"All of a sudden all hell broke loose. Tear gas was everywhere, we were surrounded by riot police, there were fights, burning banks and buses. It was so surreal." We met the well travelled Danish photographer and talked riots, globe-trotting and Instagram
Could you tell us a little bit about how you got started in photography?
I started back in 2007 when a riot erupted in the Nørrebro district in the heart of Copenhagen. I didn't know how to handle a camera, especially the one I took with me that night. The pictures ended up useless and I don't even have them anymore – they’re lost in a pile of the past somewhere, I guess. Soon after that I bought my first DSLR camera. I took it everywhere, shooting on auto and then posting them on my Myspace account. I did a lot of concert photos back then, and since Myspace was a bit of social platform for musicians it didn't take long before some of the artists started to notice my photography. From there on my photography quickly turned to more than just a hobby.
Whatever happened to Myspace?
WE KNOW YOU TRAVEL QUITE A LOT – COULD YOU TELL US WHERE YOU’VE BEEN TO RECENTLY?
My latest trip was to the Faroe Island (where I did the photo of the H7 headphones that you guys posted on your Instagram).
Before that I visited Luzaka in Zambia, Africa. I was there working for a Danish organisation called Plan Denmark. It was a non-profit related job, where I documented the work that the organisation does in the slums, but I also gave the kids there a small workshop in photography. It was a great experience and I learned a lot from that trip. I'm going back to Africa again with Plan Denmark in February. This time I’ll be going to Sierra Leone – yeah, it's the place where they just had a huge Ebola epidemic.
The third place I’ve recently been to was Italy where I shot the latest Puma campaign for the Italian national football team and their new Level Up campaign – I got to shoot football legends such as Buffon, Verratti, Balotelli and more.
Social media has profoundly changed how images are made and distributed.
How important are channels like this to your work?
I have to admit that Instagram is pretty important to me. It helps my work travel around the world and I get a lot of inspiration from there as well as friends too. But, most of what you see on my account are pictures shot on an everyday basis – I don't post all my work there. I’d rather have people go to my blog where they can see my work on their larger computer screens rather than their tiny phones!
Do you have any personal favourites out of all the pictures you’ve taken?
I guess my favourite is a shot I took while I was in Rio de Janeiro. I was there for a couple weeks to shoot a campaign for Nokia. One of the nights a local resident who I had become friends with told me I should go to a protest being put on by teachers as he thought it would guarantee some good photos. Before I knew it I was marching with the crowd and then all of a sudden all hell broke loose. Tear gas was everywhere, we were surrounded by riot police, there were fights, burning banks and buses. It was so surreal. The shots I got that day are still my faves.
HOW DO YOU SEE PHOTOGRAPHY BEING CHANGED BY INSTAGRAM AND SIMILAR?
I started taking pictures years before Instagram became a photography thing and before photography became a lifestyle. Instagram has done a lot to change photography for the better as well as for the worse. A lot of Instagrammers (I rather call them that, instead of photographers) are just interested in getting likes and copying other people's photos. It's about achieving the same goals and showing others that they have been to the same places as them, or whatever. It kinda loses the value, and the passion is lost in the likings. I'm a member of a Instagram group where all these Instagrammers discuss different matters in the Instagram communities. The things they sometimes talk about makes me want to to hit my head so hard. There’s no heart, no passion, and it can become just about gaining as many likes and followers as possible and forget about the pictures, the things that are really important.
|PHOTOGRAPHY: KENNETH NGUYEN|
Current city: Copenhagen