You recently wrote that the pandemic has dramatically impacted the way and style in which you work. Could you tell us more about how you have adapted your craft?
The pandemic has been a really interesting experience for me, it coincided with the arrival of my first child so given that work has all dried up across Europe I enjoyed some down time away from cameras with my family. I was still engaging in photography, looking at the work of photographers that inspire me and exploring new ideas. The breathing space that the pandemic created allowed me to re-evaluate what work I wanted to be creating and I started to focus on producing work I wanted to whilst I had time. In turn this was really well received by my clients, who then started to inquire about doing shoots that had a similar aesthetic. I’m shooting much more on film, both 35mm and large format (5×4). I have placed much more emphasis on people and portraits which now seems to be the work I’m being booked for. My process is much slower and considered than it was previously, focusing on creating a narrative and shooting less, but much more consistently. I have more confidence in my own personal work and how I create it which I feel now reflects into my commercial work.
Your most recent work, the portraits of athletes, is a beautiful, still documentation of people affected by COVID 19. What drew you to telling the stories of athletes?
The Covid outbreak was this unbelievable change of everyday life for so many, I started to see some great work from photographers around the world documenting this but primarily showing it from an everyday person’s perspective. This is of course really important to document but I didn’t want to follow in someone else’s footsteps, at the time Sweden was also getting some negative press as it didn’t lock down. I felt people were maybe viewing Sweden with envy as Swedes were still, to a point, able to go about daily life but a lot of the media outside of Sweden was falsely representing what the situation really was. Sweden hadn’t locked down, but the pandemic still had a negative impact on many people’s lives. I wanted to show that but in a way that reflected my work and allowed me to push myself to create work I want to create rather than to fulfill a brief.
I’ve worked with pro athletes for a number of years now and I have come to understand the mental toll it can take of them, both positive and negative. To be a professional athlete and perform at the highest level it takes a lot more than just being good at a sport, its many hours of dedication and mental stamina too. This is often overlooked when those outside of the sports world look in at those performing. I have become friends with some elite/pro athletes based near my home town and after conversations with them I decided this should be something that the outside world should hear about. I was a bit worried it could be seen as a bit controversial being based here in Sweden and going out to shoot but we all kept to the government’s guidelines managing to shoot in a safe manner and I actually delayed the release of the project as it didn’t feel right at the time. As the second wave hit I felt it could be something to inspire those who had taken up sport during the first lock down to continue.. Thankfully the project was well received and seen in a positive light, as intended.