SEGMENT: Florian Maier-Aichen in "Fantasy"

“Photography used to be like alchemy back in the nineteenth century,” says Florian Maier-Aichen, who uses the computer to introduce imperfections and detach his photographs from reality, bringing them closer to the realm of drawing. Shown capturing his source images with a traditional large-format camera, the artist introduces painterly touches to his photographs with the aid of a digital stylus and tablet. “Illustration is just another level of abstracting,” he says, “it lifts you to another layer that is not necessarily linked to realism and it opens up your own world or your own myth-making.” Inspired by the idealized quality of postcards and maps, the segment shows how the artist remakes images of landscapes, from a nostalgic nighttime scene of Stralsund in GDR times to epic vistas such as a pass in the Swiss Alps, ski slopes in the Sierras, Half Dome in Yosemite, and the failed St. Francis Dam near Santa Clarita.