When you notice the work of Fine Art Photographer Kai within his Instagram feed, you will notice three things. His use of a beautiful Muse, a mix of still life and a consistent has classic fimic feel, with his rich, warm tones in his monochrome resembling the classic selenium toned Afa papers we used to know and love. His work is like a palette of finely mixed paint ready to apply to his canvas of photography where he mixes fine art still life images alongside his beautiful portraits of his Muse, Sanna. She has the perfect classic looking features for such work, and his use of monochrome sets the bar high for others to emulate. Many photographers prefer not to work with the same subject, but Kai and his Instagram show how having amuse can create consistency as the painter of light. Kai is Norwegian and an ex-professional photographer, educating as a high school teacher in The visual Arts.
Kai, can I ask you what was your original desire to become a photographer,
My first meeting with photography was in school. The class was going around and took pictures of everything. It was in the darkroom that I witnessed the magic. The white paper slowly became a photograph. It took years before I bought my own camera.
Not everyone follows a direct path into photography. I know I didn’t, but how did your path begin?
I worked as a professional assistant at the County photographer in my county for four years. This is where I developed my craft and ideas for my style of photography. We provided photographic services for museums and book publishers. It was, in a way, technical photography. A lot of flashes and expensive equipment was the daily routine.
Where are you based?
I live in Hokksund, a small town right outside of Oslo. I think it´s good to be living here
What helped create your style, and who do you follow for inspiration.
I think I found my photographic style in the darkroom. Sanna is my muse, and I like to photograph her. And I hope the best photograph of her by me is not made yet. I grew up with an artistic family. My mother was drawing and painting. My father dragged me around in art museums. So I think I always had an interest in making art/pictures. I think that I am a kind of old school in my style. When I photograph, I try to see before me the final result. So the light, backdrop, place and my mood play a part in the final look. I use Bowens flashes with softboxes. In many portraits, I point the flash to the ceiling and create a soft light that way.
What lighting would you normally use for your portraits? Many appear to be daylight?
I have Bowens flash lightning with two. What is your camera system, how many do you have, and why? Softboxes. I use my old Nikon D3 and Nikon D3X. When I shot on film, the Bronica Sq-A was my choice. And for fun, I have a film Polaroid 600 SE, which is great and gives me some great results. I generally use two cameras in my work, Two lenses 70-200 f 2.8 (Nikkor and Sigma. Nikkor 14 -24 f 2.8. Nikkor 105 mm f 2.8 and Nikkor 50 mm f 1.8. I photograph in Raw + Jpeg. Photoshop for adjustment and b/w on my 27 iMac.
I find my inspiration in beautiful things and seeing other photographers work. I like art very much. Rome is king. Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen is a must for me. And Fotografiska in Stockholm is a great place to see photographs. The National portrait gallery in London is fantastic. So there is always an effect in my work to be in these beautiful places. What are your favourite magazines? My favourite magazines for the last few years is Acne Paper and Revs Magazine.
My muse Sanna and me and one flash to the ceiling. Relaxed and simple. I think Vogue could be my dream client. It could be fun and inspiring to work with famous models
I miss working with Polaroid. When I was shooting on Polaroid, my favourite film was 665 positive/negative. This gave wonderful results in the darkroom. Sometimes, I create my own digital Polaroids in Photoshop, which are never the same but give you a similar effect. I sometimes think to emulate these processes, and there is a need to have a little imperfection in all the digital processing.
If you would like to follow the work of Kai, then please follow this link to his Instagram feed HERE.