Five minutes with Sonja Hesslow

Some times I just make something spontaneously in my living room just because I want to create something new and just have fun

I love to use my imagination to create new pictures.  The process starts when I capture the image in my camera, and I then spend a lot of time in Photoshop to create the picture I have in my head.

To be involved in the whole process is very important for me. I like to be creative in many ways, not just in Photoshop.  I enjoy making my own props by using different materials such as fabric, plastic, flowers, secondhand stuff, etc. I really love to meet other creative people and form diverse collaborations.  My dream is to continue with my exhibitions, sell my work, and give lectures to share my love of this art form.

“I don’t want to capture the moments,
I want to create them from my imagination”

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am 25 years old and live in Sweden but right now I’m studying photography in Denmark. I am really curious and also want to learn new things all the time. I am creative in many different ways beside photography.

sonja_hesslow

How did you get interested in photography?

I bought my first camera in december 2009 and started to use it a lot. Then I discovered Photoshop and I wanted to spend all of my free time with that program! Back then I worked as a preschool teacher but I realized that I didn’t have enough time beside my work. I then decided to quit my job and move to Denmark to study Photography full time. It is the best decision I have ever made.

Have any artist/photographer inspired your art?

I worked as an assistant for Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer  for one year and they really inspired me. It’s not just their amazing pictures that inspire me, it’s also that they work with something they love and they trust what they are doing and just give it 100%. Two other photographers that I really admire is Elena Vizerskaya and Erik Johansson. They all have a great talent for creating surreal worlds.

the_thinker

Could you please tell us anything about your technique and creating process?

When I get an idea I always write it down. Then I think of the idea for some days, weeks, months or even years before I have a clear picture in my head of what I am going to do. When I have the picture in my head I don’t need to use so much time shooting, because I know right away when I have the perfect one. Normally I take the pictures in my living room because I do not have access to a studio all the time. I use a lot of time in Photoshop to create the picture I want. It is only some times that I have the picture in one shot, I usually have to make a montage in Photoshop by using different pictures. I also have my own library with textures, light, animals, flowers etc. that I use in my pictures.

Describe your ideal photographic situation

When I have full control over what I am doing and I have made a lot of preparation before the shoot and know exactly what I want. I love to work with other creative people and I am really glad when I have a great team with a good model and make up artist. It is really important for me to work with other people who also like what they are doing. It affects me in a positive way.

How much preparation do you put into taking a photography?

Some times I just make something spontaneously in my living room just because I want to create something new and just have fun. Other times I make mood boards and use several days to plan every detail. So if it is a bigger project I use more time to prepare.

What’s your useable-to-unusable ratio when you review images from a shoot?

When I make my own creative pictures I choose one picture to make the biggest part and then add on parts from other pictures. As mentioned before I don’t take so many pictures during a shoot because I know what I want. I will never understand those photographers that does not look for the moment, instead they take a lot of pictures and they can’t use 90% of them.

sowlmate

What quick advice do you have for someone who wants to improve his or her photography skills?

Everything is about practice. Show your pictures to someone who can give you constructive criticism, then you can change things and be even better. I think it’s nice to go to school or something like that because you’ll learn all the basic much faster. My best advice is to just make the pictures you want and don’t think so much about what other people would think. If you want to be a great photographer you have to make pictures that is different because today more or less everyone is a photographer.

From time to time many photographers find themselves in a creative rut or uninspired to shoot. Does this ever happen to you and if so how do you overcome these phases?

I had a year two years ago where I felt uninspired and got a little afraid if I was doing the right thing. I found out that it depended on how I lived my life at that time. I think it is important to think of what makes you happy. If you are happy it is also easier to be creative!

What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?

Right now I just want to finish school and move to Stockholm in Sweden. This summer I have an art project with musicians from Sweden and Iceland. We are going to create 6 different pieces of art by being inspired by each other’s work. I also have a lecture in Lysekil in Sweden this autumn. Then I am going to be a part of Affordable Art Fair in Stockholm and also making montage at another fair. There is many exciting things happening in my life right now and I absolutely love it! [Official Website]

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