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This photographer turns Toronto into a fantasy land on Instagram

Toronto might not have a roller coaster running through it or be located amidst a snow-capped mountain range, but for one local photographer, nothing's impossible when it comes to reimagining the city.

Ethan Hunt, who goes by @phantamos on Instagram, has nearly 50,000 followers on his feed filled with surreal, fantastical depictions of Toronto.

Hunt, who's originally from Lima, Peru, started drawing and later got into Photoshop after his brother introduced him to the Adobe program back in the early 2000s. He says he's entirely self-taught and now uses it, along with Lightroom, to bring his creations to life.

“I feel like every picture I take, I’m seeing something. Like I feel like I’m a movie director at that point,” he says of his process.

Many of his photographs blend reality with fiction, and he likes to make people think about whether his pieces are real or not.

However, he doesn't like the term “manipulation,” to describe what he does. “I just call it digital art because that’s what it is,” he says.

“I know, I get it because it’s being manipulated and tampered with and whatnot, but if you really look at it, it’s art at the end of the day. It’s not something you’re forging or creating something illegal.”

To get some of his most dramatic shots, Hunt does rooftopping in and around the Financial District; he also likes to take photos outside of the city in Niagara Falls. And he often adds elements such as birds, bats, lighting and tornados to these images.

While some of his pieces can get a little dark, he also likes chasing sunrises and sunsets.

When he's not shooting, Hunter does marketing and graphic design for Coffee Club Canada. But in his downtime, he makes sure to carve out time to get creative.

“I do everything like it’s possible," he says. “There’s no I can’t with the way I create.”

Lead photo by

Ethan Hunt


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