Erik Johansson, a Swede living in Berlin, is a full time photographer and "retoucher". I love how that is now an official job title. :) How many hours did I spend tweaking and retouching photos in Photoshop back in my teens... too bad I didn't stick with it!
I will admit that I'm not a fan of typical retouched photos. I feel like it's not fair to take a picture of a lake and transform it into something it's not. To me, that's what retouching has become; "enhancing" a photo to the point of falsity.
However, Erik's work is just absolutely incredible. He is a master at his craft of turning a photograph into something it's not, and on purpose.
Here's a behind-the-scenes video followed by the finished product:
And to top it all off, Erik did a great Ted Talk in London in 2011:
*Discovered on Illusion
**Photos from Erik Johansson