Something fascinating happens when you put two things next to each other that otherwise exist on different planes.
And that’s exactly what makes artist Stephen McMennamy’s work so great. By combining images into thought-provoking compositions, he gives new life to everyday objects. Donuts and bulldozers suddenly feel interesting and new when one starts pushing the other. The reality of fast food hits like a truck when french fries are stuffed into a cigarette box.
While some mashups make clear comments about the items of which they’re composed, others just bring the humor. In any case, they’re as intriguing as they are entertaining.
grapes + balloon unfortunately I’ve been a little too busy lately to shoot any of the to-do #combophotos on my list. so let’s throw it back to this 1 of 3 from my balloon + food series. #TBT
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 14k likes
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 18.3k likes
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 12.2k likes
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 18k likes
jalapeño + lipstick 🌶💄 hot lips. can’t stop, won’t stop with the jalapeños. at this point it’s kind of hard for me to ignore those little shiny red peppers at the grocery store. every time I pass by, I stop and examine the latest crop. always interested in the most interesting/usable shapes and the elusive perfect green stem. they’re my new banana, but I’ll put the brakes on and find a new obsession. thanks to all the drugstore employees that took me in, without judgment, and accepted me for all my random lipstick purchases. a different interpretation of this idea over on @combophotofail. #combophoto
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TBT: fries + smokes 🍟🚬 I posted this almost two years ago. it was during the very intermittent, somewhat sloppy, early days of #combophotos, but I still consider this one of my all time favorites. a lot of my older images need to be reshot for various reasons, but this one held up pretty well.
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flowers & hand + tree 💐✋🏻🌳 here’s a little early Mother’s Day for Earth Day. and #tbt to 4.543 billion years ago when we got this whole party started. thanks Los Angeles for your cool trees conveniently located near my hotel… and for your blinding sunrise, which did a nice job accentuating the paleness of my skin (I had to shave my burly wrist for this one). #mothersday #earthday #combophoto
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 13.5k likes
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 36.8k likes
yellow calla lily + banana 🌼🍌 just matching up colors and shapes. the #combophoto bin is lacking on seasonally appropriate images so I put this one together to get the spring vibe going.
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 11.4k likes
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 13k likes
46 balloons + chairlift 🎈🚡 perhaps the most impractical/fun chairlift ever? once again, balloons proved to be the usual pain in the butt. I kept an eye on the weather for a while before getting the ideal conditions of clear skies and low wind. on meteorological paper you could say I got both, but the slightest breeze wreaks all sorts of havoc on balloons. what you see here was an early (and fortuitous) shot, by the end of this brief, early morning shoot, strings were tangled up like one big balloon dreadlock. check out the wind blown twisted mess over on @combophotofail. I started with 50 balloons and a small helium tank… only four popped during their transport from my kitchen to my favorite parking deck, hence the 46. R.I.P. 🎈🎈🎈🎈. oh and between us, I yell at balloons almost every time I shoot them. yell like a crazy person. not a fan. I fell better now. #combophoto @jasonsmithatl, I started down the helicopter path based on your suggestion, but this is where I ended up. I tried.
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 12.3k likes
☁️⚡️golden shower⚡️☁️ cotton stuffing + gold necklaces. this quickly turned into one of those “long walk for a ham sandwich” situations. I started out trying to photograph a gold shower head, but reflective surfaces are a total pain to shoot. I ended up rigging a little photo booth to eliminate all the reflections, but the whole thing looked kinda illustrated in a weird way. I was ready to bail on it, but a cauliflower cloud by @aravisdolmenna caught my eye, which ultimately helped me land on the cloud idea. there was a lot of prep and planning on the front end, but total spontaneity on the back end. as I started shooting yet another shower head, I threw the cotton cloud in as a “let’s see what happens” and I liked what happened. see the failed attempts over on @combophotofail. #combophoto
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 12.7k likes
lightbulb + egg 💡🐓 R.I.P. to all the eggs lost on this one. I welcome all clever/punny commentary. #combophoto
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 17.6k likes
yellow paint + yellow squash more experimentation with “synthetic meets organic.” technical note: I used a toothpick to suspend the squash slices. and there’s a not-all-that-interesting outtake on @combophotofail. #combophoto
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 8,105 likes
green paint + daylily more messing around with paint. alternate shot over on @combophotofail #combophoto
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 8,866 likes
UPDATE: as most of you saw when this was originally posted, I put it to a vote between two different plane tails. the results are posted over at @combophotofail. thanks again to all that participated. seagull + airplane the seagull was taken on the Santa Monica pier and the airplane (I think it’s a MD90 or MD88) was taken at the Hertz rental car return lot at LAX. both locations have pretty great vantage points if you’re looking to capture the undercarriage of flying animals or machines. more #combophoto’s ⬅️ here. #vscocam #seagull #airplane #MD90 #MD88 #avgeek #layout #combophotos
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 4,048 likes
excavator + ice cream scoop 🚧🍦 construction equipment colliding with desert equipment… again. more #combophoto’s ⬅️ here. #excavator #chocolate #icecream #scoop #vscocam #combophotos
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 2,810 likes
ferris wheel + bike 🎡🚲 @skyviewatl shot taken with the drone a while back. I finally found a bike to match. thanks to @peachtreebikes for letting my shoot your single track. more #combophoto’s ⬅️ here. #ferriswheel #bike #singletrack #layout #vscocam #weloveatl #combophotos
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 2,051 likes
jackhammer + pogo stick. I got a hold of a jackhammer… and a pogo stick. had no idea jackhammers weigh a thousand lbs. I also had no idea how bad I was at jumping on a pogo stick. I’m pretty sure they aren’t designed to support the weight of a grown ass 42 year old man. I added an outtake on @combophotofail. always more #combophoto’s ⬅️ here. #jackhammer #pogostick #vscocam #layout #combophotos
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 2,128 likes
tomato + boxing glove I stole/borrowed @moloeb’s boxing glove for this one. and I bought/purchases the tomato at a bodega up the street. and thus we have tomato/glove. this one kinda doesn’t make sense to me, but I think that’s why I like it. more #combophoto’s ⬅️ here. #combophotos
See this Instagram photo by @smcmennamy * 4,254 likes