Interview: Hogabo Photography (Sweden)
Can you tell us a little about you?
I’m a deaf artist from south of Sweden. I and my husband Freddi has recently moved to an old wool factory where we are building studios and areas for our artistic works. In this big, old factory we have painters, designers and glass worker as neighbors — so we are very excited about our future life and creative opportunities here.
How and when did you get into photography?
I started to photograph 9 years ago. Back then I had different paths in life I thought about following — but I tried out photography and it was very satisfying. In one way the photographing part of me slowly grown in to me — and still are — and in one way it was an instant transformation. I felt what photography could do for me and what I could do with photography, and after that I stopped trying other paths in life. To photograph was in one way all my different paths merging in to one. This is what I was supposed to do.
What does photography mean to you?
It means a lot of things. It’s my deepest way of expressing me. It’s a way to understand myself and the world around me. It’s a kind of mirror I use to see myself thru others eyes, in the same way they can see them self thru my eyes. It’s like shield to protect myself from reality and pain. And a way to get past the mask of people that might hurt me.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I photograph like painter paint. A Japanese painter who can do a painting with only a few brush strokes. It’s rarely I change something in the end. I photograph on instinct, and during a session I take a lot of photos. I rarely know what I want until I tried a lot of different things. Like clothes, you try on — it’s when you see it on you know if it works. I realize things with myself during the photo shots.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Mainly from my own emotions. And I feel very strongly for everything. It’s my way to cope with my feelings without breaking.
And then of course: everything else. I constantly look at pictures, paintings, graphics, artists, the nature — to get inspired. But the inspiration always has to go thru my emotions before they become my own creations. Sometimes I try to copy a picture or painting to practice — but it always ends up as something completely different. I even have trouble to copy myself as I always want to move forward. A concept is a development. Trying out, se what works.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
I can have a theme, props and clothes done in advance — and have an idea... But even if I try to work with that idea, it never turns up like I thought. It’s like an exploration. When I get the in the mood with the models a momentum appear and stuff happens. When I don't get in the mood with the models, other stuff happens. And that can actually be interesting to.
My art is instant art. It sup rice myself sometimes.
Studio, on location or both?
Locations, locations, locations.
Everything that takes planning and firm borders are minimizing my creativity.
We got two studios and set of flashes, but we rarely use them. I always plan to spend some time in the studio and dive into light settings, backgrounds and all that stuff — but as long as the nature is out there it's hard to.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I’m a paid professional. My art isn't commercial. Which means I don’t earn much money? Sometimes nothing at all. But this isn't my hobby. This is my life.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
One time in Milan, between two locations, in Meli Melopolis little apartment, we took a break between two sessions and two locations. It was very hard conditions for a photo shoot: small place, sharp shadows — but a very friendly cat and two great art nude models. One twice as big as the other. And we started to play with the sizes and proportions. Both are perfect — but very big different in size. And the pictures aren't technical perfect in any way. We had no light other than from the roof and the window. And nothing to reflect the light. Just the cameras and the models. That series of pictures was both vulgar and intense. And we had so much fun.
I and Freddi always photograph together, except this time. Freddi was on his way to get an agency model from Elite Models in Milan. But this wasn't supposed to happen. It wasn't planed. But it happened anyway. Instead, the third model on the set grabbed a camera and made Freddis job as a second photographer.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Nikon. We have two D750 and an old D800 that now is retired. For underwater shoots we have a couple of (Nikon) Coolie. Small and very easy to use. I think the best camera you can have for underwater shoots without investing in big underwater houses to the big cameras.
I have no favorite lens. Lenses are like most of the technical equipment. I want it to work well, but have no knowledge or interest in it above that.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
That depends on what kind of business they want to start. If they — like me — want to look for emotions and relations my advice is to bring the camera to uncomfortable situations. To grasp with the camera for the pictures like a blind grasp to get around. To dare to not succeed.
But first of all its important photographers think about what they want from their photographing. If you’re in it for the money, don't do art. Or don't photograph at all.
What do you think of our new magazine?
It looks real classy and I’m glad you asked me to participate.