agnes thor's photography interview

by sophie kalagas

Agnes Thor's photographs send an icy chill slipping down our spines, in the best possible way. Besides having a name that sounds like an awesome Scandinavian superhero, Agnes shoots beautiful wintry photos that conjure up tales of sun-dappled forests and sweet Swedish romance.

Nowadays she's based in the centre of city life in the Big Apple, but that doesn't stop her returning to her home country on the regular to capture more of its beauty. We contacted Agnes to ask a few questions about her craft.


What is your name and how old are you?
Agnes Thor, I’m 27.

Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in Örebro, Sweden, and now live in New York City.


How does where you grew up and where you live now affect your photography?
I grew up on the countryside and the area around my house has been a constant background and subject in my work, so it has influenced it a lot. The place I’m in now is very different to that, I don’t shoot that much in the city, so in a way it has forced me to travel a lot more to find new locations.

What areas, things or people in your neighborhoods do you most like to photograph?
Since I travel mostly to shoot, the only things I photograph close to home are my friends when they come by my house, and I’ve begun to do still lives with flowers from a botanical garden nearby.


What do you shoot on (digital or analogue) and why do you choose to use that type?
I use both; it depends on what I have on hand, and what project I’m working on. If it’s a client – it depends on what their budget and timeline is like.

Is there a certain camera or type of film that you wish you could own?
I just got a Contax T3 that I really love, and I’ve glanced at some Zeiss-lenses for my DSLR recently, but in general I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got.


Is there a running theme to the work you create, or do you just make whatever comes to mind?
I work with specific projects or series, and I always have a theme in mind. In my latest project I worked with the idea of utopia, and the one I’m currently working on is focused on aspects of Life and Death.

What kinds of ideas and things are you working on at the moment?
I’ve been really focused on different aspects of Death for the past few months - the rituals related to it and myths about it. But since my project is concerning life too I’m now doing research on the idea of eternal youth.

What kinds of subjects interest you the most?
I love photographing portraits right now, so people are my favourite subject.


Do you prefer to create set-up photographs, or just wander the streets until you see a photo?
I do a mix of setups and also photograph things that I come across when I travel; I prefer to wander in nature as opposed to streets to find things to shoot. You can see some of my photography work coming up with Rekorderlig Cider. I’ve been lucky enough to join them as a Beautifully Swedish Ambassador.

If you were to teach a photography appreciation class, what kind of lessons would you try to teach your students?
I would begin with basics, like aperture and speed - an art that can get lost in the world of automatic cameras - and encourage them to learn their equipment, whatever they choose to work on. Then my suggestion would be for them to experiment, and have a fun, in the process finding what subjects and techniques work for them.


What are some of the challenges that you are facing in modern times as a photographer?
Budgets being cut due to the economy and that there is such a large number of photographers today.

What is the strangest thing or thought that has inspired a photo?
There’s a grave belonging to my namesake great-grandmother that was one of the things that sparked the project “La Mort La Vie” that I’m currently working on. It was a pretty strange feeling to see it.

What other budding photographers do you love?
My friends Jody Rogac and Sara Cwynar are both amazing and talented, but I’d say they’re more established than budding.


What do you enjoy doing when not taking photos?
Hanging out with my friends, hiking, riding horses, having a cocktail somewhere, watching movies and cooking.

Where can we see more of your work?
On my website.  I also have an instagram where I post things from my daily life: agneskarin.


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