Hans Strand one of the world's best Landscape
and Nature Photographers.
The Arctic Sea, deserts, the rainforest, mountains, islands and coastlines are Hans Strand’s motives. No place seems too remote or too isolated for the artist. The photographic outcomes of these journeys are stunning pictures of the pure and wild, sometimes raw and violent but undeniable beauty of nature. Strand shoots many of his amazing pictures out of an aeroplane – allowing himself and the viewer not only to get an impression of landscapes far away from our daily life encounters with nature but also an entirely different way of looking at it. Through the bird’s-eye-view nature’s beauty is revealed from an atypical and unfamiliar perspective.
Hans Strand’s literally view on the world results in abstract and likewise picturesque photographs that capture nature’s beauty in this one moment the picture is made. And it is this current look of landscapes that interests the artist the most, not their long-term documentation. Beauty exists in this one elusive moment – Hans Strand captures it with his unique style and eagle eye!
The Swedish artist, born in 1955 lives and works in Stockholm. His spectacular photographs were displayed in various exhibitions. Strand published his works in several books and received many awards for example the recognized Hasselblad Master Award. Have a look at the following interview: it tells you more about this outstanding artist.
Who or what inspired you to take up photography? Is it still the same sort of inspiration?
I got interested in photography first at the age of 25. When graduating from technical university in Stockholm we made a school trip to California. I then bought my first camera in San Francisco and took my first images in Yosemite. Of course the work by Ansel Adams had some influence on me, but the magic appeared when I first looked through the viewfinder of my new camera. The camera became the connecting link between me and the landscape in front of me. I can still feel the same connection when I take pictures today.
What equipment/camera do you use?
Today I am all digital. I use a Hasselblad 50 megapixel camera + 5 lenses and also a new Nikon D800E with 5 lenses. I love shooting digital. It is so much more control than shooting film.
What makes photography so special for you? What excites you the most?
I am looking more for complexity than sensation. Which means that I am primarily looking for interesting compositions. Great light is of course important for me, but in a lesser extent than composition.
Why do you concentrate on landscapes?
For the reason I described above. The connection with mother nature. It sounds almost religious, but for me it is like coming home. I find cities and people too complicated. Not the photography itself, but the way to deal with it.
How many hours do you spend on editing your pictures and how much time do you actually have for „taking photos“?
I use to say: one week of photography generates one month of editing. It is necessary to be very careful and meticulous with the post processing. I want contrast and colour to be accurate. Sometimes I even make prints to proof my files.
Do you prefer black-and-white or colour photography?
I find black and white photography more seductive that colour. The majority of my work is in colour, but if I could make my living on black and white I would be my choice.
Do you prefer digital or analogue photography? And why?
I don’t care if a photographer is using this or that. For me it is all digital. This for the reason of simplicity and control. I don’t understand all this fuss about being more pure if you are using film. Before the arrival of digital photography there were no such discussions. Purity is all about your style of making images, not about the technique behind it.
How would you describe your look / your style in five words?
Compositions with high technical quality.
What are your next/current projects? Where will your next project take you too?
I am currently working on two books: one on The Arctic and one on Iceland.
What was the best advise you ever received and what would you like to tell prospective/aspiring photographers?
It is important to develop your personal style and work on long time projects. This will sharpen your expression and develop your photography.
How do you know that you have the perfect motive in front of you? How do you recognise the perfect moment? Can you actually feel it?
It is a gut feeling. I never think in composition rules. For me it is a question of balancing signals over a rectangular surface. Of course when I find something very complex and unique I get excited to take pictures.
What message(s) do you want to communicate trough your pictures?
Intimacy, connection and complexity.
Can you see the world with “non-photographer eyes”?
Yes, nowadays more than before. I can relax better with higher age, but 20 years ago I was always “framing” what I saw in front of me. I also never have a camera hanging over my shoulder when I am not working.
If you had the chance to meet a person of your wish – dead or alive- and ask one single question who would it be? And what would you ask?
Johann Sebastian Bach: In your music I can’t see any images. It is more like mathematics or crystal structures. If the visual senses did not inspire you, what inspired your compositions?
All images © Hans Strand