This week on the Prodibi Pixel Magazine, we go to Østfold, in Norway, to meet with a photographer drawn to open spaces: Marta Anna Løvberg.
You can meet her by the fjords, on mountain trails, biking forest paths or paddleboarding through the lakes, and always with a camera.
Let's discover her work through stunning photos in full resolution powered by Prodibi!
A few words about you, how did you start photography?
I started with analogue photography in 1997 when I got my first camera - the Russian Zenith B. Back then it was just a hobby, and I was shooting everything from landscapes, portraits, concerts to abstract images. I did not always have money to develop the negatives, so I had no clue what the results were. I actually only recently developed a box of old negatives.
It became easier when I transitioned to digital photography. I am not sure if anyone still remembers when in the beginning, we had to use floppy disks and only could save approximately 4 colour or 6 black and white photos on one disk. When the digital camera got its current format, I found myself shooting more and more. And from there on, it went pretty fast.
I transitioned to being a full-time photographer in 2008 when I moved permanently to Norway from Poland. I was knocking on the door of every photographer I could find and finally got a chance to work at a portrait studio. I stayed there for four years, followed by two years working as a freelance portrait photographer, and after that, I actually quit photography.
I went back to university to study marketing and project management, was working with logistics, and gave myself time to figure out how to approach photography again. I came back to working full-time maybe a year ago. Now I mostly work on projects, exhibitions and books.
Have you tried other photography styles? Or nature has always been your favourite subject?
As mentioned before, I worked with landscape, portrait, abstract and concert photography before. I also did some advertising and product photography. I occasionally work with content production and recently ventured into videography too. I like the variety of photographic fields; it never gets boring.
Nature is not necessarily my favourite subject. I am genuinely drawn to open spaces, whether they are out in the wilderness, at an industrial plant or in the city, it doesn't really matter. Living in Norway though, nature tends to end up as a backdrop to my pictures most of the time.
I think my favourite subject is terrible weather. I love shooting when it rains really bad, or its so foggy that the autofocus gets totally confused. I love when it is hazy, and the visibility is reduced. It gives a certain understated look to the pictures. This kind of weather also creates a particular type of grain that takes me on a trip down the memory lane, back to when I was shooting film.
What was your favourite trip? Why?
My favourite trip is the one I am about to embark on or the future journey that I am planning. From the past trips I have taken, I think one of my favourites was a trip with Hurtigruten. It is a cruise journey that takes you from Bergen along the Norwegian coast all the way up north to the Russian border. I took it in September 2010 and was lucky enough to share it only with around 20 fellow passengers. The convenience of being stranded on a ship, and not having to worry about travel logistics was really deliberating for the photographic process.
If there is one place I could go back to all the time, it would be Finnmark region in Northern Norway. They get a lot of bad weather there, and the landscape is desolate, open and almost a bit alienated. Something that fits both my photography style and my personality.
What would be your advice for beginner nature photographers?
Do not try to take photos you think people might like. Shoot what you love, and process images the way it fits your style. Authenticity is one of the most important things in photography. If your style makes it harder for you to make money out of photography, so be it. It is not worth selling photos you don't feel, just for the sake of it. Take it from someone who made that mistake.
The other advice I wish someone gave me when I started, is to remember that you cannot stand out and fit in at the same time. Focus on standing out with your work and don't be discouraged when people don't like it. Be consistent, and your audience will find you.
Are you inspired by the work of other photographers or directors, artists?
I find most of my inspiration not in images, but in books about the philosophy of photography. Reading about different approaches to solving issues photography presents, from the historical, cultural and scientific point of view was always my biggest hobby. I remember when I started diving into the field, the first book I read was "Towards a philosophy of photography" by Vilém Flusser, followed by Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag and several likeminded authors. These books changed the way I approached my photography. I also love abstract art, but I am always more interested in artists' stories and their creative process than the actual art pieces.
About your photography gears, what are your favourite tools?
Right now I mostly shoot with Canon EOS 5DSr, and Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM. This kit suits my style perfectly and allows me to photograph a wide range of objects. I usually also carry a travel tripod from Genesis Gear, called ABT mini kit. It is a super tiny tripod that weighs only about a kilogram but has the maximum load of 10 kilograms. Which means I can throw a lot of equipment on it and be sure it won't let me down. Two other essential pieces I always carry with me are a raincoat for the camera and small waterproof lights from Lume Cube. I pack all that together with my hiking gear into Lowepro Photo Sport BP 300 AW II backpack and really do not need anything else.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series?
I currently work on two exhibitions, one solo and one where I am both a photographer and a curator for a group exhibition exploring Norwegian landscape. I also have two personal series in the making and slowly plan to publish a photo book. Furthermore, I take illustration photos for a children's book project that my husband is creating. So it is quite a hectic time for me now.
To see more from Marta Anna:
All photographs copyright Marta Anna Løvberg and used with her permission.
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