Artist of the Month interview – Anne Sofie Eriksson
Tell us briefly about yourself (where you’re from, age, education, jobs in the past or currently, hobbies besides art, pets, music) I was born and grew up in Norway, but have been living in Sweden for most of my adult life. When I first came to Stockholm as a tourist, I was struck by the beauty, the charm and the history of this city – the water, the lush greenery and the old boats and buildings that all seemed to have a story to tell. After many years of working as an independent contractor doing transcriptions and translations, life in front of a computer screen started to feel a bit cramped and I took up photography as a hobby. A few years later my hobby has turned into another profession, one that provides a constant stream of change and interesting challenges. With this chance to exhibit my work at the iconic Kaknästornet, I want to honour beautiful Stockholm and the great first impression this city made on me.
When did you realize you wanted to work with art? I’ve always been fascinated by photography, but it wasn’t until five years ago that I first picked up a camera. After having developed a habit of looking at beautiful photos on various photo-sharing sites on the internet, I started hanging out on Instagram after being prompted by a friend who thought that app would be right up my alley. And was she right! I discovered a world of beauty and inspiration and, as this coincided with me getting my first camera, the ball was set rolling.
How did you develop your style as an artist? By looking at photos, looking at more photos and looking at even more photos! And by spending practically all my spare time out and about with my camera, trying out new techniques after reading up on them on the internet. Nowadays, there’s practically nothing about photography you can’t learn through tutorials, articles and sheer grit, and the first thing I set out to master was making dreamy long exposure landscapes.
Can you tell us a little bit more about this style of art? Long exposure photography is the technique of using slow shutter speeds to blur things that are moving while keeping stationary elements sharp. The technique is much used for seascapes, but also for nighttime cityscapes where light trails from cars add colour and motion to the image. That being said, by now I don’t think I have only one style. I am too curious and too fond of variety to settle for one particular style. Photography is an ongoing process of learning to see, and I never want to stop taking in the world!
What is art to you and how is it important to you? Actually, I’m still not sure I would call what I do art, though. I tend to think of photography more in terms of communication. The communicative potential of photography never ceases to amaze me. I love it when people share their thoughts about my photos, what the images mean to them on a personal level, or when they show me one of their own photos accompanied by the story of why they took it. But then again, art is of course also communication, so I guess this is still a kind of answer to the question.
Are there any artists out there who inspire you? There are so many great, inspirational photographers of various styles I wouldn’t even know where to start! I will mention two photographers though, who are an inspiration to me in more than just their work. Berenice Abbott and Annie Leibovitz are icons and pioneers of photography and a constant reminder that the most important thing in photography is to do your own thing and go your own way.
Have you ever done anything socially or politically related? Not as such, yet. I have a certain respect for taking on such a project and feel I’m still honing my skills for a possible future project of that kind.
How often do you travel (in or outside of Sweden) and do you ever try to do work abroad? (Inspiration from traveling etc.…) During my first years of doing photography I traveled quite a bit, mostly to England, to meet up with other photographers I’d met through Instagram and visit the iconic sites all photographers long to visit. During the last couple of years though, photography has turned into a profession for me and kept me busy with less time for travel.
What was your last big project and where/how did it go? I’ve been lucky enough to do a few exhibitions, a couple of smaller ones and group shows as well as a larger solo exhibition last year called “City lines and city lights” highlighting my passion for cityscapes. At the moment I’m also working on a couple of interesting projects, although they are both at a stage where I would prefer to wait to go into detail about them.
What are some of your goals for the short term and for the long term? In a short term perspective I want to explore portraiture. In a long term perspective, though … I wouldn’t be able to say! Photography is such an unpredictable and exiting journey, so I’m just making the most of the ride.