In Until the Kingdom Comes—the ongoing series that he began in 2006—Simen Johan creates a natural world that is, at one and the same time, familiar and uncanny. The images are amusing, sweet, clever, mysterious, foreboding. His oversized photographs depict animals at nearly life size, increasing the sense of verisimilitude and often engendering a sense of awe at the viewer’s “face-to-face” encounter with the animal.
Johan photographs animals in zoos and farms, occasionally employing taxidermy and road kill. Uncanny elements may be captured during shooting—as in his image of a lamb that sits upright like a dog, taken with the aid of a farmer who held the animal in position while the image was shot—or created through the use of Photoshop.
Striving to “confuse the boundaries between opposing forces, such as the familiar and the otherworldly, the natural and the artificial, the amusing and the eerie,” Johan mixes sweet images appropr