Meet a photographer: Simon Wallerstedt

Simon Wallerstedt in a shutter click

Simon Wallerstedt. Born on 17-Sept-1984 and living in Sweden.

Main camera: Nikon D90.
Main lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D (although I’ve found that I want something wider on the crop sensor).
Post-processing software:
Adobe Lightroom 3.
Favorite lighting:
Sunlight, I like the shadows.
Favorite time to make photographs:
Anytime, depends on what I’m shooting.
Favorite season to make photographs:
Autumn.
Favorite music while making photographs: Elliott Smith, Circle Takes the Square, or early Springsteen.
Your dream equipment:
It’s kind of a cliché, but I have to say Leica M9 with a 35mm lens.
Favorite photographer:
Henri Cartier-Bresson and Susan Burnstine.
Favorite quote related to photography: “Gear is good, vision is better.” – David DuChemin

Simon Wallerstedt, street photographer

Why photography? What do you hope to achieve?
I feel like this is what I was born to do, not because I’m good at it, but because of the way it makes me feel. It makes me happy. It feels so natural to me. I can truly be myself to a much greater extent than anything else. I want to show the world as I see it, and show others what catches my interest. I want to capture brief moments in time that pass us by so quickly that we often don’t even notice them. A photograph is able keep those moments, and give us time to see and understand all that happened in that split second of time. I want to tell stories with my pictures.

Which photograph do you consider reveals the beauty of something/someone other people usually consider ugly? How so?
There is something about old, decaying industrial buildings (and other similar things) that I find really fascinating. I think there is a depressive, raw beauty to it. In this photo I like the rugged feel of the building, and also how the different straight lines work together with the graffiti. A kind of order versus chaos.

Which photograph do you consider was kind of funny to make? Why?

I was photographing this wall when this man walked into my frame, stopped and looked up towards the sky. The buildings were under construction, and that’s probably what he was looking at. I’m very grateful, for without him, this would’ve been a very boring picture.

What style attracts you most? Why?
I like different styles, but street photography is what I’m most passionate about. I feel that there is a certain honesty and spontaneity to a good street photograph, that I haven’t found in other styles. I think that’s what really attracts me to it. I mostly work in Black and White; I love the look of it. I have nothing against color, it’s beautiful and a lot of pictures wouldn’t work without it. But more often than not, I find color to distract from the message (or story) of the photograph.

How far do you go with post-processing?
I usually convert to Black and White, maybe crop the image, adjust the contrast slightly and correct the exposure (if needed). When I started out, I used to experiment and play around more with different effects, but I’ve found that simple black and white works best for me most of the time.

What motivates you to grab the camera and go make a photograph?
My love for photography, and also the hope of coming back with something special. But mostly just because there’s nothing better and more satisfying than to be out photographing.

Tell us about a weird thing you do or a weird habit you have before a photoshoot:
Not really weird, but I check my batteries and memory cards and things like that. Lately I’ve also started to turn the LCD image review off. I find that it makes me focus more on the actual shooting.

Describe your feelings during a photoshoot:
I feel really good! I’m happy and excited. I’m doing something I love, and it brings me joy.

Did you ever cross borders in photography?
Now this is a tough one.. I think everyone has a different opinion about this. If you’re exploiting other people’s misfortune, that’s crossing those limits, if you ask me. Say for example photos of homeless people (which seems to be a heavily debated subject), I don’t think it’s unethical as long as it’s made with respect for the person. If, on the other hand, it is made just to get a “cool” shot, it is wrong. If a person clearly doesn’t want to be photographed, I won’t make a picture. It all comes down to showing respect and compassion for other people.

3 tips / advice to other photographers:

  1. Don’t go anywhere without a camera.
  2. Experiment and try different styles to find out what’s best for you.
  3. Shoot as much as you can! That’s the best way to learn.

How can we stay updated with your work?
Website/Blog: http://www.simwallphoto.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/simwallphoto
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/simonwallerstedt
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/simonwallerstedt

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