to the costumes to the concepts is just really…evocative, and that’s what draws me into these photograph – not necessarily the content itself.

  • cardmaverick

    The real success of a photograph is WHAT you are shooting. If more photographers actually made an attempt at finding good locations, props, wardrobe, etc, there’d be way more interesting content to look at.

  • Louie Garramone

    I highly disagree with everything you are saying and honestly your comments are very ignorant. There is a lot of meaning and subliminal messaging behind these images, and some that frankly negative people like you should take into account.

  • Veldask Krofkomanov

    Can you articulate more on how the leading lines drive the eye away from the subject, and on how one’s eyes move around a composition? I’d like to know this stuff, obviously from someone who knows what he is talking about, to help my own photography.

  • Veldask Krofkomanov

    Show me a photographer (professional, not amateur) who would willingly just give up and show raw scans (or RAW files) because you want to compare it with what you see.

  • Patrick Huffine

    The images here that particularly display the problem with leading lines are the ones that use the sectioned grass land. If you look at the compositions, you’ll notice that the lines come to their vanishing point (where they are the closest together) at a point that is away from the subject matter. Instead of leading toward the subject, they lead away from the subject. Our eyes naturally follow lines from their widest to the narrowest, so in placing these leading lines at the narrowest above/beside/away from the subject, your eyes naturally follow these lines to somewhere that is above/beside/away from the subject, instead of leading to toward the subject. The composition then leaves the viewer ‘fighting’ between two objects: the subject and the leading lines. The subject is the subject for a reason, and to intentionally include an element to the photo that works contrary to the subject makes for a displeasing composition. At first glance it may seem cool to see those lines, but when you actually look at it for a moment, you’ll find your eyes wanting to move along the lines, rather than staying with the subject.

    Our eyes naturally move around a composition. When shot well, our eyes naturally find the subject. However, when a shot has several elements in the composition, our eyes move from object to object. In general, you should avoid having an even number of objects in your photos, your eyes fight between the two for attention. Back and forth back and forth. If there’s 4, people tend to mentally pair them and then you have 2 sets. The composition ends up being divided in half rather than serving as a unified work.

    Having an odd number of elements creates a composition that tends to have movement. Meaning your eye follows a path from one object to the next to the next, and hopefully, back to the original object. If your eye moves around a composition in a loop (so to speak) then you’ve got a balanced composition where one element isn’t overpowering the rest. Or at least, if one overpowers, the other elements serve to balance it out. If you find your eye staying still while looking at a photo, it usually means it’s very simple compositionally. Complex photos will have several objects to move from, and if done well, move pleasingly. You should want to look at all the different objects, and if shot well, the photo should do the choosing for you. It should lead you from one thing to the next. This is a simple idea, but a difficult one to actually achieve regularly. This is one of the main reasons why the great photos in history are great, they’re complex, your eye moves, and you don’t fight between the objects. This is can be where photography becomes art photography.

    Certainly, these are simply guidelines and are not hard and fast rules. Any rule can be broken and broken pleasingly, but to do so is very difficult. Following these ideas will help learn what makes a photo great and how to pleasantly balance a photo’s composition in a way that transcends simply documenting a subject.

  • Patrick Huffine

    To give an example of movement using the images above, look at the birdhouse shot. Your eyes naturally find the birdhouses first and move up the line of them. Your eye then moves toward the branches on the right, which point downward toward the lady. The lady is next to the bottom of the birdhouses, and then the cycle repeats itself. This is a decent example of how an eye moves around a photo and keeps in a circular loop. There are three elements (birdhouses, branches, lady) and they don’t compete since your eye moves from one to the next.

    The image isn’t perfect. The birdhouses go up and to the left, even though the branches and lady are to the right. It would have a nicer movement if the birdhouses went up and to the right. Your eye will actually hit the edge of the photo instead of moving to the branches naturally, but the image still served as a good example of the movement.

    Also, the birdhouses are obviously the focus of the image, not the lady, which is one of the reasons why I said these are good examples of prop/design rather than photography. The subject of this image is not the person, but the prop, and the person is included to give weight to an otherwise documentation-of-what-I-made type of photo.

  • Andrew Farrington

    I think you are missing my point – the feature is based on the images not being ‘photoshopped’, therefore due to the fact that they obviously have (albeit very skillfully) then I think it would be in his interest to prove doubters wrong.
    the paradox is that if he was selling himself as a retoucher he could make a fortune; as a photographer he probably make very little – he will no doubt be inundated with thousands of ‘opportunities’ to work for free for myriad blogs and online ‘magazines’…. but he will get a credit and will be great for his portfolio/CV !?!?!?!?
    Personally I think they are brilliant images whether or not they were or weren’t ‘photoshopped’ and I get the feeling some reblogger somewhere has misinterpreted what they have read. I can’t imagine someone so talented would risk the wrath of the internet by claiming they were just scans of film.

  • Patrick Huffine

    Meh, tried to delete this and add it to my post below.

  • Patrica Hunt

    I don’t care how it is done…… I want the dresses!!!!!!!!

  • Frank Billue

    Not all of these images say something to me but the second one, the man and veiled woman, whoa! That one has some power.

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    ‘the subject isnt important in photography, only how well you click butan’.

    Look how wrong this guy is. better let Gregory Crewdson know that he is just ‘okay’.

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    Except Gestalt principles are barely a theory, let alone a set of laws that the universe obeys – and so any criticism that takes them a priori is inherently flawed.

    Example: my eye moved through the photo absolutely nothing like you described

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    Some of these are stunning. Regardless of the medium, they are a step above the standard ‘square cropped surrealistic Flickr post on Petapixel’.

  • Peter Smolenski

    Seriously impressive work!!

  • Peter Smolenski

    I love breaking any rule. Makes things more interesting, If everyone followed “the rules” which in my mind there are none in art, things would likely get boring very quickly!


    Petapixel, you have to tone down your post titles.
    At least every two pages, there is a post that contains “amazing”, “awesome”, “gorgeous”, breathtaking”, “stunning” etc, or promises to “blow minds” or whatever else. While few are true to their title, most are simply interesting and some are just…meh.

    This particular post is a good source of inspiration, but I don’t really believe it blew any photographer’s mind.

  • Patrick Huffine

    I never said either of those. However, you are correct, I do think Crewdson’s work is just ‘okay’.

  • Patrick Huffine

    Never heard of Gestalt. Thanks for giving me some new reading material.

  • Patrick Huffine

    I agree!

  • Stunderhill

    These are truly amazing and certainly inspirational

  • SonOfaBeech

    where are the lesbians?!?

  • Hannah BP

    They didn’t use photoshop because it was all done through film, so to edit the photographs you have to use chemicals and all sorts of exposure stuff to edit or effect them, it’s basically what people did before Photoshop. A lot more work though to similar effect. Pretty impressive.