If your into landscape photography you would have heard of Flemming Bo Jensen, even if you aren’t in the landscape scene you probably would have heard of him. He’s always up for a bit of chat on twitter and recently released his latest book, Asia Stories. I doubt there are any limited signed copies left but you can still pick it up from Blurb.
A little bit about myself:
I am a freelance travel, portrait and landscape photographer and for the past two years I have been living on the road as a nomad. Traveling the world in search of, well, many things. Images, people, experiences, places, me. I still live as a nomad. I aspire to become a visual storyteller and documentarist.
For many years I worked in IT as head of an IT-department, having done that successfully for many years I felt ready for a total change in my life. So in 2007 I resigned my position and starting walking a new path in my life, a path I am still exploring.
My background is pure landscape photography but I now focus primarily on portraits and travel and ethno-photography. My greatest passion lies in capturing the people of our world and our many different living conditions and the contrast and drama of nature vs mankind. I wish for my images to show that our everyday lives, no matter where we live, are much more alike than different. I feel strongly that this must encourage us to treat each other more kindly, with more respect and compassion. Racism, prejudice, oppression, sexism, any form of discriminatory treatment should have no place in our world. It is an issue I feel strongly about and will continue to document.
What made me get into photography and how did I get started:
I have been into photography on and off since 1996. Originally I just wanted to capture snapshots from my trips, I shot slides on an entry level SLR; and at some point lost interest in paying for the slides to be developed and the long process from capture to result. I pursued other interests for a while. In 2005 digital SLRs got me back into digital photography as the digital workflow enabled a quick creative process with instant feedback, and a digital darkroom that I love to explore. I also discovered online photography communities and I owe a lot to the many people with whom I back then shared my work and who gave me much help and feedback. Interest became obsession and when I quit my IT-management job in 2007 wanting a new and artistic career, photography was my chosen obsession! I started traveling the world and 2009 saw me selling my flat and all belongings and creating an entirely new lifestyle for my self as a nomad photographer, totally removing myself from my previous self and sedentary lifestyle.
What sort of photography do I mainly do:
My background is landscape photography and for quite a few years I was obsessed with the search for Wide Open Spaces in arid environments. Mars would have been perfect for me. Ultimately, that search ended a few years ago, I reached the end of (not the world but) that project. Moving on from that, in an entirely new directions as my travels made me aware that there are also people living in our world! I now focus primarily on portraits of people and people in their home environment, and travel and ethno-photography. I have also done some commercial video and time-lapse work, the modern DSLR is a handy jack-of-all trades.
What gear am I using:
Presently I am using a Canon 5D Mk II with a few Canon lenses, and a Fuji X100 (my Leica “wannabe” rangefinder until Leica decides to sponsor me an M9!).
My favourite lens and why:
That would be my Canon 24-105mm f/4 L lens as it is such a nice versatile lens. I much prefer having my gear not get in the way, the best way to work for me is to wander around with one camera, one lens and just use that, not spend any thoughts nor carry any gear, only think of the image and the story.
Possibly I am the worst freelancer on the planet with regards to marketing myself. I cannot stand anymore to push my own work, it makes me ill. Self-promotion is no fun at all and some days I consider deleting my entire online persona except for my own site. I have a long running blog and I do love to tell stories and share images. Yes, I also have profiles on social networks and I do really like using twitter for keeping in touch with friends around the world. Some photographers have a massive fan following online and that’s swell, it’s not for me though and I am now finally ok with that, I used to think for years that was the only way forward and I pushed my own links everywhere I could and got disgusted with myself. I also feel that the internet is now a tidal wave of photographers sharing photos everywhere and we need to breathe a bit now and pause and reflect, it is too much too fast presently with millions of new photos everyday.
I now follow my dreams in my way, with my passion and tell my stories and show the images I find important, that I feel matter. I can then only hope that the audience will come but I have mostly stopped worrying about that. I have recently published my first book Asia Stories, and it was such a fantastic creative process between me and my editor Charlene Winfred and I am so happy with the result, that I think self-published magazines and books are my new favourite platform for me to tell my stories. The kind of work I do now does not work well online, it needs to be in printed media. I would now rather do a book a year and share my images that way, than constantly posting them online.
My favourite photo:
I don’t have just one favourite photo. I have at least 5-10 favorites in every genre that shoot and I have favourite stories, not just a single image. But as a stand alone image that I really like, here’s a recent image from Cambodia. There is a lot I love about this photo, the casual walk of the monk (whose name is Thun), the fantastic architecture of Angkor Wat and the composition. I like how it does not look too staged even though it is, Thun gracefully agree to model for me and my friend and guide photographer Nathan Horton for a day.
Advice for new photographers to go pro:
First of all, do you really want to go pro? You might not enjoy turning a fun interest into something that has to produce a monthly income, meaning you need to shoot a lot of images for others, shoot what clients will like and not shoot for yourself. Very few people can make a full time living out of just selling their own art, that takes high skills in marketing, sales and a lot of galleries in touristy areas! Is the very activity of photography, of taking the image, creating an image, something you want to do as a profession? Then yes, being a pro shooter might be for you. I work occasionally as an assistant for a friend who shoots fashion and commercials mainly and that type of pro photography is not for me at all, delivering images that I have no interest in to clients is not my dream at all.
If the act of shooting itself is less important, but the stories in the images, doing your own projects and seeing them affect people and have meaning is the main thing – then perhaps you should fund your own projects some other way so you can keep working on mostly your own projects, not compromised by anyone else.
I guess I am a pro photographer in a way, but I am not making a full time living from it. I want to tell *my* stories, do *my* projects that have meaning for me and hopefully others and I fund them any way I can including doing some IT-consulting.