“What we are is current, both when it comes to what to shoot and how to shoot it.” An Interview with MASKOT.

“What we are is current, both when it comes to what to shoot and how to shoot it.” An Interview with MASKOT.

The ever evolving and forward thinking creative photography agency, MASKOT is not only Sweden’s leading creative agency, they are also pushing boundaries and inspiring many in the creative industry.

Speaking to IMAGO about their creative systems, shootings and how they stay current, MASKOT showcase themselves as a fresh, young and innovative agency in a changing market with many opportunities. 

           “If we do not dare to criticize ourselves we will not stay at the top and we will not be premium.”

Breaking social norms and commenting on changes in society before they hit the mainstream, the agency are constantly criticizing themselves and taking on feedback, pushing for an evermore inclusive direction. Creating a new space within the creative sector through new ideas and ways of working, they are keeping the craft interesting and relevant.

Read the full interview with the exciting creative company below:

As Sweden’s leading creative agency, what can you tell us about MASKOT that we don’t already know?

  • That we have a great team of photographers, videographers and producers all shooting wholly owned material for Maskot while working on a freelance basis in a tight relationship with us.
  • That we have production teams in Stockholm, Berlin and Gothenburg.
  • That we invest an immense amount of time on what to shoot, when it comes to social trends, current styles of photography and new ways of portraying concepts.
IMAGO / MASKOT
Photo: IMAGO / MASKOT

You create and produce all your imagery, what is the creative process? From initial idea to actual photograph or collection, how do you get from point A to Z most effectively?

  • We start with looking at current trends in our society to know what to shoot, at the same time as we analyze our sales data.
  • We’re constantly checking what the latest styles of photography are.
  • We create a board with the shoots to carry out the next six months, with short briefs on what the shoots should be and should contain.
  • We create a detailed storyboard with what to shoot, props, clothes, etc etc.
  • We get the producers going to set up the shoot.
  • We’re having meetings with producers and photographers to get everybody in to the right mindset.
  • We’re carrying out the shoot.
  • The photographer sets the style and look of the images from the shoot.
  • The images leave for India to be keyworded and retouched, for removal of logos etc.
  • The images are going through the final check and maybe some cropping.
  • The images are uploaded to our system for keyword translation and checks.
  • The images are published and sent out to our distribution partners.
IMAGO / MASKOT
Photo: IMAGO / MASKOT

MASKOT photography has a strong sense of identity and visual aesthetic. Does this come from the fact that you have a very strong set of beliefs and a business ethos that you refer back to or not? And what are the MASKOT set of beliefs?

Not really, what we are is current, both when it comes to what to shoot and how to shoot it.

And if we do have rules for production that would be that our images are always supposed to look believable, that the viewer perceives the situation as it happened (or could happen) in real life. This is what we constantly remind ourselves and the people we work with when shooting.

And it is all about working with the right people.

 

You previously mentioned that you want to create honest and inclusive work. What, to you, does aspiring to do things differently mean and why it is important?

For us it is very important to create great images that people can use to communicate what they want to say. We believe that in doing so in a convincing fashion you have to work differently and you have to have good values, otherwise the images will look like ordinary stock or they will not enhance the material of our final users.

IMAGO / MASKOT
Photo: IMAGO / MASKOT
IMAGO / MASKOT
Photo: IMAGO / MASKOT

It mentions on your website that you “dare to think critically”. Can elaborate on this and how it affects the work you create.

What we mean is that we constantly have to question if our values are right and good, or check if our presumptions of things are wrong or unquestioned. We love to get feedback on when we are off the right track or if we misunderstood people or cultures. If we do not dare to criticize ourselves we will not stay at the top and we will not be premium.

How do you think photography and the creative culture/ sector in general can influence the movement of inclusion, gender equality and push boundaries?

By portraying it like we portray everything else. Not to become staged or cliché when portraying new things. Many times we shoot norm breaking stuff long before the market is ready to use it, in that sense we are helping to push the mainstream in a more inclusive direction.

You must orchestrate shootings all over. Where are some of the most memorable places you have shot?

It must have been when shooting in a field late at night outside Palma Mallorca that turned out to be a “pick up place” for night time lovers. Very interesting but hard to carry out the shoot..

IMAGO / MASKOT
Photo: IMAGO / MASKOT
IMAGO / MASKOT
Photo: IMAGO / MASKOT

What one project have you recently worked on that changed your perspective on something?

Every time we shoot a group of teenagers.

How do you select the topics and themes you shoot and how far ahead are they organized? Does the research and organization stage take the longest amount of time?

For sure the research and organization time takes the longest. But also, sometimes, we do quick shoots to get a new trend out really fast, like when we did an outdoor pandemic business shoot last March which took four days from idea to sending it to our distribution channels.

What is the one thing you would change about MASKOT or the creative photography market if you had to?

We try to constantly change and come up with new ideas and ways to work to keep it interesting, so nothing right now. We love that it is a changing market with many opportunities.

IMAGO / MASKOT
Photo: IMAGO / MASKOT
IMAGO / MASKOT
Photo: IMAGO / MASKOT

Browse MASKOT‘s photography on IMAGO or visit their Website and Instagram.

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