In this Artist Spotlight feature, we asked Norway-based Fashion and Beauty photographer Baard Lunde, a seasoned professional with publications in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, L’Officiel, Marie Claire and others, how he started, who inspires him and what important steps he takes when creating his captivating imagery. As always, we also asked to share his expert advice with our readers who are just starting out at the end of our conversation as well.
2016 is actually my 10th year as a professional photographer, but my journey in this field started many years ago when I was only a teenager. I was obsessed with 35mm analogue cameras, shooting very precisely lit images with available artificial light (in most cases just an ordinary lamp with a 60W bulb).
After a while, I bought my first medium format camera, Mamiya RZ67, which was amazing. I used to develop my own film in the darkroom and I loved the quality the RZ provided. I photographed my first beauty story with the Mamiya in 2006.
HOW I STARTED
I used to be a movie addict: I had my own CRT projector in my room and watched films from my favorite directors such as David Lynch and Tarantino. This has influenced my work in the past few years, prompting me to tell stories with my fashion editorials and personal beauty work.
My obsession with manipulating light (originating back from the early days when I shot with the 60W lamp) has been an important factor in my journey that has brought me to where I am today. I rarely use natural light in my images, I love the process of creating the “mood” in an image from scratch. I’m always trying to find new ways to light the set and I always look at new technology.
As an artist, you have to be able to adapt to current trends but still keep your signature style.
I’m not too interested in awards or winning prizes so I have never paid attention to any of that. But I strive to be recognized and published in the best magazines. International publications in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour Italia are among my highest achievements so far.
HOW I CREATE MY IMAGES
There’s a lot that goes into each shoot, from concept to completion. It’s a long process which I will briefly outline below:
- The first step is pre-production such as collecting reference images for a general mood-board to show the rest of the team;
- Then, the focus goes into model casting (if it’s not a celebrity or cover girl already chosen by the magazine/client);
- Before the shoot, I always make a storyboard outlining all the images I have to capture for that particular idea. I use paper and pencil and draw sketches of my images beforehand, which helps the production day go a lot smoother. A successful shoot is a result of good planning and pre-production. It is the most fun and the least time-consuming part of the process;
- Afterwards, the client and I make a rough edit, choosing which images will go to print;
- Last but not least, the final images are retouched and CMYK-proof prints are sent for color matching.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY?
I strive to create images that make the viewer stop, think and pay attention to them. Each image has to have a meaning. I always want to do better than the last shoot.
This one is a tough question because there are many image makers who are amazing. I like Herb Ritts for his beautiful shapes and concepts. I like Helmut Newton‘s sexy storytelling and Irving Penn‘s lovely portraits. I also find my friend Sølve Sundsbø‘s work very inspiring.
ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS
Some advice I could give to those starting out is to develop your own style. Find out what fascinates you and integrate that into your images, show who you are through your art. There are so many photographers to compete against and you have to stand out. After you’ve established your style, use social media to showcase your images. This will help you find commissioned work and become recognized in the industry.
Try to adapt to new technology.
In regards to retouching, it’s important to not go crazy with it. Nowadays it’s a common mistake that I see a lot of new photographers make. Less is more.