In his shots Kalle shows how passion and patience have in store unexpected surprises for who knows how to wait.
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from? Where do you work and how long have you been a professional photographer?My name is Kalle Stillersson, I am 34 years old and I live in Stockholm, Sweden.
A good friend and I run our own business. We are both videographers and editors, and we work widely in many types of jobs, from live streaming to more high-end commercial work. As a freelancer I really appreciate the variety. I see my day job as being a “video guy” and my photography as a hobby – that we will talk about later – I see them as two separate things although they may in fact be quite connected.
How did your experimentation in the world of photography begin? Did someone pass on this passion to you? Have you always wanted to be a photographer?
I never dreamt about being a photographer and no one passed the passion on to me. So, I guess I have to say that it just happened. A couple of years ago I picked up a 35mm camera – a Konica Pop – at a thrift store. I had never shot analogue but I had experimented a lot with film stock simulations in both photography and video and thought I would try the real deal. I would say that this is where the work I am doing now started. I dived head first into the analogue world, trying tons of cameras, from polaroid to large format and learning how to develop film in my kitchen. Then I built a small darkroom to enlarge, to learn how to scan and to refine my technique in all the passages. There was something about the process that was not very straightforward … For example, you have to trust what you are doing because you don’t see the results immediately. That got me hooked! There are so many ways to mess up, that I am still excited every time I open the tank and I find that there are pictures on the roll. In addition to the job itself, the analogue photography community is also a big part of the fun because everyone is so friendly and encouraging with the newcomers.
How do you plan your work? Looking at your photos, it seems you travel a lot and document your journeys. Is your work based on projects – just how do you go about it?
My photography is completely random. I never have a plan before starting a new journey. The only constant is to bring a camera with me most of the time. I really enjoy taking long walks in places I haven’t been before and just see what I find. Most of my work originates like this. I often travel through Sweden and abroad for work and these are perfect occasions to take photos and to experiment.
Do you usually work alone? Do you hunt out interesting subjects? Do you collaborate with anyone?
Up to this point I have only worked alone, but it would be really interesting and fun to collaborate with someone on a common project.
Your photographs seem to be parts of a single whole. Even if the contents vary a lot, they possess the same atmosphere. What are you trying to draw attention to through your camera lens? If you had to describe your style, what would you say?
It is hard to explain why certain scenes and objects catch my eye, it is an almost irrational call from the things and situations that surround me. I think this instinctual attention boils down to a feeling of nostalgia that reminds me of the past, in some way. Even if I don’t work on a specific project, developed around a clearly defined idea I really hope that I can eventually tie this body of work together and publish it on a zine or edit it in a book. It is quite essential in this case to have an organic vision of all the facets of a series.
I am glad to hear that you perceive a sort of unison throughout my work! This feedback is an inspiration for me.
People rarely appear in your pictures. Why is this?
I just like empty scenes – really like dead objects and nice lighting, and also because they are easier to work with than people. In rare cases there is someone in my photos but this requires more planning so it doesn’t happen very often.
Would you recommend to our readers the work of artists you are really keen on?
I have many artists in mind, but will mention just a few, such as Alec Soth, Todd Hido, Joel Sternfeld, Lars Tunbjörk, Gregory Crewdson, Jason Lee, Mark Webber, Kyle McDougall and Nick Carver.
Thank you very much for your questions and for giving me the opportunity to speak about my work!
Interview by Costanza Francesconi
Images © Kalle Stillersson