Today we are pleased to share the work of Simon Johansson.
Would you please tell us about yourself?
I’m a freelance photographer and journalist/writer based in Stockholm, Sweden. I take both editorial and commercial assignments. In 2016 I released the photobook “Across the Bridge” (Journal) about everyday life on the swedish island Öland. My second photobook, “A Familiar Place” , is about everyday life in Stockholm. In November 2019 my third photobook “The Young Ones” (Journal) was released. This time it’s about children. In my own projects I prefer to work in a classic documentary black and white tradition.
Where did you get your photographic training?
I’m self-taught. So my training is basically a lot of shooting in the streets. Trial and error.
Who has had an influence on your creative process?
Gösta Flemming. He is my editor at the publisher Journal. He is a genious when it comes to photographic storytelling. From him I’ve learned a lot about image sequencing and also how to think in form of projects when I’m shooting. What kind of photos I need to complete a serie. And what kind of photos I already have and do not need to take over and over again (which I intend to do).
Please tell us about an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time.
Can’t think of one single image, sorry. But I love the work of the Swedish photographer Anders Petersen.
What image of yours would you say taught you an important lesson.
I took a photo of some street hustlers in Paris. They got really angry and tried to grab my camera. I took a beating, but I managed to get loose and run (screaming: “I’m just a tourist from Sweden! I’m just a tourist from Sweden!”). Lesson learned: never photograph criminals. It wasn’t even worth it, the photo turned out to be crap.
What part of image-making do you find the most rewarding.
To make photobooks. To have the photos sequenced and presented as a story is very rewarding. And also editing. When I’ve been out on the streets and I have the gut feeling that I’ve taken one or two good pictures and I come home and I get to load them into Photoshop so I can see the result. I love editing.
How do you work through times when nothing seems to work?
I haven’t been there yet, knock on wood.
What tools have you found essential in the making of your work?
Do you mean what cameras I use? I have a Fujifilm for my own projects and a Canon for my commercial work.
Is there something in photography that you would like to try in the future?
To make a photobook in color.
How does your art affect the way you see the world?
I more or less all the time look at the world as a parade of images.
How has the pandemic influenced your work methods ? Or has it?
No difference really.
What’s on the horizon?
I’m working on my next project. It’ll be a photobook presented in two volumes. The first volume is the second part (and conclusion) of my first photobook “Across the Bridge” which is about the everyday life in a small village on an Swedish island. The second volume is about me leaving the small village for the big European cities.
Thank you Simon.