The life of Swedish fashion photographer Martin Bohm
We had the chance to chat with Swedish fashion photographer Martin Bohm, who gives us a brief insight in the life of photography. Get some tips and inspiration below!
Can you please tell us how a normal week in the life of Martin looks like?
My weeks vary a lot and I mostly work in periods. One week I might work 20 hours a day and then I’m free for 2 weeks. I kind of like it this way because I can focus on my paid work when working and also on my creative shoots when I'm not working, without them interfering with each other. But if I would describe a week where I have a mix of it all it could look something like this; Starting the week by doing some planning, sending some emails, looking for new freelance work and wrapping up some editing if I have anything left to be done. I also spend quite a lot of time handling my social media accounts trying to gain a bigger crowd or scouting for new collaborations with models, brands, stylists and make up artists. Social media is really a blessing and a curse, it’s so easy to drown or get lost in all the material but it’s also such a good way to reach out with your work. Hopefully finding an interesting collaboration so we can make a creative shoot later during the week. I’m probably shooting some paid work, like an event or a new face for an agency in Stockholm. I spend a lot of time editing, that’s an important part of my creative process and I want to give all the photos their right mood before making a selection, this I mostly do during nights, I love staying up late and feel that I’m so much more creative during nighttime. Except this I try to take a walk in the nature every day to clear my head and gather inspiration.
How and when did you become a professional photographer?
I don’t know if I want to call myself a professional because photography is such a matter of personal taste. I know ”professionals” who takes photos that inspires me less than my friends’ Instagram accounts. I believe that everybody can learn to produce high quality photos but for me it’s the artsy side of it all that is the most interesting part. When you start trying to add your own feelings in your photography that’s when the photos become an extension of your personality and yourself. At this point resolution, sharpness and image quality is quite irrelevant to me, when a photo is making me feel something that’s all that really matters. I also want to take the opportunity here to encourage you all to shoot more because no matter if you’ve been shooting for 1 week or 25 years you can still take a fantastic photo that might speak to a whole lot of people out there.
I’ve been shooting for a living since 2012 so I guess that’s when I became a ”professional” to society. My first job was at a nightclub, then I moved on shooting 400+ assignments for the local newspaper and then 550+ apartments/houses for some companies in the real estate business. Since the start I’ve been doing a lot of freelance work as well such as weddings, events and commercial work. Personally I’d say that my biggest step was moving to Barcelona, to focus 100% on my fashion work, in 2015. I stayed for a year, working with different designers, agencies, brands and creative people. This was a year where I really developed quickly and started to walk the path I’m on today, now back in Stockholm to keep on working even harder.
How would you describe your style within photography?
I’m in a never ending wrestle with my style but I think that is what keeps me going, I want to try all possibilities before I settle with something. I’ve been experimenting my way forward since I started and I’m finally starting to realize what I really like, but there’s still a lot to try though. In general I’d say that my photography is quite clean and stylish like the Swedish fashion scene but I like throwing in a whole lot of ”trashy” and moody vibes to make it my special mix. I like including lines, patterns and architecture in my shots and lately I’ve been doing all of my shoots on the streets of Stockholm. I need to feel the pulse of the city to take the most authentic photos I can. Visually I prefer a bit more gritty/old school look and I’d definitely shoot 100% of my work on film if I could afford it. I’m a real sucker for black and white.
What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
Hmm, this was a though one. I have had quite a few memorable assignments but if I can mention two I would say a look book/commercial shoot for a brand in Barcelona. There’s nothing really special about the photos themselves but the whole day was magical. We were a team of 9 including me, 3 designers, a make up artist and 4 models. The collaboration worked out perfectly, we had a barbecue and sipped on some cold beers while shooting the collection on the designer’s rooftop in gazing sun. The mood was amazing and all of us had a blast. We got some really nice photos and it was a pleasure working with everyone.
Then we have Eurovision 2016 where I got the chance to shoot some documentary stuff for the official lighting sponsor alongside a video crew that I really enjoyed working with. I have always been a sucker for light shows, big stages and screaming crowds so being able to see and shoot such a big production like this up close felt really good. I like a high tempo and this week was express deluxe. Altering shooting at the stage with editing and delivering photos sitting backstage. We also got a backstage tour of the arena, access to some really cool angles and tickets to the VIP party, a nice bonus after some intense work.
Could you give any tips to our aspiring photographers?
Don’t rush trying to find your personal style, I still haven’t found mine completely and at first that was a stress that blocked my creativity, now I just see it as an exciting journey with no exact destination and I can go any way I want trying to do different stuff. Also I want to encourage you all to take your time and try all kinds of photography to really discover what inspires and motivates you the most. In the end of the day it’s not about what other people like to see, it’s about what you like to create. If shooting insects is your thing, that’s where you will get the most out of your creativity and develop as a photographer. And as cheesy as it might sound, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, I have no formal education in photography and the majority of my skills comes from making mistakes and learning from them. Dare to do your thing!
If you got the opportunity to work with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
I could write a long list of old legends I would like to work with but I prefer to live in the present and would like to mention two talents that really inspire me. First off is the New York based photographer Kat Irlin, for me photography is all about the feelings, not the visuals, and Kat captures feelings and emotions in an incredible way that really touches me. I personally prefer that moody vibe in both my own work and others’. She’s a pure talent and I admire her creative eye. Working with her would be a dream come true but until that day I’ll keep getting inspired by her work.
The second person would be the model Sahara Ray. I have worked with so many models that just model because someone said they should or because they look good. For me the connection between model and photographer is crucial to achieve the moody vibes that I like and except looking drop dead gorgeous I’ve got the impression that Sahara Ray has got that special something. She seems down to earth, playful and most importantly she seems to love what she does, I think we would make a great combo.
How would you describe typical Swedish style?
I would say that the typical Swedish style is clean and stylish. We have so many nice designers like Filippa K, Acne, J. Lindeberg, Tiger and Whyred to name a few but personally I prefer either a bit more bohemian or a bit more street-inspired look. In Stockholm you’ll find a good mix of styles and depending on which area you’re in the styles will vary quite much.
When visiting Sweden, what's a must see/do?
Our nature is something truly special. If you just go a couple of miles out of town you can find the most amazing nature and landscapes. We also have quite a lot of wild animals to spot if you’re lucky. I recently did a road trip through the southern parts of Sweden and I found places I never knew existed, magical forests (Lord of The Rings-style), waterfalls, untouched beaches at the west coast and peaceful lakes with crystal clear water. For those who like the big city life I can really recommend visiting Stockholm, the architecture, style, shopping, food and nightlife is top notch.
What do you do when you're not working?
I listen to music 24/7 but when I’m off work I like to produce some on my own. I have played in some different bands in the past but now I’m all about producing electronic music and practicing my DJ skills. Other than that I hang out with friends and try to spend a lot of time in the nature. I also shoot some analog cameras in my spare time.
To see more of Martin, visit his website: www.martinbohm.se or follow him on Instagram @martinbohmphoto