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Jonas Adner: Photography is Wonderfully Rewarding

April 2, 2009 by · 1 comment

Mariana Velichkova’s interview with the Swedish photographer Jonas Adner

I love creating things, and I have a need to express myself.
I do it mostly by creating pictures but also by using clay.

I started using photos in my works about 2 years ago; before that I mostly made my illustrations by hand, with watercolor and pencil, followed by digital enhancement and coloring.

I have a background as an illustrator and animator in the film and game industry.

Photography has done a lot for my creativity, and with tools such as Photoshop the possibilities are endless.

How do you relate to the words of Harry Callahan ”I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure just like life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting”?

I think more and more people have found photography as a way to express themselves. In these days the process of taking pictures has become so cheap and so easy that it is available for everyone in almost all situations. A lot of people use it as a medium to document their lives and share with others. But I think that the photos that have a universal expression of feeling and beauty are very rare.

And that is something that you can seek for a lifetime.

Please tell us more about your creative process.

My work process is mostly intuitive and I sort of play with different alternatives until I come to something I like. I usually use a lot of photos for one final picture.

I can start with a random picture and try to do something interesting out of it. It’s a big challenge to create something out of something that at first glance seems uninteresting. I can also start from the other end, with an idea and then take the pictures I need.

Pictures can be my own or from someone else. If it’s not my own, I will ask the permission of the owner to use it. There are a lot of CC pictures that you can use if you credit the owner in the right way.

I use a lot of my Photoshop skills to come to the right expression. As a final touch, I use textures to smooth the picture up or to create a different feeling to it.

Do you think of photography as a way to explore ourselves?

Of course. It’s a scientific instrument and documents the visible world.
But to explore in an artistic way takes a lot of patience and practice.

What great events you would like to photograph if you happened to be there?

Dramatic events are fascinating to try to catch on film. For example all sorts of extreme weather effects and nature, as with the tsunami 2004. But there is ambivalence to it, when you know that people at that same moment are getting hurt or die.
To catch the emotions in people’s bodies and faces is something that is also very hard and challenging to me.

What does photography give you?

It’s a new tool to investigate and master. It’s challenging and immediate and wonderfully rewarding.

How would you define photography in a few words?

I can’t.
If I do, it would just define a part of it.
But it could be: Catching something visible that is about to change, and that particular photo in time can be something new and surpass time.

Jonas Adner

I send a link for each photo on Flickr with the proper attributions( the numbers are in the order they are attached to in this mail):


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