Professional Photographer Interview With Eivind Rohne Of Norway
My name is Eivind Røhne, and I’m a professional fashion, people, portrait and wedding photographer. I do editorial and commercial assignments for clients both in Norway and across the world.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: Quite a lot. Photography is my passion, and I love making things that I know other people will be looking at. In other words, seeing my own name in print. It’s only an ego thing really, ha ha… Just kidding.
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: I can talk passionately about my pictures if I have to, but I prefer that they do their own talking. I could also talk a lot about myself, but I think it’s so more interesting to listen to what others have to say about themselves.
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: Let’s just say that life is too short to have a long attention span for uninteresting subjects.
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: I’ve always liked to express myself in lots of different creative ways, even when I was a little kid. It could be drawing, modelling clay, writing music and lyrics and other stuff. I don’t claim to actually be any good in any of those art forms, and I’m sure I sucked at at least a couple of them. But I loved doing them, and that’s the important part, because they made it possible for me to experiment, have fun and express things in a creative way. In a way they pointed me towards photography, and when I found it, I knew it was the art form that suited me best.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: No, not really. But I can remember a couple of early ones that made me go “SHIT”…
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: None whatsoever, and I’m very proud of being self taught! I’ve taken quite a few workshops and courses after I actually became a photographer, but I consider those more inspirational than educational.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: Photography is extremely technical in itself, and now more than ever, thanks to digital cameras and Photoshop. Sometimes it can be hard to escape the technical sides of photography even if you want to. But I like to think that my basis for making images is my heart, feelings and my intuition.
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: I try to compose the picture so no cropping is needed afterwards. But if I don’t succeed, I have nothing against post-production cropping. And sometimes I want picture ratios other than what the camera gives me, like squares and panoramas, and then I have to crop.
Q: Where is your favourite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: I’m happy here in Norway, even though it’s not exactly the centre of international fashion photography… It really doesn’t take that much time travelling anywhere in the world any longer, so I can go anywhere I want, make the pictures that my customers want, and come back here. Norway still is a rather peaceful and innocent place to live, and that suits me fine.
Q: Define the word “beauty”!
A: You can find beauty in everything and nothing. It only depends on your mood and how you choose to see the world. Open your eyes and you can find beauty in everything.
Q: What is your most favourite and least favourite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: Actually I have three least favourite words: “No”, “Maybe” and “But”. My favourite word is “Yes”. It’s great to say yes, both in life and in photography.
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: I’m very much a people person, both in real life and when looking through the camera. I don’t think my personality changes that much when I have a camera, it’s only amplified.
The picture taking process is so fun and rewarding, and I get lots of energy and joy from it. I try to connect the best I can with my subjects, and I very often get to hear afterwards that I’m easy to work with, and make people feel comfortable in front of the camera. That’s something I really appreciate to hear, and important to me, because I work hard to achieve just that. To make the whole team on both sides of the camera feel well on the set.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: I don’t care too much, because if they are missed, they are gone, and it doesn’t help if I keep whining about it. When that happens, I’ll just have to work harder to make an even better shot than the one I missed.
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: Yes, it would be cocky not to, and I’m not a very cocky person.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: I’m influenced by a lot of imagery, and it’s the images that impress and inspire me. I don’t get too hung up on the names behind them, but I enjoy the work from people like Penn, Avedon, Bailey, Newton, Testino, and a bunch of the really old painters and artists like Rembrandt, Michelangelo and DaVinci.
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: That’s easy! All the pictures of my wife, and especially those related to our wedding, because they’re so personal.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: I get up, kiss my wife, get my equipment and go to meet the team and/or the client. We establish a relaxed, open minded and productive atmosphere, put on some music, have loads of fun and try to make the best pictures we possibly can. Then we pack up, hug and go home, and I get to kiss my wife again. We have dinner and enjoy some quality time together, and then maybe kiss some more…
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: Producing better work tomorrow than I did today.
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: Time. There’s just not enough of it to do everything I’d like to.
Q: What are your favourite subjects to photograph?
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!
A: We did a large fashion and style related photoshoot over 8 days in a studio not so long ago. There was a big team, with cameras tethered to computers and everything fancy and high-tech. And each time I pressed the trigger on my camera, the shot of course came up on the computer screen, and the client watched and paid close attention throughout the day.
She even picked out the favourites as we went along. The shoot was coming to an end, when suddenly she (the client) asks me in her sweetest voice, “I know it’s not planned, but we need a couple of extra photos of the model in this dress. Do you have any more film left?”.
Since the pictures showed up immediately on the computer screen in front of her all day long, I could have put money on that she understood that we where digital. So it caught me a little bit off guard. Then I couldn’t resist it, and said a little bit cheeky, “Yes, I brought a couple of extra rolls just in case!”.
She was so relieved, smiled and said “Oh great!!!”. So I shot the pictures and they popped up on her screen, and she loved them and thanked me. She’s such a sweet lady. A little bit naïve and not too technical, but she’s aware of it. Charming lady!
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
Q: Do you ever have photographer’s block and if yes how do you deal with it?
A: I think it’s a bit like with athletes. Your daily form comes into the equation. When you do have those tougher days, you have to work even harder to deliver. Because you have to deliver. The client expects it. But music is a fantastic tool to get you back in the right mood and state of mind.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Fashion series, people and portraits. Both editorial, commercial and catalogue work. And I do a few weddings as well, fashion style. I just love the mood and the atmosphere of weddings.
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: B&W is beautiful, and when done right, you get a picture than will last forever. But my clients don’t use it very much.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: No not really. I’m an image maker. I’m just catching reality and creating fantasy. I think the word artist has lost its meaning in many ways. I’ll give you an example. I rented a studio for 2.5 year in a big beautiful building that was owned by a so called “artist”.
She’s an 80 year old Norwegian-Finnish lady, that paints big canvasses of rectangles and lines in red, blue and a couple of other colors all day long. She puts cotton threads on the canvas, and paints along the lines. Just like children’s drawings in books where you have to draw lines from number 1 through to 100 to reveal the picture. That’s all she does. They all look more or less the same, and they sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
They call her an artist. To me that is the emperor’s new clothes and way beyond, and really just makes me angry. It’s just too easy. Children’s drawings are more interesting. When I think of artists, I think of people like DaVinci, Michelangelo, Bernini, Munch and others.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: Natural and emotional.
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
A: I don’t really know.
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows…
A: Impossible, because then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, would it…?!
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: I’d like to shoot a couple of politicians with a slingshot or something to see if they woke up and saw the real world…
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: I’m sure I could have done lots of things differently, but they’re already done, so it’s nothing I can do about it. To me, becoming a photographer was a very personal process, and I had to learn from my own mistakes, not others.
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: There is so much talk about how awful these paparazzis really are, and at the same time the best selling magazines are those with the pictures made by these people. We have ourselves to blame. To me, paparazzis do take pictures, but I don’t consider them photographers. Photography is something entirely different. They’re basically snappers. But so are alligators…
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: It’s a natural part of the image making process, and no different than the traditional darkroom, only more advanced. It’s called evolution. I’m sure there was a time when cave drawings were seen as radical new technology…
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: Be well, live well, smile, have fun and be good to others.