Based in Auckland, Sven (who is secretly, or not so secretly anymore a Sci-Fi nut) has made capturing honest and intimate portraits with the Fuji X series cameras his "thing" Read what keeps Sven motivated and what he tries to show in his images.
Where are you based?
North Shore, Auckland
What initially interested you into photography?
When I was nine years old I went on a whale watching cruise in Kaikoura, while waiting for the whales to surface I noticed the man standing next to me lying in wait with his camera. When the whale eventually surfaced it sounded like he tried gunning down the poor thing, clack clack clack…….
I thought his camera was so cool and knew one day I too had to have one. It took a little bit of soul searching but I am pretty sure that was my first recollection of a photographer, and the memory may very well have paved the path.
Tell us a little about your style of photography.
I have an obsession with the intimacy, beauty and honesty of headshots (you just cannot hide). My style is very candid, over posing is boring, I like getting close, thereby excluding the garbage (distractions) and isolating those in front of me. That's me in a nutshell.
What gear do you use?
Two weekends ago I made a bold move and completed my migration towards a complete Fuiji Film mirrorless camera system. The X series gear has yet to let me down and delivers insane colour! I am not looking back.
If you had to choose only one lens, what would it be and why?
85mm. I have done an entire Eurotrip with just this focal length. Not to mention that it has been my go to for sport, portraits, street and the occasional landscape. Sometimes I swear my eyes are calibrated to 85mm. Currently one of my favorite lenses is the Fujinon 60mm Macro which comes close to this focal length but, I am really holding out for the upcoming 56mm F1.2 which already sends shivers down my spine just thinking about.
What is/has been your greatest challenge as a photographer?
Getting people to relax and have confidence in front of the camera, headshots are unforgiving and show every micro expression, which can either make or break a shot.
When out on the street you probably only have 60 seconds of someone's time to pull something out of them before your are left standing on the side of the road with nothing but one giant missed opportunity.
What do you feel has been your greatest photographic achievement to date?
Having my work acknowledged by the team at Fuji Film japan and being welcomed into their X Photographer family.
And even though it may seem a little strange, my own personal highlight was finally catching a shot of a wild Kia (indigenous alpine parrot) while down south over the last Christmas holidays, these cheeky little guys have managed to elude me on every other trip and I can finally tick them off my bucket list.
If you weren't a photographer, what would you be?
What would be your dream job or assignment to shoot?
The expression on peoples faces during 'First Contact'…… (secretly I am a Sci-Fi nut)
What tips or advice do you have for budding photographers?
Don't let anyone tell you what you can and can't shoot!
What are your thoughts towards videography - do you see yourself moving on to shoot more video than stills in your work?
Film is a superb story telling medium. I just picked up a Blackmagic Cinema camera, even though I feel like it is my first day of school I am enjoying the challenge. I foresee using a lot more multimedia content in my work now that I've taken the first steps.
Are you a fan of using flash in your work?
Not really, I have lights and know how to use them, but they slow down my preferred workflow and if not used correctly look clinical.
In your opinion, what makes a good photograph?
Expression! Expression! Expression! The face is the first thing we see and I believe this is where the story begins.
What do enjoy doing to take a break from photography, what recharges you?
Getting out on the mountain bike, or packing my bags and heading into the hills is my way of leaving everything else behind, but even then there is usually a camera not far out of reach.
Who motivates or inspires you to keep doing what you do?
As corny as it sounds, I have to say my wife, she still happily supports and encourages my creative adventure. Despite my ludicrous photography spend at times, photo covered walls at home, and long nights in front of the computer.
Find more of Sven's work on his website