Flip Side: Sideways-Shooting Photographer Turns Worlds on End

Just looking at these optical illusions by conceptual artist Philippe Ramette might give you a bit of vertigo. Without the use of Photoshop or any other image manipulation, Ramette seems to shift the perspective of the earth, turning it sideways or upside down. In his photos, Ramette dangles from cliffs, walks up stone walls and stands on balconies that jut out, improbably, from the surface of the sea.

But as the artist himself points out, if you look closely, you will see signs that all is not as it appears. “You see a tension in my hands, my red face is far from serene as the blood rushes to it, my suit is ruffled.” Ramette explores themes of gravity and man’s relationship to the landscape in his works, turning the earth into a strange playground where virtually anything is possible.

Of course, it’s more fun to simply enjoy the images and not worry about how they were created, marveling instead at the way they shift us off balance, looking at the world in a new way. But if you just can’t stand not knowing how it’s done, read on.

The perspective of these photos is chosen very carefully for reasons other than aesthetics: the angle must hide Ramette’s metal supports, which he calls “sculpture-structures.” Attached to the surface upon which he appears to stand are bars, seats or metal rings hidden by his suit.