The man behind Stockholm Bird
Behind the lovely Instagram account Stockholm Bird, is art director and photographer Christoffer Skogsmo from Söndermalm in Stockholm, Sweden. Christoffer works for architect firm Tengbom where he creates in a wide area of fields, for example graphic design, filmmaking, photography, animations and more.
His photography of Stockholm taken from above (therefore the name Stockholm Bird) has without question been receiving a lot of attention, and certainly caught ours too!
Tell us about your journey to photography.
I actually remember my first camera (it was red) and the first camera roll I finished. I was probably 6 years old or somewhere around that, and I ran around my house with some neighbours and snapped everything I saw. It took me probably five minutes to fill the entire roll with blurry images. I went inside to my mom and asked for a new roll. She got mad because she thought I wasted the roll on garbage and that I didn't "respect the art of taking pictures". And film was apparently expensive. Somehow it all began there, I could not stop taking pictures after that. I'm happy that the digital era came, otherwise I would most likely be broke by now.
In terms of training I studied graphic design and photography in the gymnasium (equivalent to high school). I remember helping my classmates with editing in Photoshop since the teacher was an old school film roll photographer and had no idea how to work with digital pictures. But I kind of did because I tried to make cool pictures by the computer all night long.
I managed to get a job at an Ad agency after finishing school, did some real estate photography, worked freelance at a newspaper and basically did what jobs I could find in graphic design or photography. Then social media arrived, which was heaven because no one knew what to do with it. I've basically been producing content for different clients ever since.
Your images from above are amazing. Tell us about your drone.
It’s a Dji Mavic Pro, the first one. The regulations in Sweden are quite extensive but in short terms you can fly a smaller drone fewer than 120 metres without a license. You're not allowed to fly over people and animals and you have to stay away from airports, helipads, national parks and government buildings. The Swedish aviation administration provides a "drone map" where you can check almost all the restricted areas.
Then there's this thing where you need to have permission to share visual data (pictures) from the sky. An exception is public places.
There are more regulations to the whole drone thing, but I’m not able to explain everything here. Drones are still really new so laws are changing regularly to keep up with safety and everything.
What are the pros and cons with using a drone?
The flying part is quite easy to handle, and the regulations are a natural part of the process. For me the hardest thing is to actually know if the picture is any good the moment I take it. I see what the drone sees in my phone but somehow I feel disconnected to the picture when I take it since I’m not actually there in the air, holding the camera and seeing the object myself. Hard to explain, but for the most part the pictures feel totally different when editing back at home.
Have you ever seen anything you didn´t expect seeing whilst flying your drone?
All the time. That's what actually fascinates me the most with drone photography; nothing looks the same from above. Many times I’ve gone to a place that I scouted beforehand from Google Earth, but when I’m there and actually flying I see something else that surprises me. Or the planned picture is not a good one at all. And don't forget lighting, weather and season. The same place could look totally different depending on where the sun is located, if it's sunny or not, or when covered in snow.
What effect does social media have on your work?
The likes and comments are a motivator for sure. I feel that the followers deserve more pictures of Stockholm from above, since that's probably the reason they signed up. It's easy to get carried away in that feeling, almost feeling bad when I’ve not posted for a while. I try to remember though that Sthlm Bird is my own creative outlet, not some work I do for a client. Therefore my only obligations are to myself.
What are some Swedish myths that you would like to clarify?
Tough one, what are the myths? Polar bears, only blonde people, we're all communists?
I think Sweden's a great country to live in but the last couple of years the alt right Nazi party is gaining popularity. So if there is a myth about Sweden being super equal for everybody, sadly that's not true anymore.
What are your top 3 favourite places in Stockholm to:
Kajsas Fisk – Great fish soup hidden away at the Hötorget Market Hall.
Bleck – In the summer this place is the bomb. Great food and lovely vibes by the park.
A Bowl – Best place for Poke bowls. Especially the seasonal dish where they mix it up with local ingredients, making it a kind of "Hawaiian/Swedish fusion dish".
Älskade Traditioner – Amazing waffles, especially the savoury food waffles.
Bada Bing – Great coffee in Södermalm, love their egg sandwich.
Pascal – A bit hyped and not the best service but they have great breakfast.
I'm more of a beer geek than a party animal so when I go out I go for craft beers in a bar. So these are my favourite craft beer spots:
Nya Carnegiebryggeriet – A brewpub at a really nice location. It's an old factory by the water with both good food and a great selection of beers.
Katarina Ölkafé – Small bar with lot's of beers from Stockholm. Relaxed vibe.
Tritonia Ölverkstad – Also a small craft beer bar. Lovely guy who owns the place. If you're bar hopping in Gamla Stan this is a given stop.
My definite favourite is along the south shore of Södermalm, between Skanstull and Hornstull by Årstaviken.
I also like to walk around anywhere in Södermalm and even the not so busy streets in Gamla Stan.
Maybe weird but I like to discover suburbs I’ve never visited before, especially the subway stations.
The city from above, of course. If you don't have a drone I recommend going to the restaurant Himlen where you can see the entire Södermalm from quite a height.
The museum of modern art – A pretentious one, but it's simply a great place to experience modern art.
Blå lagunen in the summer is the best place for swimming. It's a day trip because it's a bit far way, at Ekerö. But the water is clear blue and the whole experience is an adventure. I have some drone pictures of the place in my feed.
Go for a bar crawl with a friend. You always meet kind people and have a good time.
Spend time with my kids one of the many amazing parks.
Capitol – A 1920's styled cinema where you can have a bite to eat and watch a movie.
The archipelago – A classic, and it's a true beauty.
Just exploring the city. Go to places I’ve never seen before. Snap some pictures, maybe bring the drone