We had a chat with our favorite photographer Anja Ekstrøm. Fun fact; Anja is the photographer we’ve worked with most closely and most often.
What we love about Anja’s work is her artistic range. She can shoot anything from commercial to avantgarde and everything in between, which is a rare talent.
Ugly Fat Magazine has benefited a lot from working with this creative and hard working photographer, who is always ready to make work fun, by sharing a kooky joke and a laugh.
Here’s what we talked about with Anja, shown together with previous work we’ve done with her.
You started out as a professional photographer rather late in life, at 37, was photography always a passion for you or did you stumble into it?
I never lifted a camera before then 🙂 I was asked to do a friend a favor by shooting his portrait and that lit a spark inside me….. and so it began 🙂
What is it photography can do, that other visual mediums can’t? What attracted you to photography and to films or painting?
The instant payoff to see the result (not edited, but nevertheless) and the creativity in makeup, lights, colours etc. I love to play with different elements all at once.
Excerpt from editorial; ‘The Neo-Futurist’ by Anja Ekstrøm, published in Ugly Fat Magazine, Aug. 2014
What advice would you give aspiring fashion photographers?
BELIEVE IN YOU! Do what you want and OWN it…. dont follow every rule in the book – draw outside the lines.
You work mainly with people as motives. What is it about people, that makes you want to photograph them, why not landscapes or bowls of fruit or something?
I love that connection with a Human – a look/pose is very powerful and truly can lift a product/story more than apples and bananas can.
Editorial by Anja Ekstrøm for Ugly Fat Magazine in 2017
Beauty and fashion industries are very prominent in your portfolio, what inspires you to center your work around beauty and fashion?
I am a very creative soul and I love the playground that fashion and beauty allows – colours, textures, the sky is the limit…. if that dress doesn’t work, flip it inside out and VOILA.
You say you value laidbackness in your studio (according to your website), but – as part of the fashion industry – an industry with a reputation for being overdramtic & high strung – how do you keep your cool and avoid being sucked in to the drama?
By just being me and do what I love. I dont seek the peak of the industry – I am not lured by prestige and bling, as I know, it comes with a price I am not willing to pay. If someday I become a star, its because of hard work and my photography is worth it, while still being me.
You work closely with a lot of Danish celebrities and brands – how do you relate to clients/subjects that already have a clear visual identity?
I dont really get into that – the celeb and I ping-pong ideas together and figure out what we want to create.
What is your view on the extensive use of camera phones and people publishing ameteur photos on digital media, like Instagram selfies, snapchat stories or holiday photos on Facebook? Do you think it will influence photography as a profession?
It doesn’t bother me at all….. I know for a fact, that the equipment alone doesn’t make you a photographer 🙂 you can own a million pots and pans and you are still not a chef 🙂 there is a whole LOT more to being a photographer than the gear you use.
You also worked in front of the camera, as a model. What is your view or experience of being behind and in front of the camera, which do you prefer and why?
I still prefer being behind the camera as I like the creative process and being the boss 🙂 I can use my modeling experience to know angles, poses, etc. to help my photography and also I know how uncomfortable it can be if the photographer doesn’t give instructions so it definitely helps knowing both sides, so to speak.
As both a photographer and a model, what do you think of Danish Fashion Ethical Charter and it’s way to tackle models conditions in the Danish fashion industry , since it’s implementation in 2015 to now?
I think its a GREAT initiativ – nothing negative to say about that.
We ALWAYS want healthy models.
Excerpt from editorial; ‘Super Curves’ by Anja Ekstrøm, published in Ugly Fat Magazine, Nov. 2014
If you could change anything in the fashion and beauty industries, what would it be?
Oooooh I have a few…..
1. To open up the industry for new blood, as it seems its a party for a very few selected people – if you dont have the right name, you cant get published in the Danish magazines…. you need to be one of 10 people (unfortunately).
2. Stop being hysterical…. YES a picture can be retouched! I am sad to see the “I am so offended” era – its sad.