Interviews  / Stories

Interview: Photographer Sjur Roald (Norway)

Tell us something about yourself

I was born in 1952 and grew up on the island of Vigra near the town of Aalesund on the west coast of Norway where I still resides.  My whole professional life has been spent in banking after having studied economics and business administration.  In 2014 I decided to take an early retirement to concentrate fully on my passion; photography.

 

How and when did you get into photography?

When I was around 20 I became interested in photography and bought my first camera; a Nikon F Photomic.  I soon set up my own darkroom at my parents´house.  From the very beginning I became a keen member of a local camera club and for years I was involved – not only artistically but also in the administration of the club.  Over a period of nearly 15 years I participated in numerous group exhibitions around the world.  In 1980 I was awarded the AFIAP title by ”La Fédération Internationale de lÁrt Photographique”.

 

What does photography mean to you?

I am attracted to form, rhythm and pattern when shaping my compositions.  Whether it is a landscape or a human body composition, my interpretation has become increasingly abstract in recent years.  It is said that my nudes are very sculptural.  I have an affinity for both simplicity and texture in my images.

 

Where do you get inspiration from?

I look at a lot of images daily; art books, photography books, magazine and on social media.  If I shall pick out a few of the photographers  I´m influenced by I would name Brett Weston, Richard Avedon, Howard Schatz and Vadim Stein.

 

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

I´m influenced my many styles.  In the studio I try to make it simple; using only one or two lights. 

 

Think you in advance what you want in the picture?

Before a shoot I normally make sketches or printouts from previous photos of mine or something  interesting I´ve found on the internet.  However, we normally end up with something quite different!

 

Studio, on location or both?

Most of the time I work in my studio – but if the weather conditions are favourable I take my model(s)  on location.  There are some beautiful beaches near where I live; sceneries that I have used a lot.

 

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I would call myself an dedicated, advanced amateur.

 

What has been your most memorable session and why?

I have so many good memories from my sessions.  I invite models to come and stay and work with me for several days – and they all have been wonderful to work with.  In recent years I have spent several weeks in Saint Petersburg, Russia to shoot both nudes and dance.  I find it very inspiring to work with dancers.  They don´t need much direction – and are very receptive to my ideas. 

 

What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?

As mentionned before I  study a lot of art books and images by other photographers.  I´m inspired by Rembrandt and Caravaggio  and the way they use light.  You can learn a lot by studying the work of old masters.

 

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

 I use several cameras; Nikon D800 and Fujifilm X-T1 (digital) – Nikon, Hasselblad and Leica  (analogue).  I have no particular favourite lens.

 

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

I would advise a new photographer to the trade to work hard.  Study other photographer´s work – and shoot as often as you can in the studio trying different light set ups.  In the end you will come up with a style that is yours.  But it requires hard work, discipline and commitment. 

 

What do you think of our new magazine

I haven´t been aware of Modellenland before.  I have been looking at the 2016 issues and I find it an interesting and versatile magazine!  Keep up the good work!

 

www.facebook.com/sjurroald

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