Listen to the interview in Swedish!
So Alexandra, who the hell are you?
Hi! I study at ”Fotoskolan Stockholm”, which is a great school to be at as it has a great status and so much creativity in it! I’ve been there for 1 year and have about done half of the course. Right now we are working with moving image and after the summer Im going on an internship.
What is the moving image that you’re working on?
It is a music video for a swedish hip-hop artist. The theme is a cliché, the suburbs, the swedish ”ghetto”. But it needs to be approved by my tutor before I can start filming. But Ive worked on a script that uses the lyrics to create the environment, a quite dreamy ambitious one.
Is it normal to do moving image on a photography course?
Yes, I would say so, at least when they are broad courses like this one is. I have filmed some before, already in early education. Im a big fan of film so it really a great thing to be able to study as well. I like to do adverts and music videos but feature film would be great to also.
I don't really have a favorite director or film but I take things from every film, even if they’re bad. There is always something to learn from a film. Like I watched La La Land, which isn't a great film. But the cinematography is stunning, I mean he won an Oscar for it!
So what did you do before you started studying this course?
I actually studied Media and Communication at ”JMK” at Stockholm University, that was extremely fun, after that I spent some time at different companies, mostly focused on fashion but also promotion agencies. A lot of those were internships, mainly during the summers. But I know I wanted to take it further and do something more practical, like photography.
As an photographer, what is your style?
That style that they talk so much about at uni? Exactly! It is a hard thing to find for sure. I panicked about that at first but I came to sense and thought, why rush, now I’m at this photography school, TO find that out, what my style is. So I’m taking the time to experiment all the different styles and I think my style will eventually show itself or at least grow out from the experience.row out from the experience.
Have you found it by now?
No, I’m not sure, I’ve started to reflect on my photos more, compared to before when I just shot the pictures and did the edit, without thinking really. So maybe I am starting to see a pattern in what I do. I really like to shoot movement, strong characters.. people really! I like to have a story in the photo, done a bit of documentary stuff. I have though mainly been in the studio because I really like the control of lightning and your surroundings. I really enjoy taking more natural shots as well, it requires a different mindset and a lot more perseverance. In the studio you create from scratch, make you own world, outside you document the world and its creations.
In post-production, do you have any must do’s?
I try to do as little as possible to my pictures. I take my time, in the studio, to really get the expression and light that I am aiming towards. I only aim to enhance those in post-production. Though I have started to collaborate with professional Photo Editors because it is very interesting to see where it can go, and it gives you a great perspective, if you, like me, aren't used to a lot of post-production.
Where are you going? Where is this place? Who do you want to become?
That is the question isn't it. Im open to many situations, which is good because then you don't feel to bad if it changes direction. But I obviously like to use my education to its fullest, I like to use to story to my photos as I studied a bit of journalism, I will see where my internships takes me next year but assisting photographers are the closest ambition and it will probably take me on unknown journeys for sure. Freelancing would be great if/when I have the network and connections to get regular work. I wasn't sure if I was going to do this course as it isn't a ”secure” job to aspire to. But if you want to get where you want, you just have to do what is necessary.
What advice can you give to people in your shoes or who are thinking into doing what you do?
I would really like to push on the contact, and being brave -
be brave and contact the people you would dream to work with.
I have called photographers and just introduced myself,
why I am calling and asking if they have any spots available or
maybe at least could give me feedback on my photography.
This is incredibly easy but hard as its scary,
if you get a bad call you might get yelled at but that is also the
worst thing that could happen, and to be honest, not so bad.
Usually, most of the times, people are happy for the admiration and
confirmation they get because you are giving it to them.
Most artists and photographers have been in your position
and are nice enough to maybe give you a chance,
ESPECIALLY if you are calling them. That is the big one - don't text them,
or email them or send them a letter, give them a CALL.
It is hard to say no to a friendly voice, and it gives you much more sense
of who you are because tone and feel is there, in the voice.
An email is so easy to forget.
So call you idols, just do it.
Thank you Alexandra Schuman for sharing! We will see more from you soon!