Interviews / Stories
Interview: Photographer Jonas Koel (Sweden)
Tell us something about yourself
I am a Stockholmer from birth and I still thrive very well with the unique closeness to nature and the city that can get in Stockholm. Working in the city in the morning, fishing in the lake just outside in the evening is life. I live here with my partner Heli and my children Josefin and Jakob, who are now young adult students at the university with an exciting journey ahead.In addition to photography as I also work with assignments in the Results Oriented Marketing and Business Consulting if I have time. At the end of this year so I open another business to meet demand in the photo, media and marketing, which should be a blast, covering mainly Scandinavia, Baltics and northern Europe.
How and when did you get into photography?
Five years ago I went into a typical electronics store and bought the first camera I saw so I could shoot my children during their activities.Although I always loved art and the ability to express themselves in different forms, I had until then never photographed at all. I could of course nothing at first but quickly became interested in how customers use the camera to create, to express what I wanted. Even today, I evolve every day and love the development itself and it will hopefully spread some joy.A while later I met by chance, the famous photographer Terry O'Neill and during a conversation he inspired me to quit my former job as CEO of an IT company and do what I enjoy doing, rather than flying around between meetings.Without any thought that it would be so much more than just a hobby, today I have a company, Bildmedia, where we are now, three years later delivers all focusing on and around the image as photography, film, design, layout, coverage, social media etc. and I love it every second.So when you buy a kit camera for kids' activities, who know where you will end up ;)
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is the freedom to express, preserve, create and tell stories. To be working with it every day, stay in the moment, capturing what we might have otherwise had just overtaken as usual. So photography is a freedom in day to day work as well as in expressions.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I like to shoot in various styles depending on the mission and purpose. The variation in to advertise one day and maybe a documentary reportage on immigration second day is incredibly stimulating and part of my speaking work.I want to have the ability to capture the feeling of the picture, regardless of the situation. That which stimulates the most is the people and their stories.I appreciate and be impressed by the large number of photographers, regardless of style. Photography is to express themselves and are not limited by the environment.
Anyway, so, I am driven mainly by capturing an emotion, personality and I will certainly continue to work with it in focus no matter what the pictures will be used.
Where do you get inspiration from?
From almost everywhere, as for e.g. various artists with in panting, dance, but also the movies and not least the everyday life, which might give the most impact. I also love the fact that it is so easy to discover great artists through social media channels which just for some years ago wasn’t possible.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
Yes, most of the time I do it. Especially if it's a business mission, it is crucial to ensure expectations and plan ahead before I carry out the shooting.
But I also plan for a small portrait session or whatever it is. For e.g. I also plan the shooting in three levels, Foreground, background and object / model, which helps in the step by step planning for myself, even if it for e.g. only is in the car on my way to the shooting.
Studio, on location or both?
Well, I do both depending on the goal for the shooting. I prefer taking photos on existing real locations if I should choose one, since I prefer the feeling in photos that appears being caught in the moment.
I also like to extent my own experience and like the challenge on taking shots in unexpected environments which sometimes are really hard, for e.g. doing a job for a corporation at a site you haven’t been at before, and with limited time and recourses taking your shots. Once I had actually only 30 seconds taking a photo of a celebrity for a cover on a magazine. That’s of course not the usual way, but it worked out fine, lucky me.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I am a paid photographer but from my point of view in an early stage, hopefully developing a lot more as a photographer. But I do hope I never will stop enjoying taking shots like a happy amateur just find out the joy of photography.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
Oh, there are many different funny times, in many different ways. I love to shoot with different people who in their own individual way share their personality, which makes the job even more interesting and fun. For example. the is the model Vendela Lindblom absolutely stunning, but has besides its appearance inner qualities that few other people have. A great young woman with strong values that also shows in the photos working with her.
A fun shooting was for e.g. when I photographed the rally star Mattias Adielsson for his sponsor Norma Group. We would take his portraits, but not the usual images you're used to see in the rally. Here we took the pictures during a day when Mattias worked himself with his rally car in his garage. The goal was to create a series of cool documentary pictures with a cooler feeling to it.
The pictures went out well and It was great fun too because it actually was a normal person and not a model, and we worked in a real environment taking the shots. The entire rally team was very nice and helpful and we keep in touch today.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
People and Personalities. Various meetings, people, life stories, backgrounds, ages, experience and specialization.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Work with Canon 5Ds & 5Dsr, and have a Mark III as well as backup. Working mostly with lenses as Canon 70-200 f/2.8, Canon 85 f/1.2, Canon 50 f/1.2, Canon 24-70, f/2.8 and some other lenses too. The best one if I should choose one is Canon 85 mm which is outstanding. However, the other once are equally good due to the specific situation.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Well, I’m sure there is lots of advices that could be said, but from my point of view, one useful advice would be to take enough time and planning before the shooting and make sure they understand what the result would be. Show pictures, mood boards, discuss options and be professional.
I doesn’t matter if you take world class photos, if they did not look for that specific style. The customer point of view is the single most important issue working with corporations and your qualities has to make sure they will have it. Make life easy through putting in time and effort before the shooting clarifying the expectations. And have fun!! All people likes happy people.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I like that it is so easy to read digital and it allows me to read it in a big way whenever and wherever. I also like that it is many different articles with photographers representing different areas who are skilled in their individual ways, and with their own style. It gives a lot of practical inspiration for my own work. I like it!