Interview: Photographer Sjur Roald (Norway)
Interviews / Stories
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!