If cameras in a digital age had a soul
My name is Anders T Johansson a full time social worker and freelance photographer living and working out of a small place called Fjugesta in the middle of Sweden. I photograph assignments all over Sweden and destinations.
If you asked me I would say, that specializing in portrait & documentary wedding photography is my main thing, and mostly done in black & white. But a lot of my time also spent on my own personal photography making exhibitions and planning book projects.
I started my photography some 25 years ago, back in high school, as a way to get my grades up, I had to pic an extra course and photography seemed to be the simple thing to do. Before that I had never even thought about photography, I used to draw a lot as young boy but when the magic of negatives becoming prints in the darkroom got my attention and I was hooked.
I remember getting a very used Nikon FM2 with a 50mm lens from the teacher on the first day, with the words, just stay at 125th and about F8 and you will be fine. I took the last 10 frames of that tri-x 400 roll at night and… you get how the outcome of that.
Starting everything with film and the black & white made me slowly see the world in black & white in my mind, for me black & white has all the colors, I am not restrained by anything you put your own color in them.
I still shoot analog today, but not as much as digital. If I have an idea that is better suited for film I will use it. I still have my first camera, a Nikkormat and a bunch of cameras ranging from 35 mm to polaroids and medium format on a shelf at my home. The Olympus 35 RD is still in my camera bag, since 15 years now.
I love going between assignments and my own personal projects, it makes me on edge, always on the lookout for something. I try to let the camera be just a tool, a part of me, the part that just comes along. When shooting work for myself or commercial it’s often the pictures in between the ones you were going to take that counts for me.
I am always looking for the in between moments with presence and connection. I use photography and to photograph is a way of mindfulness. Being a part of what is happening, Seeing and recording everyday life, my life with others.
I sometimes use my commissioned work in my own projects to, if I have been lucky to capture one of those moments.
I try to always carry a camera with me, but I have periods when I don’t photograph at all, and the camera just sits on a shelf, usually happens between December to February when we have so limited light up here in the north. I prefer natural light, even in a studio, I’m not much of a flash or strobe guy.
Currently I tend to go for my Olympus pen F with my favorite lens 17/1.8. It is mostly do to the momo 2 setting on the camera, I love this feature, but It’s a tough call between the Pen F and my OMD E-M5 Mark ll. The OMD E-M5 Mark ll is my absolute favorite digital camera of all times.
I can’t find anything wrong about this camera, it’s fast, fits like a glove, it can be the smallest of cameras yet with the grips It becomes a little bit bigger and perfect tool for portraits, it works in every situation I can do everything i need it too. Even shot video sometimes.
I was a Fujifilm shooter for many years, starting with the x100, before Fuji I fell in love with small cameras and had the first olympus Pen E-P1. When Fuji came along I went all in for about 6 years, using most of the X100 series and X-E series of cameras for personal and commissioned work.
Small cameras liberated me, it made it possible for me to get so close to the subject without interfering. The power of the snapshot, light camera bodys, small lenses and silent mode taking 4-5 frames before any one became aware of you actually taking the shoot.
Olympus was my final go to camera brand, loved the Fujis but there was something about the Olympus cameras that made me end up with them. If cameras in a digital age had a soul, referring to the talk on old film cameras. Then both Olympus and Fujifilm have, that’s my feeling. A big part of that feeling is probably the vintage look.
My Olympus gear today
Cameras: Olympus Pen F, Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark ll
Lenses: Olympus 17/1.8, Olympus 45/1.8, Panasonic 25/1.7, Olympus 75/1.8, Olympus 45/1.2. The 75mm & 45mm f/1.2 I borrow this ones when I need that extra background blur in a portrait. I also have a M42 adapter for my vintage lenses. But mostly I just stick with primes classics as eqv 35mm 50mm 90mm.
I have tried a lot of M43 lenses, my favorite is this one, the Olympus 45/1.2. I don’t own it, but I used it a lot. Nothing can go wrong with his one. I shot with Canons, Nikons, and Fujifilm and more but when it comes to a portrait lens this is the best one. The swirling bokeh is pure magic. Compared with the baby brother the 1.8? I beats it, it has too considering the price tag on it. But is it by a lot? Not for me, if money was no issue, well then I have it already.
But I still love the 1.8 for a lot of reasons, image quality, price and its so small. The Olympus Pro line primes I will get for my commercial work in the future, fantastic lenses! Personal documentary and family, I will probably stick with my 1,8 lenses do to the size, image quality and balance of them.
My workflow and digital darkroom is quite basic I think, I use Lightroom for all my work, I only spend about 5 to 10 minutes at most on one image. I mix between my own presets, VSCO or Lookfilter. I use a PC and some external drives to save my work, I’m not a technical guy but I am going to do some changes to my workflow this year. For social media I tend to just go from camera wifi to phone and run them thru VSCO cam and publish.
I print a lot of my images myself, on my old Canon Pro 9000 mark ll. At this moment I am looking to upgrade to a new version. I always print everything myself when it comes to my exhibitions and sometimes for portrait sessions. I love having a printed image in my hand, that’s where it becomes real for me. In the end of the year I will send all my personal family images and get 10×15 prints made.
My daughter is 8 years old and she has her own album with prints from newborn and forward, sometimes I can find her sitting in her room looking at the pictures. Sometimes we laugh about it together and she says, it was worth it having a camera in the face all the time growing up.
See you out there! Best regards and thank you!
Anders T Johansson born in Skara 1976, Swedish photographer working on commercial assignments across the country. Personal projects, exhibitions & books. Teaches photography for study promotion and organizes own workshops. Based in Fjugesta, Örebro County, Sweden
Education / ABF Gothenburg, darkroom technology. Journalism writing & image, Media, Studying Gothenburg. Working as a freelance photographer since 2004. With assignments in advertising, fashion, music & portraits. Works with analogue & digital image.