Interview: Photographer P-A Nilsson (Sweden)
Interviews / Stories
Tell us something about yourself
I am 42 years old , live in Stockholm Sweden with my wife Åsa. I am dead serious about
4 things in life, my family, travelling, fly fishing and photography. Been pretty much everywhere in the world both as a flyfisherman and as a photographer and often as both in combination as a commerical and editorial photographer. Love shooting everything from fashionnudes to landscapes and everything in-between.
How and when did you get into photography?
My father was a very talented amateur photographer with a real eye for angles, light and moments so I started shooting with him as a child, then I had a long break and my wife did all the photography in our lives, but some 15 years ago I started shooting outdoor, wildlife and portraits and some years after that I got my first covershot in a local flyfishing magazine and after that it has accelarated and I am now work with a lot of magazines all over the world in that genre. Some 7 years ago one my friends that own a big styling firm here in Stockholm wondered if I wanted to shoot some portraits of his models. I wasn’t really into it, but what the heck why not I thought… After that I was all in and has been shooting portraits and fashion ever since both as portfolio work for models and agencies and as commercial work for different companies and just love it!!!
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is a way of life for me and the camera is always with me these days regardless of where I travel or work. Its my main passion, hobby and work all mixed into one glorious mix. I do only work part time with it now, but the goal is to work with it full time within 2-3 years.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
For me photography is just what it means, painting with light and getting the ratios bethween light and darkness just right. I am all about creating a certain mood into the shot, everything from total joy and extacy to complete darkness and sorrow. But i am a real sucker for feel good lifestyleshots and nudes that makes people feel all warm and fussy inside.
Studio, on location or both?
I love location shooting and have the benifit of having a great penthouse flat that i can do both TFP and commercial work in, but i shot in studios sometimes,but that is definatly not my passion. I am a mood and lifestyle photographer primarly and do better work not confined into a small studio.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I love old school rembrandt lighting and the old master painters like Renoir. But I am also an impressionistic person so the mood is more important that getting razor sharpness into the shots so of course Claude Monet is one of my all time favourites. In real photography I love the old school master like Herb Ritz and Ansel Adams, very different guys in what they shot but still they loved the grandeur of life in nature and the human form. In modern shooting I only have two photographers that I love and that is Jean Noir and the late Nicholas Javed, they create that magic mood that works for me inside.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
If i do commercial shootings I plan everything in details with the company and the stylists and we reach a common goal and work towards that.
But if I do Time For Print with a model and stylist team it’s a lot more free spirited and the movement and the mood of the shoot dictates where we are going. This is the best part of photography for personal growth both for models, stylists and the photographer and breaks your boundaries.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I have the good fortune of being both, i can do TFPs just because i have an other part time job that pays some of the bills and i earn money from fashion, weddings, portrait and wildlife work that pays some of the other bills and all camera gear.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
My most memorable session has been with my first tattoo model Pia Dahlboom, we had perfect light under a great bridge and both her husband and daughter was with us during the shoot helping out with light and cheering on. The chemistry that evening was magic and we have had lots of shoots afterwards and have become friends.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
The interaction bethween me and my muses, i have 7 models that i love to shoot with over and over with and they are my gods and godesses of inspiration. They kick my ass forward in the right direction, to keep on being better and better.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I shoot Canon and have always been doing that, love my old Eos 1D Mark IV and the 85mm/1,2 When i shoot fashion its on 75% of the time and the rest is my second love is the Sigma Art 35mm/1,4. Like to work with short DOFs and those lenses totally do it for me.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Dont give up!! The first years are gruelling and though as hell but if you have the talent and work on it you will succeed at some stage. Also remember to treat your fans and you want to be treated by your idols, always have time to answer questions and never become cocky. When you get your first paid gigs, prepare and prepare and then prepare some before....;) Never show work that you arent 110% satsfied with, if you dont love it why shoudl others?
What do you think of our new magazine?
I think it’s a great publication that brings out new talent into the fashion and portrait community. I am honored that you wanted to feature me in your magazine.