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Andreas Bergström Travels with my Camera

September 30, 2012

I first met Andreas Bergström 9 years ago, on a trek, half way up a glacier, on the south island of New Zealand, (ahem) as you do !  Since then we’ve kept in touch via email and as he’s quite a keen traveller, it’s been the easiest way to keep track of his whereabouts. I’ve given up counting the number of countries he’s been to, but I couldn’t help noticing as the years went by, how skilled he was as a photographer when documenting his journeys. I twisted his arm into letting us have a peek at some of his amazing images and answering some questions along the way.

Can you tell me a little about yourself, what you do and how you define your work ?
I studied music and I’ve been playing drums for about twenty years, I also play guitar and some other instruments. I studied philosophy at University and I like to go traveling when I can – which is about once a year. Photography is something I got interested in relatively recently. I have never tried to define what I do as a photographer, I try and take pictures that in some way or another are interesting to me. I know what I don’t want, and I go from there – trying to better my composition, moods and technique as I go along.
When did you first get interested in photography ?
 I remember when I was young, I enjoyed playing around with my father’s cameras, taking pictures on summer holidays and family gatherings and such, something he very much encouraged me to do. At that point photography was not a serious interest, it was just a bit of fun. It wasn’t really until many years later, when I bought a small point-and-shoot camera to document my travels that I realised I enjoyed taking pictures, not just to document where I’ve been, but the framing of a shot and composition and the rest of it. It was quite exciting, I felt like I accidentally stumbled across an interest that I didn’t know I had. A couple of years later, my 30th birthday was coming up, and I suggested to my family that they could sponsor me in buying a “real” camera. Which thankfully they did. I think the time spent playing around with my dad’s cameras as a child helped me in the sense that it demystified the camera as an object for me, I never felt that I had to treat it with great reverence – it’s there to be played with. Before I bought that digital compact camera I had relied on my mom’s, not so digital, but non the less, smallish camera. I had that camera for years and I had about  twenty-five rolls of film that I never developed until a few years ago. Some of them pictures were not that bad it turns out. So I suppose the short answer would be: when I was around twenty-eight, or four years ago.

Do you take images purely out of interest in capturing an event or scene or as a narrative to show others what you have seen ?
When I’m shooting I usually don’t think about someone else seeing the photos. I just try and create an interesting image for the sake of my own amusement. There is usually a thought behind my photos, but it is not always something I can articulate. At the end of the day I take photos for my own sake and I try not to be burden with thoughts of what other people might want to see. If someone else later on appreciates what I’ve done it’s just a bonus. But of course, when I select the pictures I want to show for others, it is very possible that thoughts of “look where I have been” seeps in. But obviously, in this context I’m talking about the photos that I put some sort of artistic thought or vision into. Like most people I also take pictures for the sole purpose of reminding my future self of people that I meet, places that I visit or events. Or sometimes just to documenting something when I’m too drunk to remember it lol.

Some of his tranquil landscapes.

Who would you say has influenced you artistically ?
Although I like to go to photo exhibits and I like to surf the web, to say that this artist or that artist has influenced me more than any other would be somewhat pretentious. I do of course get inspired and influenced by other peoples photos and style, but it is on a photo to photo basis. And a photograph that inspires me is just as likely to be found on some “amateur” art student’s blog, as it is in the art gallery. There are so many talented people around. If I had to pick one person who has inspired me it would probably be my long time friend Daniele. He has this innate and seemingly effortless sense of composition and aesthetics that I find both enviable and encouraging.
You have a keen eye for detail and know how to frame an image perfectly, did you have any formal training in photography or arts related subjects or does this talent stem from somewhere else ?
When I studied music I took an optional photography class for one semester – which I barely managed to pass. Rightly so because I was absolutely rubbish. That is as far as my formal photography training goes.
He’s as proficient when documenting people as he is with animals.
I like the fact that he will sometimes be the subject matter in his work too.
He knows a good tropical hideaway or two !  I like the way the beach cave and shadow look like the head of a monster about to eat it’s wandering visitors.
Whether it’s the calm of the lakeside or the buzz of a crazy city, he’s been there with his camera.
Do you have any plans to show your work in any other formats ie gallery, books etc?
If the opportunity presents itself I might, but it is not something a strive towards. At least not at the moment.
Any thing else you’d like to add ?
 It’s not rocket science. People have too much respect for their cameras. Play around with it and have fun.
Thanks Andreas for letting us share this.  Beautiful work, don’t you think ?
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