Christina Nordam Andersen: Focus with Photographs
*Originally posted on December 13, 2013. This was our very first article written by the late Alessio Castaldo with Christina Nordam Andersen.
A= Ale C= Christina
A: “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence” – Ansel Adams
words – photographs – silence. Why this quote, Chris? What do you read in it?
C: Photography is a vent for me in terms of expressing my emotions much more so than words. I feel that I can express myself fully through my photography and that the same is not the case with words. I am a private person and I like the way a photograph can mean something to me that may not be evident to others.
A: Photography is no doubt a form of Art. Do you think it might mix with other Arts, such as music and literature for instance? Can you imagine a photograph to better describe a page of a book or a song? Literature, music, other Arts ever inspire you in capturing life with your camera?
C: I agree that photography is an artform and that it as such without any contradictions can be mixed with others channels that have an artistic expression whether it be music or written words. They complement each other. After all everything is inspiration. The way I see it a photograph has the rare ability that it can portray both reality and unreality at the same time. A photograph is easy to understand because it is what you see in it. There is no right or wrong. Apart from photography itself I seek inspiration particularly through music and movies.
A: “Letters are just pieces of paper,” I said. “Burn them, and what stays in your heart will stay; keep them, and what vanishes will vanish.” – Haruki Murakami, “Norwegian Wood“ we share a love for this japanese writer and this stunning book, Chris, i am curious to ask you why you picked THIS (which i love) in a million of possible quotes? Burn words and let only memories remain, maybe hanged at a wall like photographs?
C: I chose this particular quote by Haruki Murakami because I believe that all we have is the feelings that we carry around in our hearts. The material world is irrelevant and it is not possible to hang on to memories or feelings by letters or even photographs. There is a sense of relief in letting go and trust that what really matters stays.
A: “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” J. R.R. Tolkien
again, we find a common ground to explore, the immense writing of J.R.R. Tolkien. Is it me, or we should all learn from this quote, especially when we see the world around us in a lens?
C: To me this quote is about possessing a natural curiosity about one’s surroundings. And to be aware that it is possible to find something extraordinary in something ordinary – something that is easily missed if one is not looking.
A: where is “your world” Chris? Where do you live? And where do you usually take photographs?
C: I live in Copenhagen, Denmark in the city centre. Most of my photos are taking within a 5 km radius. I shoot what is around me, when I walk down the street. I love walking everywhere and observe what is going on around me.
A: do you think that what daily surrounds you has an impact on your photography style?
C: Yes very much so. Nothing much happens in my everyday surroundings and it has forced me to really study and search for something of interest. It has taught me to appreciate the little things and I can get excited by the way the light hits the pavement or how a shadow falls.
A: where else in the world would you love to go for a long and inspiring photowalk (name till three locations)?
C: I would love to visit NYC, I imagine myself standing in the same spot for hours shooting away and just being amazed of what is going on around me. In general I prefer shooting concrete above nature any day.
A: so many times i make up my mind and decide i am in the right mood to go out with my camera and take pictures but still have no clues on what my subjects will happen to be. Does this sound familiar to you?
C: It does indeed. When I go out, I don’t know what I will stumble across. I keep my eyes peeled and wait for whichever gift will be represented to me. At that point all I have to do is point and shoot. Funny thing is when I set my mind to go shoot I often find nothing. I guess it is a little bit like love, the moment happens, when you least expect it.
A: do you ever feel driven by your camera when you are out shooting pics?
C: I love my iPhone 4S camera and the quality about it is amazing. However it does have its limitations also. I try to crop my pics to the bare essentials that I want to portray without disturbing details, but I can’t do this at times because the quality then suffers.
A: do you use only Iphone or other cameras as well? If so, which one/s?
C: Until now I only use my iPhone camera. I find it unobtrusive and easy to use. I like that it is easy to use, just point and shoot. However I am curious about what a traditional camera can do and I plan to buy one soon.
A: Why is the Iphone so essential in your Art?
C: For the same reasons I mentioned above. And because it is always with me. “The best camera is the one that is with you”. There is also something appealing about making an iPhone photo work, the limitations are endearing I think.
A: what is your opinion about the so-called “street photography” style, taking secretly shots of other people against their will, or just exposing them without any formal permission? Do you agree with those who call this style an invasion of others privacy?
C: I might be cold as a cucumber, but I have no qualms about candid street photography and the taking secret shots of people. In fact I think there is something loving about good street photography, because it portrays humanity as it is; sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly. Having that said if somebody has expressed they do not wish to be photographed; I think that it should be respected.
A: do you usually ask for people’s permissions when capturing them?
C: I never ask people for permission because I don’t want to interfere with the scene. Many of my people shots are anonymous in the way that people cannot be identified. I prefer to portray people that way.
A: do you consider yourself a “street photographer”?
C: I used to until a close friend of mine pointed out to me that I wasn’t. She said that I capture moods and not people. I think that she is right to a great extent.
A: what is your technique when shooting with your iphone? How do you capture street life?
C: My best technique is to walk around with my iPhone in my hands ready to shoot. Also I love shooting against the light as I find the slightly abstract results desirable. By coincidence I noticed that I can create a great sense of scale by shooting from a distance and then cropping.
A: what is your technique after shooting? Which apps you use in your editing process and how much time does all this process normally take?
C: Sometimes I start the processing when I am still out on the street, because I can’t wait to see the result. I nearly walked into a lamp post recently. Noir is my favourite app, I simply love its expression and that I can make the tones exactly to my liking. Photo Fx is another long time favourite for sharpening and minor adjustments. The photos that I have been the most satisfied with are the ones that I didn’t have to work hard at. They were just there and needed little editing. I have a habit of making several versions of the same photo and then selecting one at the very end.
A: do you have other photographers you consider inspiring for your Art?
C: Henri Cartier-Bresson is a major influence. I admire the way he created nearly surreal images of beauty. When asked what his relationship was with his camera, he replied: “To me the Leica is a sketchbook, a psychiatrist’s couch, a deep warm kiss, an electromagnet, a memory, the mirror of memory”. I relate to that.
A: do you have other Iphoneographers you consider inspiring for your Art?
C: Yes I have an endless list of iPhoneographers, whose work keep astonishing me. In fact their work is my biggest source of inspiration. I can’t mention a few without mentioning them all, so I will leave it at that.
A: looking at your stunning work, i always feel like your eyes get caught by three main elements: Light (and Shadows). Dimensions/different sizes (small People next to walls for instance). Perspective. What do you think about this?
C: Very well observed. Light is my main love when it comes to shooting and I think it always will be. I like to play with scale as it is a direct expression of what I feel. We are only small people in a big world.
A some time ago, i truly admired some of your shots in colors, which are quite a rarity! Why is that Chris? Why the Black and Whites have full dominance in your daily work?
C: The style of b/w came to me naturally, it has never been a conscious decision that ”now I only do black and white”. I am a minimalist at heart and although I appreciate other people’s colour photography, I prefer to keep my own simple and straight to the point. I find that colours are distracting. I find that b/w adds a touch of drama and surrealism that I find fascinating.
A: “The prejudice many photographers have against colour photography comes from not thinking of colour as form. You can say things with colour that can’t be said in black and white…” – Edward Weston
what do you think about this quote?
C: I tend to agree that colour can say things that cannot be said in black and white and vice versa. It’s all a matter of personal preference. I have seen skilled colour photographers make fantastic expressions through their photography. I am not pro black and white or anti colour, I am pro photography.
A: which different fields would you like to explore in photography? (Nature, Fashion, Architecture, Portraits, Travel just to say few…)?
C: I would like to explore big city life and the contrasts that exist in such a place. I have a dream of portraying loneliness and solitude in a place where everybody is crammed together.
A: another weird thing that never ceases to amaze me is the perception we have of our pieces of Art. I cannot even tell how many times i find myself surprised, in good or bad, because THAT picture that i loved so much, and considered special in many ways, turns out to be a “uh, nice, let’s see next one…”; while some other times what i was seriously considering trashy turns out to be a “oh… i love this so much” one. Does this happen to you as well? If so, what is your opinion on your self evaluating abilities?
C: Yes it happens to me also and it has made me realize that art is indeed a personal thing. I have difficulty seeing my own work as art and I am still astonished when somebody compliments my work.
A: what do you think of Instagram? Why is it so popular in your opinion, and what are the good and the bad points in it?
C: It is with Instagram that I began to photograph. For that I will always be grateful. I think it is popular because it is such an open and caring community and because there are amazing talent to be found there. The Instagram gallery is open 24/7 and when you post something, you get instant feedback. I dislike the Popular Page feature that mainly consists of pet photos and teenage self-portraits. Also the “follow me” spammers are unwelcome. I liked IG better when the community was smaller, but there you go.
A: what one and only advice would you give to someone who starts now with this passion for photography?
C: Have fun with it.
A: What got YOU into photography?
C: I got into photography when I wasn’t having the best time of my life. Photography was and is a source of therapy for me.
A: if you should imagine yourself on a magazine cover, which one would that be? And what for?
C: I can’t even imagine.
A: last question, and the most important one, who is Christina Andersen today, compared to who she was yesterday?
C: Today I am hopeful, a little more than yesterday.
Christina Nordam Andersen
Instagram: @cirkeline Twitter: @cirkeline09
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About Alessio C.
San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy
“Child into a man body. Man with the eyes of a child.”
Photographer, blogger and copywriter. Copywriter, blogger and photographer. Pictures and Words to communicate. Born in 1972, lives in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy. His early website collects photographs from his very beginnings, divided into four sections: world, nature, people, curiosity, the starting points of his personal journey through the wonders that surround us. His eye observes in ecstasy the evolution of the world, sometimes frenetic, other more quiet. At the time when the shades and the flow of the elements overlap, the eye stops time, estranging a moment of life from his context of natural movement. Everything is still, yet lives in the particular detail of forms and in colors transparency. Now the second chapter: London, Berlin, Budapest, Vienna and Paris. City becomes the ideal area in which to refine the art of street photography, the art form that draws the eye to the emotions of those encountered. Joy, pain, loneliness all become shades this photographic technique allows you to explore, from the classic shots of Cartier-Bresson to the present and innovative of Joel Meyerowitz and many more…TO BE CONTINUED…
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