‘It’s very important for photographers to grow. I think that if you don’t challenge yourself somehow in the pictures you take you will very quickly become irrelevant in today’s increasingly visual and restless culture’
– Erik Almas
Erik Almas, born in Trondheim, Norway.
Given a camera by a relative when he was 12, never planned to be a photographer it was just something that he thought would be a fun thing to do. At the age of 22 flew to US to study photography at the Academy of Art University studying for 4 years to get his Degree. Graduated in 99 with Best Portfolio in the Spring Show. After graduation he did a 3 year apprenticeship and a further 4 years as a Photographer / Retoucher. In 2004 he received an Honorary Degree of Outstanding Alumnus, this was the start of a long line of international awards & clients such as American Airlines, Absolut, Microsoft & Nike.
Quirky / Conceptual / Bright / Sharp / Calm / Interesting / Dynamic / Original / Amusing / Narrow Aperture / Clever / Subtle Colour Palette
Here are some key points i took note of during Phlearn: Interview with Erik Almas
- Like any craft you need to hone your skills, you need to be unique
- There’s no shortcuts to finding who you are , that takes time
- Bring yourself into the photos, in order for you to take amazing pictures they need to reflect you within them.
‘The more personal you make it, the more universal it becomes’
– Diane Arbus (influential documentary photographer)
- Transport your emotions and feelings into your pictures and you’ll really have something. If you don’t challenge yourself you won’t go anywhere.
- Inspiration comes from everywhere, not just imagery. There’s inspiration in music and in words. Reading helps conjure up pictures in your mind and then you’re not privy to something you have seen before.
- Input equals Output, inspire yourself with music and books.
- Cultural influences that you are faced with, help carve your style
- Use your surroundings, make the most of what you have around you and draw inspiration from that.
- No1 in compositing – same light quality and same light direction for the different pieces and correct perspective.
- Strive for images that look seamlessly put together and don’t look like composites.
Design Approach – When he looks at a landscape he will ask:
What does this place feel like? How does it make you feel? Lonely, Quiet, Provocative, Awe-inspiring? Decide how to bring that back into the photograph then analyse further.
Does it remind you of anything, anyone? Film Actor etc? Put them in the scene and work with that, adjust the colour palette to suit the mood the scene sets.
Erik Almas has a beautiful book to showcase his work with high gloss pages and weighing 36lb it’s seriously impressive! In the interview he talks about the process behind them.
In this image he took the sky plate first, this was taken from an aeroplane. He always shoots his own backgrounds and is a collector of skies. 100% of the components in his images are his except for small details like birds & smoke etc. The grounded blimp with the model inside was photographed by Erik who climbed up a 16ft ladder to get the right angle for the shot and then both images were put together in post production.
To create large commercial images he takes several images and stitches them together to build a bigger scene (plate):
I often wondered how his images contained so much detail and now i understand it is because he takes long exposure images for the plate and then stitches several images together creating files at least 60MB.
In these images below he shows how he adds all the different elements in using in the layering process :
Again he shoots the landscape (plate) first. You can’t change the way the light rises and sets on the landscape so you shoot everything in relation to that. If the sun is rising setting in the left of the image then all the other components you shoot to put in the scene have to be taken with the light coming from the same direction.
I absolutely love his work, such clever thought and application. They are really pleasing to the eye and all have a feeling of serenity within.