Anne Sofie Eriksson / Member Interview
I am Norwegian by birth but have spent most of my grown up life in Sweden where I live today with my family.
Before taking up photography I was very much into literature and am now surprised and fascinated to discover how much the stories and settings of classical literature have influenced and inspired me to study the world through photography.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I cannot point out an exact source of inspiration, like a person or a special event, I have just always had this fascination with what can be seen when looking at things through a camera and what will be captured. Guess it is a kind of curiosity, a feeling of not wanting to miss out on the secrets of the world.
Tell us about your first photo that really validated your interest as a photographer.
The photographic style that I first became fascinated by was long exposure, which meant I spent quite a lot of time trying to master the art of creating dreamy waterscapes. That period happened to coincide with winter, which is very cold here in Sweden. I have this very vivid memory of timing a series of two minutes’ exposures in minus ten degrees Celsius accompanied by an icy wind. When I was done I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore and had to open the clasps of my tripod legs with my teeth when I was packing up to leave. But the satisfaction of getting the shot I was after made it all worthwhile.
Back when you were just starting out, what was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome that?
What do you enjoy photographing the most?
Cityscapes and city scenes have a special place in my heart. The architecture, the people and the city lights seems to me so timeless and a never ending source of visual interest.
What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
Having photos published in Time Out and BuzzFeed is something that I am really proud and truly happy
about - the fact that my photos have reached so many people.
Another thing, on a totally different scale, was the ninety year old lady who had got herself an iPad and told me she used to look at my nature photos as the last thing she did before going to bed every night. She was definitely not religious, she said, but told me that looking at those photos instilled in her the same peace of mind as would an evening prayer.
How do you feel photography has impacted the way you see the world?
Photography has impacted the way I see the world in a very concrete way. I have, quite literally, developed a wider perspective. I look up at the sky trying to analyze light, clouds and colours. I look out over the landscape or cityscape to find lines and pleasing proportions. I study perspectives and details. I turn around and look back to see how things look from the other direction. All this also means I have slowed down as I realize there is always lots to see and things I might miss if I do not look carefully.
What is your best photography related tip?
My best tip would be to try to find and keep to the kind of photography that really gets you going, the
kind of photography that makes you eager to find out what you will be able to create.
Do not choose a style because it is popular; choose it because it is you. And if your tire of one style, if your interest changes, make sure to follow that feeling at least to some degree.
Without that spark photography is nothing and you will communicate nothing.
What would you like for people take away from your work?
I love it when people discover something new through my photos, something they haven’t been aware of before. Either something they haven’t seen or noticed or something they haven’t known. It’s not that I like to teach people things, but rather that I myself appreciate photography because of what I get to know and learn to see through this activity, and I love to be able to pass on the same experience to others.
What are some ‘must have’ items in your camera bag?
I would actually like to mention the bag itself. I have a very simple and discreet shoulder bag that is not making a big deal about what is inside. This makes it easy to blend into various kinds of environments and to bring the camera even if I’m going places where photography is not necessarily on the general agenda.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what is the ONE photography book you would want to have with you?
I would want to have Women by Annie Leibovitz. I have just started to take an interest in portraiture and the book consists of a most wonderful collection of portraits of the most varying kinds. Apart from being able to study this extraordinary photographer’s work, by bringing this book I would also have all these interesting women to keep me company on my deserted island.
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