"In his photographs, Simen Johan explores darkly the human proclivity towards fantasy and our attempts, knowing or otherwise, to craft alternate realities for ourselves." ...I'm leaning towards "otherwise." When I went back and reread the artist blurb about Simen Johan, I immediately recognized how eloquently the author of these words glazed over the fact that Simen Johan has yet to figure out what his art is about.
As intrigued as I was by his images, and impressed as I read about their constructed nature, I felt painfully let down by Johan's inability to speak about the content of his work. He could hardly connect the theme of one image to another within a single series and seemed to be driven completely and purely by aesthetics. This may have been sufficient 10 years ago, but as Paul pointed out at the beginning of the semester, in today's world when everyone has a high quality digital camera and Photoshop, you damn well better have something significant to say about your photography. Maybe, as an internationally exhibiting artist who doesn't always get the chance to explain his work to every audience, it is a blessing that the images are much more engaging on their own, before Johan has a chance to explain that there really is nothing going on behind the work.