“When the light falls in a certain way and I have my camera on me to document it, I feel lucky - lucky to be at the right place, at the right time. Because light is an element of chance, and when you find it, it can make an image feel magical.”
You define yourself as a photographer and visual story teller, but your work has expanded in many ways through different projects. Could you let us know about your practice?
I often pause when asked to put a label on my creative practice. The truth is I don't truly identify myself with any one category. My work is interdisciplinary and idea-driven. If I am presented with an assignment or idea, that requires me to learn a new skill, I will do so. It thrills me to work that way. It is less predictable and more dynamic, which are the key elements for a thriving creative mind.
How would you define creativity?
To me, creativity means to be driven. It’s a commitment to an idea and trusting it, even when you feel it might lead you into unknown territories. It’s surrendering to your thoughts, mapping them and eventually connecting the dots. I am the happiest when I am creative, and I’ve found it to be a place that I seldom leave. But in truth, I view creativity as something very tangible that is obtainable, rather than a skill or mindset available to the few.
And how do you cultivate inspiration?
I try to continue expanding my skill set, learning new things and force myself to ‘do’ instead of overthink. Because taking action and ‘doing’ inspires me, and it often sheds a new light upon things that I’ve previously been stuck on. Also travelling is an unmistakable source of inspiration for me. I am much more observant when I am exploring new places. My senses are sharpened and I am more inspired to keep looking, capturing and succumbing to the moment.
Has nature always been a subject for you?
Ever since I studied landscape architecture, nature has been my preferred subject to photograph. My studies taught me to observe landscape, vegetation and urbanisation in a scientific and meaningful manner. Spending countless hours documenting and registering landscapes started to shape the way I looked at sceneries. And as a result, I like to believe that my photographic work has a certain honesty and rawness to their quality.
What is the most important thing for you when photographing landscapes?
I find that a photographer is the link between "what happened" and "what is perceived”. It is therefore extremely important for me to be very much present in the now, when photographing. It’s all about connecting with a place, reading it and embracing the stories it wants to tell you. It makes for a better visual translation between what is experienced and the photographic outcome. Also, shifting between micro and macro, portraying both the whole scenery and details, tells a better visual story. It is as if playing with scale can help ‘humanise’ a place, which makes you feel more connected.
You’re based in Copenhagen. How would you say the Scandinavian light and landscape have influenced your aesthetics?
Living up North makes light a treasured resource. We grow up with large Southern facing bay windows, in the home, in schools and even in public institutions. All of them serve the same purpose; to catch as much of the frail winter light as possible. This kind of cultural obsession with light has, without a doubt, informed my work, but by focusing on the almost opposite, namely shadows. Shadows help navigate the eye towards where the light hits, and I’ve found that an image can be totally altered by the interplay of light. Sometimes, shadows are the more interesting aspect to capture. And because light is so elusive and something that can’t be controlled, I find that chasing light is an eternal quest, that never offers a final answer. Light just makes photographing really exciting! And it keeps me alert. When the light falls in a certain way and I have my camera on me to document it, I feel lucky - lucky to be at the right place, at the right time. Because light is an element of chance, and when you find it, it can make an image feel magical.
Your attention to detail, the way you capture textures and colours, there’s always an intriguing calmness in your pictures, don’t you think?
I often hear the words "your photos convey a certain calmness" and I take it as a compliment. But I believe composition and framing is key. I aim for pleasing compositions, where all noise has been eliminated. It reaches back into my scientific background where a photo aims to display an essence of, say, a landscape. By framing and creating balance, you guide the eye to what really matters and that is why I believe my work is sometimes perceived as calm.
How would you define beauty?
Something that moves you and leaves you craving more.
What is that object that you treasure the most?
Although I would say that I am a person who is very attached to objects, I can’t narrow it down to one object only. I treasure any object with a story or that which triggers a certain happy memory. There are pieces of jewellery that have been gifted by people in my life whom I love deeply and of course I treasure those. But then I also have this weird, little object, that I found in the river Thames in London. I have no idea what it is, where it comes from or how it ended up there, and ultimately - how it ended up with me. I still cannot pinpoint why this completely useless object holds so much importance, but it somehow must be related to how and when it entered my life. It brings me to a mental space of the past. And I guess I like how its story will remain a mystery. Forever.
And what about a landscape? What is that place that you always want to go back to?
Most people might answer their childhood home or summer cottage, places connected to memories. But I’ve moved a lot during both my childhood and adult life, which has left my memories spread across Europe rather than centralised in one place. For that reason, I consider myself resilient and very adaptable when it comes to place. I feel like I have this ability to very quickly connect with new scenery, which consequently makes it easier for me to find these ‘essences’ I have talked about throughout this interview. Regardless, my Nordic heritage has made me especially drawn to Swedish forests, the Scottish Highlands and the Danish coast, which thus also seems to be places I often return to.
Pictures and words by Anne-Sophie Rosenvinge