Stephen McMennamy is an American photographer who has fun on Instagram combining stuff unrelated to each other to create weird and whimsical images. What McMennamy does is something fairly simple, but then again also enormously entertaining and fascinating to look at.
He takes two separate images and combines them into one, but these images are usually of no relation whatsoever to each other. What one can concede McMennamy has is an extremely imaginative and fertile mind. What kind of mind, anyway does one have if you see a factory exhaust stack as a cigarette, a Swiss knife with full sized tools, a bird that is half airplane, or a fire hydrant that is also an aerosol can?
This writer’s attempt to describe what McMennamy does, for sure, does not even come close to approximating what he creates in pictures. Collectively, he calls them combophotos, and very aptly so. Nothing escapes the creative eye of McMennamy, whether it be natural or man-made objects, mature or adult subject matter, sublime or ridiculous. If McMennamy sees the chance for a ‘combophoto’, he does his magic.
At first glance, the images may look like surreal, bizarre visuals that could only be the product of dreamlike thoughts. They are actually the result of a much simpler process. It is not clear how much Photoshop wizardry takes place in the creation of this series, but the point is, they look exceedingly believable.
For every photograph, McMennamy skillfully shoots two images and ingeniously arranges them side-by-side to produce imaginative, but often inexplicable new scenes. “It’s really just from looking around and seeing what things are out in the world might make for an interesting fit or what would make for a nice contrast once combined,” McMennamy said.
“As far as process, it’s just a matter of me hunting things down and aiming for the cleanest shot possible.” The art director says he looks for simple backgrounds that permit the viewers’ eyes to concentrate on the combinations. Many of the photos were photographed in his garage, while others were shot by the side of the road. “Wherever I need to get my shot I go get it,” he said.
Surprisingly, some of the early images in the #combophoto collection were shot using an iPhone, but McMennamy recently bought a dedicated camera to improve the quality of the images, more especially since combophoto has gained some amount of attention. For aerial images he also occasionally uses a drone to get that special up-in-the sky perspective. McMennamy takes outwardly ordinary, unconnected images and fuses them together to create an entertaining project for us to enjoy.