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Anders Geidemark

You never know what or whom you will meet out there. The camera is good for picture evidence, but I also always bring pen and notebook – I don’t want to miss a good story!

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Featured Photographer

Anders Geidemark

About

I made my first book when I was 8 years old. At the spreads it was a painting on one page and an enormously dramatic text on the other page. Some of the stories goes on and on, and the most incredible things happen between the birds and animals in my ‘home forest’...

I think I just continued from there: I still do it my way with layout, text and images (actually before I became a computer user, in my first book, I drew the layout by hand... and my wife, who was early with computers, put my design into a layout programme). Nowadays I work with InDesign on a daily basis, and maybe my writing is now a bit more realistic; but I hope it is still full of fantasy – well, some bad spelling is still there anyway...

Website: www.andersgeidemark.se/

Interview

Why nature photography?
I was born in 1963 in the forest region in the middle of Sweden. My childhood was very lonely; there weren’t any other kids in the neighbourhood. The forest became my playground, and I had plenty of time to philosophise. My father was an enthusiastic hunter and I listened to his great stories. He didn’t read fairytales to make me sleep: He read hunting novels! So I guess I got a very good start for a professional life in the nature. In my fathers hunting magazines there were at the time very good drawings to illustrate the novels, and also prints of the famous artist Bruno Liljefors. That inspired me deeply. So – my ambition was to become a painter...! When I was 10-12 years old I took drawing lessons. But I understood very soon that my little talent would never ever help me become a ”new Liljefors” – at 13 I bought my first camera... A camera body and one lens, a 400 mm: Now it was time to shoot foxes, roe deer and moose!

What's best about it?
Well, it was of course a dream come true twenty years ago when I became a professional nature photographer and writer. To be able to express my creativity fulltime – what a privilege! To try to communicate and share my emotional feelings in, for example my deep home forests, is an enormously inspiring task for me.

What's worst about it?
Administration and marketing!

I’m the absolute worst ”businessman” you can think of – and I don’t know if I would like to be a good one... In one way or another I have survived these twenty years with almost no marketing at all. I’m very happy and humbled that so many people pay attention to my work – buy books, come to slide shows and workshops – without even having a real website... But that one is under construction – any year now...!

Favourite species and places in Europe?
Well, my heart belongs to the forest region here in the middle of Sweden. I never ”go out” to my forest – I always ”come home” to it.

Maybe surprisingly: me being a ”forest guy”, felt the same emotions for the Icelandic landscape... It was also a feeling of ”coming home” during the seven months that I spent on Iceland, making my first book in the early 90´s. I am always longing for going back to Iceland – this ”second home” of mine!

What's in the bag?
When I do lectures in media- and photo schools I sometimes hold my notebook up and say ”this is my most important equipment”. And it’s true. For me everything starts in the notebook: Ideas, scripts, poems, sketches for book layouts, synopsis for a multi-vision show... I can always work if I have pen and paper – even if I forget my camera bag at home.

But if we talk straight camera tools it is Canon bodies with lenses from 14 to 500 mm. Rolleiflex medium format with lenses from 50 to 300 mm, and also a Wista large format camera with nikkor lenses.

But stop the press! I’m just now into buying my first digital camera equipment!
– Oh, this soon..? you might think...Yes – and I hope it will be great Nikon tools!

Your specialities / skills?
What I like best is to tell stories. A beginning, middle and an end – the traditional way of doing things. And for me to do the layout and text myself is as important as to take the pictures - I will be able to fulfill my ideas and intention. It is incredible how much you can tell, and bring the story forward, just with the layout and design of a book. For example: in the book I’m working with now I started with the graphic design, so I know what kind of pictures I need to fill into this construction. When I compose a multi-vision show I begin with choosing the music before taking the pictures – but in this case I’m sorry to say that I don’t got talent to compose the music myself...

If I have any skills it could be that I enjoy working with different expressions. For me it is kind of doing the same thing. And it is absolutely no ego thing – it is just because I like to do it, and that I strongly believe that my story will be more truthful and genuine. I can’t expect that anyone else could tell my story...

What will you do in your next life?
That was an easy one!

I will try – when I’m still a kid – to learn to play the guitar and the piano, so I can walk for hours and hours in the forest, then full with inspiration, come back to my home studio and sit down and compose the most wonderful pieces of music: A bit like Mike Oldfield did when he wrote Ommadawn in the 70´s. And I could put music to my poems like Roger Waters did in Pink Floyd – or the way Peter Gabriel do things nowadays. (Whoops, did I expose some house goods here...?!)

Of course my wife and three boys will be there – and I can think about doing some images with a camera while walking in the forest...

3 tips for beginners
I suppose You are a passionate nature lover. Then, pay attention to as much as you can of artistic works in every sort: music, poetry, litterature, painting, sculpturing, photography, etc.

Then – for the first, second and third – You should trust yourself, tell your own story, and do it in your personal style! Nobody can say that the result is wrong, it will always be unique and interesting. It will certainly be a source for inspiration for me – something that I will pay attention to. Good Luck!

Mission

First of all: I can’t think about – or could ever imagine – any greater photo project than The Wild Wonders of Europe. And to be asked to jump onboard on this full rigged ship is a great honour, and something that makes me enormously happy. Thanks a lot!

They will send me to Albania!

What a great challenge – I know nothing about the nature in this beautiful country...

I have just received my mission, but no details yet. Just that it will be in the northern part of the country, in the mountains. I’m really looking forward to do my research, and to visit Albania for the first time in my life! And please, if anyone reading this can give me any advice I would be most thankful!

Best Picture

Best Picture
Roe deer and pine trees, Sweden

What's cool about it?
This is an old picture from 1979, but it shows very well my favourite kind of picture construction: a small character in its great environment. I was 16 when I took this one, and as said above I was extremely inspired by the artist Bruno Liljefors, who always made the bird or animal as a true part of its landscape.

So – it is no ”cool” thing about the image. It is just an example of a few pictures in my image library where I feel that my ambition meets the result.

Could it be better?
Of course – and absolutely not only in film quality! And thinking about it: I’m often very happy that I didn’t become a painter – when should you stop painting...?!

Behind the Scene
I was too young for having a driver’s license and a car, so it was on a moped that I passed by in high speed on a small forest road. I saw the pine trees, beautifully coloured by the evening sun, before I saw the roe deer.

Well, probably ”with risking my own life” (hey, try my best to make it “cool”) I managed to stop my moped way too suddenly, and at the same time I caught sight of the deer. Just as directed the roe deer took the right way over the hill and into the evening sun. Just to compose and click – very easy sometimes...

Date: Summer 1979
Location: Bergslagen, Sweden
Gear: Canon A 1, Tokina 400 mm, Ectachrome 400 ISO.

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