For visual artists, the whole world is their canvas. These visionary creators have the ability to make anything within their realm of their own imagination come to life, whether it’s through painting, sculpture, or stunning photographs.

These ten breathtaking paintings, however, are so impressive that they might make you do a double take…because they’re not paintings at all! They’re actually photographs so lush and detailed that it’s hard to believe they didn’t come from an artist’s paintbrush. Just take a look…

While scenic rolling hills are a common subject of paintings, a close inspection of this work of art reveals that these hills are very real. The photograph by Michael Brandt depicts the landscape near the Tekoa Mountain, as seen from Steptoe Butte.


Photographer Andre Ermolaev gives us a bird’s eye view of volcanic rivers flowing through sand in Iceland as they enter the ocean.


James and Kelly Stone teamed up to bring us this photo of trees lining the dunes of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The coloration of the dunes is what makes them appear as if they are painted.


The story behind this Jianan Yu photograph, which appears to be a man attempting to row through a river of paint, is actually quite sad. It depicts the heavily polluted Chaohu Lake in Anhui province, Taiwan.


This appears to be a painting of a foggy mountain top, but it’s actually a snapshot that its photographer, Chaluntorn Preeyasombat, calls Clearing Storm. It depicts the Huangshan Mountain in Anhui, China, after a night of snow.


You could swear that this image is an oil painting of a beautiful wave. In fact, it is a photo captured by David Orias on a California morning, using a telephoto lens with long exposures.


Denis Collette himself admits that his photograph is similar to paintings of Van Gogh, Riopelle, and Monet. It depicts reflections of nature in a river near a cottage where he lives.


Perhaps the most impressive thing about Barbara Cole’s painting-like photograph is that it was done using Polaroid film. The artist said, “I manipulated the surface image to add dimension and introduce a painterly quality I loved.”


The best way to describe this surrealistic photograph taken in Nambia is to let the photographer Frans Lanting explain it himself: “It was made at dawn when the warm light of the morning sun was illuminating a huge red sand dune dotted with white grasses while the white floor of the clay pan was still in shade. It looks blue because it reflects the color of the sky above. … I used a long telephoto lens and stopped it all the way down to compress the perspective.”


Once picked as the photo of the day by National Geographic, Oscar Ruiz’s photograph showing a portion of Mexico City was taken from a helicopter. As he recalls: “The exceptional afternoon sun reflecting those thousands of recently painted small homes just looked so beautiful, and the lower I flew the better the angle, so I just got out my camera, opened the sliding window on my Bell helicopter, and snapped a couple of shots.”


Now these are some works of art that definitely deserve a second look!

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