Hans Strand

Hans Strand

Nationality: Sweden
 

Artist's Statement:

My art is about natural expressions of the elements. I find a lot of inspiration in the complex chaos of the natural landscape. In the untamed chaos there are islands of order which can be seen as structures or patterns. I represent a classic photography style with full dynamic tonal range and natural colors in my work. I also think that technical quality is very important and therefore I am only working with the best photographic equipment money can buy.

My influences are coming from classic photographers like Henry Cartier-Bresson, Sebastiao Salgado and Edward Burtynsky. I have also a great interest in classical music. In the work by Johan Sebastian Bach and Philip Glass I find similar structures and have in some of my work.

I also see similarities between my work and the work of painters like Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Picasso and Braque. Not that I try to copy other photographers or painters, but some work might give me a kick in a new direction. Sometimes I can identify myself in their compositions and expressions.

Bio:

Hans Strand was born in 1955 in Marmaverken, Sweden.

After a nine year career in mechanical engineering he decided to make a dramatic change to devote his life to landscape photography. Which had been his long held hobby and great passion. It is a change he has never regreted. Hans has always felt himself drawn to the untamed and unmanipulated that he finds in Nature. As Hans use to say “ The wilderness is the mother of all living things. It is always true and never trivial”.

Over the years Strand has had the entire world as his workplace. Photographing everything from the vast expances of the Arctic, to steaming rainforests and dry deserts.

His work has been displayed in numerous exhibitions and published in many international photography magazines. He has also received several awards for his photography.

Among the most important ones is Hasselblad Master Award in 2008. He has published 5 books with landscape photographs. The two latest ones are ICELAND Above & Below and INTIMATE.

He lives in Hägersten, a southern suburb of Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife Carina and his daughter Johanna. Apart from photography he has a great passion for classical music and is a lover of Burgundy wines.

Interview:

1. WICH IS THE CENTRAL QUESTION IN YOUR LIFE AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
For me the composition is the most important component. A photographers task is to organize the com-plex chaos of Nature inside 4 corners and this in a personal and clever way. For me Nature is always try and never trivial.

2. WHO ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS / OR OTHER ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE YOU?
Edward Burtynsky, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Kandinsky, Miro, Picasso, Lars Lerin

3. WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHER?
I believe in the documentary nature of the photograph. Therefore I prefer photographers who makes personal images without hiding behind technical manors.

4. WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT DECIDING TO BECOME A FULL-TIME PHOTOGRAPHER?
To find a good balance between commercial and artistic work. It is very difficult to get recognition as a beginner, but you need to be stubborn and continue to do what you believe in then recognition will come with time.

5. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU IN YOUR WORK AND WHAT IS DEMOTIVATING?
Photography is a constant learning process and therefore you always discover new things inspiring you. It can be new ways of seeing things, new places or new equipment.

6. WHAT ARE THE MOST PASSIONATE MOMENTS IN YOUR WORK?
When I get a ”bing” feeling of making a good framing of something in front of me.

7. WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN YOUR WORK?
Nature is chaotic and therefore not as ”perfect” as a studio. Objects are often in wrong places and makes the images unbalanced. Light is also always a challenge.

8. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR ARTISTRY?
By continuous work an analyses of what I have accomplished. What was good and what was not so good. I also look at lots of images by other photographers and do the same analyses.

9. WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR PERSONAL LEARNING IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU WOULD CONVEY TO A "NOVICE"?
I consider myself quite good at positioning myself in the landscape which is the platform for a good composition.

10. WHICH ARE THE DRIVING FORCES FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND IN YOUR WORK?
I always urge to make meticulous compositions and images with technical perfection. Tonal range and detail are important ingredients for me.

11. WHICH FEELINGS DETERMINE YOUR WORK WHEN OUT IN THE FIELD?
The feeling of connection with mother nature. A feeling which got me into photography 35 years ago and still exists when I look through the camera viewfinder.

12. ON WHICH CRITERIA DO YOU JUDGE YOUR OWN WORK AS SUCCESSFUL?
Composition, tonal range and detail. I nowadays tend to go more and more towards the quiet and non-spectacular rather than the sensational.

13. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK AND THE BEAUTY OF OUR PLANET, NATURE: WHAT CONNECTION DO YOU SEE?
My camera is the interface through which I am able to connect with the landscape in front of me. I have an almost religious feeling for Nature.

14. ASSUMING YOU WOULD HAVE 15 MINUTES ON A TV BROADCAST AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD COULD LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WERE SAYING, WHAT WOULD BE THE CORE OF YOUR MES-SAGE TO THE PEOPLE?
I would try to open their eyes for the greatness of the world’s landscapes. I think there is way too much focus on ourselves as humans. It seems that we have forgotten that the wild landscape was once the cradle from which we have evolved.


At Work:

»My camera is the interface through which I am able to connect with the landscape in front of me. I have an almost religious feeling for Nature.«

Awards:

- 2015 | Winner in Land catergory in Wildlife Photographer of the Year
- 2014 | Winner in Spider Award
- 2014 | Winner in Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards
- 2014 | Winner in PX3 prix de la fotographie, Paris
- 2013 | Winner of WWF Panda Book Price
- 2011 | Winner in Nordic Nature Photo Contest
- 2010 | Winner in European Wildlife Photographer of the Year
- 2009 | Winner in Natures Best´s Windland Smith Rice Awards
- 2008 | Winner in Digital Camera Photographer of the Year
- 2008 | Winner of Hasselblad Master Award
- 2003 | Winner of Nordic Nature Photographer of the Year
- 2001 | Winner in BG-Wildlife Photographer of the Year
- 2001 | Winner in European Nature Photographer of the Year
- 2000 | Winner in BG-Wildlife Photographer of the Year
- 1999 | Winner of Swedish Nature Protection Agency´s Award
- 1999 | Camera maker Canon´s international wall calendar

Presse:

Project: Down to Earth from the Above

I started to shoot from the air in 2000 and have continued since. Actually I was not meant to be flying, this since I have severe difficulties with motion sickness. Still I found shooting from above so much more intense than anything else I have done. I specially enjoy making instant compositions of what is passing on the ground underneath me. I am very picky about my compositions and I specially concentrate to get the corners of the images right. In my opinion the corners are the backbone of a good composition. This goes for images shot from ground level as well as images from above. My aerials from Iceland often express the complexity of rivers and mountains. The colours and patterns of the volcanic landscape have a central roll and make the images special. The images in this portfolio represent a cross section of my style shooting from the air. I want you to look specially for the compositional balance and geometrical rhythms.

For the future I plan to shoot more and more landscapes undulated by man. This since man has now become the greatest creator and destroyer of the crust of the earth. And from above you can see these influences very clearly. And you can understand that very often in art it is about ambiguities... like: The influence of man, destroying nature... on the other hand he must make a living... and... seeing his influence from above there is a certain undenyable aesthetics... So, like very often in art, there is a certain tension a viewer must be able to bear and find a harmonious dissolution for himself. This is what makes a piece of art so precious for me.

Project: Purity and Motion

Water is such an elusive element. It is in constant transition and changes its expression every second. I made my first book on water in 1995, ”And the Sea Never Rests ”. It was a story on its life cycle. I might do another water book in the coming future. I like water reflections and water in motion, but I am keen to keep its texture visible in all my water images. Its transparency I associate with purity and its motion with freedom. This selection is a cross section of my entire water work. All my images are natural expressions of what I saw with my own eyes and made without filters or extensive post production. A result of many years shooting this subject.