PHOTOGRAPHER MIKE KARLSSON LUNDGREN
on his biggest inspirations
Before becoming a photographer, Mike Karlsson Lundgren was one of the most in demand hair stylists living in Paris and New York in the 1980s until early 2000. As a result he was early on drawn to the fashion industry working for legendary editors and creative directors such as Grace Coddington and Fabien Baron. Now, some 40 years later his biggest focus is on interiors, still life and portrait photography. We talk to him about what has shaped his way of capturing images and how he loves pairing them to tell a deeper story.
TNE Describe your way/process of capturing an image. Anything you look for in particular?
MKL I’m constantly ”framing” what my eye see, and build scenarios from memories of light and shadow. I collect inspirational images and compositions both on my desktop and in my mind. It’s quite intuitive and fast, I see the image and what I need to edit out. But I also love and respect the collaboration, admire the creativity and knowledge in people that I work with in the process of making images.
MIKE KARLSSON LUNDGREN
Mike Karlsson Lundgren started out as a hair stylist in New York and Paris during the 1980s until early 2000s. Today his focus is on photographing interiors, still life and portraits. He still uses memories of travels, places and narratives in his images. He is a regular contributor to T-N-E.
Jonna Dagliden Hunt
Mike Karlsson lundgren
TNE Describe why you chose this series of images that you refer to ’diptych'. What’s the process?
MKL I have been involved in making magazines my whole life. I learnt by watching, working close to skilled editors, photographers and art directors. Editing, editing, editing…carefully selecting the images, pairing them and seeing what happens when they are placed next to each other. A detail next to a wider landscape or a portrait next to place, to make it dynamic or serene and to tell a story. I've been playing around with these images to see what they convey. Some are made at the same moment and some are joined to make a new story.
TNE Why did you become a photographer?
MKL I think I have always seen ”the place, the room, the space”. I started out wanting to work with scenography for film and theatre and as part of the education I was advised to study the craft of costume making, carpentry, mask, hair, lighting etc and I ended up in the world of fashion and magazines. Early on I met with photographer Mikael Jansson and we started a collaboration that lasted many years. It was a tremendously creative and educational period for me that shaped my way of looking at pictures. Before every commission the team met to talk about the inspiration for ”the story”. Anything from art, movies, food, music, politics, history could be the source and made up what we today call a ”mood board”. I brought all this with me when I later on found my place as a photographer in a field floating between interior, still-life, portrait photography.
TNE What did you learn during this time?
MKL The team often stayed in the studio after work, browsing photography books and fashion magazines, building up a reference catalogue that is still in my core and very helpful in my work.
TNE What are your biggest inspirations as a photographer?
MKL Working in fashion for many years brought me to a lot of travelling and the opportunity to live in Paris and New York. This gained me experience and impressions that still inspire my work. I’m also inspired by how everything can be connected. I often use memories of travels, places, narratives, light, shadow and try to reconstitute them in my images.
"I'm inspired by how everything can be connected. In my pictures I often work with a feeling, a memory of a place. A light can take me back there, a colour can evoke scent and texture a touch."