Janne and I met and bonded over a shared love of music when we were teenagers, and we have kept in touch since. Throughout the years she has always inspired me with her creativity. Her education is in art history, and in addition to photography her hobbies include costume making. I asked her to share with us some thoughts about her approach to photography. -Jenny
I’m not the kind of person you want to go on holiday with. I’m fun enough, and I join you in your activities if you wanna visit this bizarre little museum or eat at just that restaurant. But I’m a compulsive photographer. I stop at every corner, and in the middle of a conversation you might get the feeling I zoom out. I AM listening, I promise. I just see something I need to capture.
Positively though, you’ll get a whole album of photos of yourself in front of every monument.
Some years ago I got the Hipstamatic app for my phone. It’s the kind of app originally made to conceal how bad mobile phone cameras were. They’re saturated, over-contrasted and vintage looking to the max. The photos are also square, which is a formate I’ve come to prefer.
What separates Hipstamatic from the lot is that the app chooses the exact cut of the photo. When you think you’ve centered the subject, it moves it to the right. I’ve become more creative that way. Or – the app forces me to be more creative.
After having taken some 10,000 photos and uploaded maybe 1/50th of them online, I started looking through them. What I saw kinda scared me. My photos were so absent of people. Few or no people, a couple of animals, but mostly buildings, landscapes and details.
After that I started taking more photos of people. The problem with this, though, is that I always feel like asking people before putting their photo online or using it in other contexts. And then it’s so much hazzle. So I’m doing the thing in between – I photograph people, but often in such a way that they’re not recognizable. This way I still feel free to use the photos.
Like all photographers I’m obsessed with light. I love it when a low morning or evening light creates the perfect feeling of depth, or when sunlight is filtered through the trees in just the perfect way.
Another thing I like is to try and capture movement. When you sense a movement in a depiction, you’ll try to follow the direction of the movement. If someone stretches out to grab something, you’ll automatically try to understand what they’re trying to grab. If someone is about to do something, like blowing soap bubbles, your mind automatically imagine the bubbles. I love photographing what is about to happen instead of what happens.
I also like to get close. This is probably the forte of the mobile app cameras. They can make everything look interesting. But I like the focus it gives in a photo. One detail can tell more than the whole subject.
That said, Hipstamatic also works surprisingly well on landscapes.
Hipstamatic, Instagram and the likes are seen as cheating by some. This is a point of view I understand. Taking genuinely good photos with a basic camera is its own craft. You can’t hide behind lots of effects. At the same time it’s the same “building stones” that makes a photography interesting. Overlappings, depth, a vision, an interesting moment. If you don’t have this, no amount of fun lenses and saturated colours can make up for it. Not in the long run, anyway.
Hipstamatic has several “lenses”, “film rolls” and flashes. You can mix and match at will. I’ve never gotten further than the basic pack, it’s really all I need. My favourite is probably John S lense and Kodot XGrizzled film. Jimmy lense with Blanko film is also very nice. The film “Ina 1969” is also nice for capture blonde summer moments.
First and foremost, Hipstamatic is fun. It might not document life exactly how it looked, but it documents how it felt. And when looking through the photos the feeling comes back.
Thank you Janne for sharing with us! I love the idea of photographing what is about to happen, and I certainly sympathise with the issue of wanting to photograph people without violating their privacy – I’m sure that’s something many of us struggle with.
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