Interview: Photographer Jan Hansen (Denmark)
Interviews / Stories
Tell us something about yourself
I am 49 years old, living just outside Copenhagen. Travelling and seeing other countries have always meant a lot to me. I lived in both Australia and the US. My previous work as an editor of a printed photo magazine brought me around the world more than once.
I am a creative soul, who have been an artist most of my life, mostly drawing and designing stuff. Previous jobs have often been this mix of creativity and technical material – for example hardware designer, photographer, editor, graphics designer, retoucher etc.
I have lots of different hobbies, love using my hands to create things, like reading especially historical material, learning how things worked back then. At the same time I enjoy everything high tech. I used to write articles on cameras, mobile phones etc., so guess I am pretty much a mix of old and new.
How and when did you get into photography?
I started out early on filmbased cameras, but it sort of faded out. Other things like computers, education etc., was at that time more important.
Photography on a more serious level, came back when I could see some links between that and computers, the graphics I did. Instead of having to draw everything, I could use the camera to show my stuff. The digital cameras made those things a lot easier. This would have been around year 2000-2001.
What does photography mean to you?
It means a lot, giving me ways to show emotions, beauty, personalities etc. When I shoot or do post processing, I am in this fantastic world where everything is possible, there are no real limitations.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
It is a pretty tricky question, ones style is mostly something others tend to define or see – they recognize your photos. I think most photographers evolve or do things differently depending on the assignment. I can see development in most images – my own and others.
Photography style, I think, have a lot to do with framing – how you see/capture that specific image, that’s the starting point, and will eventually also mean a lot to the finished product.
Where do you get inspiration from?
All around me, books, magazines, TV, history, and in many cases just something that someone says, it doesn’t have to be much.
I can be inspired by other photographers too, there are a lot of good ones out there!
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
As an artist who draws things, the answer is definitely yes. I tend to do drawings, sketches of my ideas, and bring them to the shoot. For some shoots you need a lot of preparation, others are more as-we-go-along.
Studio, on location or both?
Both! When I want that perfect lighting for example on nude poses, the studio is perfect. Location is a fantastic way to blend human shapes with surroundings. I love natural lights, and also the ways you can mix natural lights with flash.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I do both. Earlier on I did paid jobs, lived as a photographer, today is more of a mix.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
There are so many unique ones, I don’t recall just one.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
People – humans, how complex and completely different we all are. As a photographer you get to meet and frame these moments – personalities.
We/they are all a work of art, all are unique.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I shoot with the brand that suits me, the brand/name is not that important. For some years now my preferred brand has been Nikon. My favorite lens would be Nikkor 85mm F1.4G, closely followed by the Sigma Art 50mm F1.4. These lenses are perfectly suited for my work, which in most cases include models.
Both lenses are awesome - both wide open and closed down, beautiful out of focus areas, and they are very sharp as well.
Again, today there are so many good cameras and lenses too, and a lot of them will get the job done.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Be consistent. One might say “off course”, but its actually not that easy. If you deliver a perfect result each and every time, it will pay off. Go with quality – make fewer better images meaning “work hard”.
Making a living from photography can be very hard. It will often mean doing different kinds of assignments, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – can be an eye-opener to other parts of this wonderful world of photography.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I really enjoy it. As a former editor, I know how hard it is to do/run a magazine. I like the idea of having both photographer and model showcases and interviews. It looks crisp, clean, good quality, different genres, and easy to read. Thumbs up from me!