A photographer, traveler, and avid fan of Andrei Tarkovsky, our Hero of the Week, Esben Bøg – Jensen, takes us to an intimate journey full of beautiful women, quiet places, and the delicate thrill of his photographys uncovering the feelings deeply hidden in all of us. Why don’t you read through our interview below and join us in exploring Esben’s enigmatic world?
Please tell us a little about yourself, where you are from, and what you do.
I’m from Denmark – that small country Bernie Sanders keeps talking about. I’ve been living for around 8 years in Copenhagen by now and recently finished my studies at a university. I studied Modern Culture and finished with a thesis about transcendence in art. What a glorious waste of everyone’s time! Apparently nobody wants to hire you when that’s all you can do.
How would you personally describe your style of photography? What message/s do you try to convey through your images?
I have no idea really – it started as a hobby, but became something much more over time. I think it’s only recently that I’ve been able to think of it as art, or at least use that context when talking about it. I guess what I’ve always been looking for are those small moments where everything makes sense. Those tiny or grandiose situations that make you appreciate life, but at the same time come to some sort of realization of your own mortality.
Which elements of shooting film are you drawn to the most?
The craftsmanship of it. I’ve never been much of a gear guy. I absolutely love those special film cameras you can find here and there and the wonderful photos they take, but to me it’s getting the film developed and scanning it on my Canonscan 8800 that really draws me in. It makes me feel like I’m handling some tangible. And the thought about being actual light on paper and not just ones and zeros really appeal to me.
What would you say is your greatest inspiration?
Music, movies, books, art, nature, everything really. In recent years, it has been the movies of Andrei Tarkovsky that comes to mind most often when asked that question.
Name someone whose art makes you shiver.
Sally Mann, Wim Wenders, Elliott Erwin, Debussy, the aforementioned Andrei Tarkovsky, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas’s debut album Illmatic gets me every time, Tarantino flicks…. The list goes on – too many things to mention.
If you had to choose a camera + film to shoot with for the rest of your life, which combo would it be and why?
I think I’d go with my Mamiya 7. It’s a brilliant medium format camera.
Can you share the weirdest situation you’ve faced being a film photographer?
I don’t think I have one. I once bought a bunch of film from eBay, all expired and all 12 shots per roll. Perhaps more stupid than weird.
If you had to choose a movie that defines you both, personally and aesthetically, which one would it be?
Stalker by Tarkovsky. I’ll stop mentioning him now.
Do you remember the photo you took that made you feel proud for the first time? Can you share it with us?
Yes, it’s the photo of a girl floating in water. I really thought that one hit the spot.
If you could time travel to the past and be the assistant of a great photographer, who would it be?
Richard Avedon – but probably only because I would get to travel a lot and meet all of these iconic characters.
At Whattaroll, we believe that inspiration can come from many different sides. Can you write down and share with us a paragraph from the book you’re reading at the moment?
It’s in Danish and it’s an artsy one, so I could not do it justice. It was a gift from my ex-girlfriend. The name of the book is Lageret, Huset, Marie.
Describe your shooting routine.
Load the film. Take pictures.
Speaking of portraits, who’s the face you’d love to photograph but haven’t had the chance to have in front of your camera yet?
Tom Waits, of course.
Who do you think we should feature in the next Hero of the Week section?
See more of Esben’s work in the links below: