Stockholm, Sweden-based Waldemar Hansson is one of those fashion photographers whose flair for drama can be seen in every one of his photos. With his masterful use of lighting and colors, he can seduce us, making us feel like we're watching something we shouldn't. I personally love the way he can tell us a story just by his models' strong poses and vulnerable expressions.
Before he struck out on his own, Hansson fine-tuned his skills and found his own style by working for various photographers including some of our favorites, Jimmy Backius
and Camilla Akrans
. Read about these experiences and more in our interview with Hansson below.
You definitely have an eye for drama. How do you come up with your stories?
It often starts with a location and then comes the story. I kind of let the location be the guide to the story. Sometimes it starts with the clothes and sometimes it's music or a film.
How much post processing work is done in Photoshop? Do you do this yourself?
As little as I need, but if it tells the story in a better way, I am not afraid of going away from the RAW file. I am not a documentary photographer, I work with feelings that I create on my own or with the model and has not much to do with reality; I think more like a musician or a painter would do. About the retouching, for most of the time I do it myself.
How has a background in art and painting influenced your photography?
Very much I think. I was totally obsessed with some of the great painters and what I realized was that all of them had one thing in common that really affected me: their use of colors and how they put them together. And the lighting, of course. It helped me to see colors that I actually didn't see before. The camera gives me everything I missed in paintings but I still prefer to paint with a thick brush, even though it's by using a camera.
What was working for Jimmy Backius and Camilla Akrans like and how did this influence your work?
I assisted for six to seven years and for a lot of different photographers. I've learned something from every one of them. Camilla is really big now and i admire her. She is a photographer with an amazingly good eye.
I love your use of color, especially in Pont Alexandre. How do you achieve this prism-like effect?
Actually, I had a prism on my desk by coincidence while I was retouching. The sun came in and there it was, a ray of light. That's it.
What do you find beautiful?
The feeling of almost understanding a piece of art.
What advice would you give to others just starting out?
Look at pictures of the greatest photographers and try to understand why they affect you the way they do. Is it the light? The directing? The location? The colors? The model? The clothes? Whatever it is, be aware! (…you probably want to own this knowledge for tomorrow's shoot). Learn by doing.