In this weekly interview-series SLR Lounge features amazing photographers from all around the world. Every Sunday we interview a photographer whose work pushes the boundaries of our profession to create images that are emotional, edgy, original, and most of all capture a unique moment in time. We hope these interviews will inspire you, and will help you learn more about these great photographers. This week we have decided to feature Mikko Lagerstedt, a finnish landscape photographer.
Your Name: Mikko Lagerstedt
Location: Kerava, Finland
Your website or portfolio: https://www.mikkolagerstedt.com
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started with photography?
I’m a graphic designer and self-taught photographer. I have always been interested in arts. I believe my grandmother was my first inspiration towards arts. She has done beautiful paintings and drawings which I fell in love with.
I had always been interested in photography, even if I weren’t doing it myself. But then there was this one moment that really sparked my interest for photography. I was driving to a relative’s cabin on a summer evening. It had been raining for the whole day and just as the sun was setting, the clouds started to disappear. I stopped when I saw the fog on a field and the sunshine came through the forest behind it. It was a magical sight, and at that moment, I realized that those were the moments that I wanted to start capturing.
Where did you grow up and what were your earliest creative interests?
I grew up in a small town called Kauhava, in the middle of nowhere really. I loved to draw when I was little. I remember trying to replicate some images from magazines and so on.
How would you describe yourself as a photographer?
Now that is a tough question. I’m a photographer who enjoys simplicity and atmosphere in photos. I simply want to make people feel something when they look at my pictures. That’s the main idea behind my photography.
Are there any artists/photographers you look up to?
I love the work of Brooke Shaden and she has only done 4 years of photography! Erik Almas and Martin Stranka are also artists, whose work I enjoy.
Why photography? What is it that makes it so intriguing for you?
The thing about photography is that you can always learn something new about it. I’m also interested in the technical part of it, so I guess this is the medium for me.
As you already mentioned, you are also a graphic designer. How do you combine those two, what are you more serious about at the moment?
I keep them separate because I do graphic designing mostly for work. And photography is just an hobby for me at the moment.
Your work is characterized by moody and surreal themes and mostly focuses on natural subjects such as landscapes, waterscapes, roads and forests. How did you find your style as a photographer?
I think my journey to photography started as many others. I photographed simply everything I could. When I bought my first DSLR I went to Thailand with my girlfriend. And it just sparked from there. I loved to take photos at the dawn and at the dusk. I went through my photos and then I just looked for something that I enjoyed and finally found my style.. It’s not something you can really plan to do, it just comes to you eventually.
What photo/photo-series are you most proud of at the moment? Why?
I’m really proud of the attention I have gotten in the past few years. It’s just been phenomenal! I love the older photos I have taken, for example the Alone -series. It somehow gives me joy to watch them and think “damn, how did I manage to capture that…”
You started out with photography 4 years ago, and in that time you have come quite far, receiving recognition on an international scale. What would you say is the “secret” behind this success? How have you been able to learn so quickly?
Honestly I don’t really know. It’s been a very interesting journey. I have done it a lot in these 4 years, so maybe that is my “secret”. And I love to challenge myself to try out new stuff all the time.
Any tips you’d like to give for people looking to create amazing surreal landscape photography?
I would recommend the same as many other landscape photographers. Take your pictures at dawn, dusk or night. Try multiple exposures for night photos. I tend to stack my images for maximum depth of field.
Great! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thanks for the interview!