Interview of South African Photographer Kent Andreasen

Kent Andreasen (b.1991) is a dynamic photographer based at Cape Town, South Africa. His photographic vision directs his camera to mundane objects or situations and adds to them a flavor that create a tasteful image. He captures such things in his frame which we tend to overlook in our desire to find something concretely fascinating. There’s a subtle humor in his work that is sort of clean and clear with less layers or a complicated path to follow. It is colorful, bold, and a product of minute observations. Let’s get to know more about his process and preferences in this informative interview:

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (2)Please tell us about yourself and your relationship with photography:

I’m based in Cape Town, South Africa where I grew up. My relationship with photography is sometimes hard for me to describe. Its forms a massive part of my life as both a mode of expression and a means of making a living. Its helps me come to terms with how I interact with the various situations I find myself in from the mundane to the obscure.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (3)There’s a very diverse body of work (portrait, travel, landscape, lifestyle, etc.) available on your website. What kind of images does you like shooting most?

I get asked the question a lot and I try and answer as conscientiously as I can. It’s not so much about subject matter as it is about the style in which I shoot. I like to stick to an aesthetic that I’m constantly trying to cultivate.  I enjoy shooting various subjects and feel like I can adapt depending on the situation.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (4)How do you view your evolution as a photographer? How much does the monetization of your work matter to you? 

I like to remain highly critical of my own work as I feel the harder I am on my work the quicker my work develops. In my opinion one has to be constantly conscious of how they shoot, paint, write, train or eat. We need to be aware and be constantly forcing questions upon ourselves in order to evolve and grow.  To answer your question the evolution is constant and I would hope at a steady pace. Monetization of work does play a vital role or it has at least it has in my work.  Firstly, it allows you to build capital to travel, make personal work, fund book projects/ exhibitions and to survive. Secondly, working for clients teaches about collaboration, compromise and high stress situations that can be channelled into other facets of your photography. It weeds out the photography you thought you may have wanted to shoot and clarifies how you perceive the line between the work you want to be making from the work you knows is just a means to an end .

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (5)Tell us about your method(s) or critical approaches of shooting?

Up until now I have always gone about photography without much planning in terms of subject matter. I would rather put myself into situations and work from there because there is no telling how I will respond. In fact, I think to a certain extent it would be naïve for me to think I could control variables. I draw a rough outline of what I want from a project and then I go out there and see how I can fill that project “space” as it were.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (6)Tell us about your various/current projects and your publications/photo book:

I’m working on curating and compiling my new book that is comprised of various photographs I shot in Europe and the U.S.A over the past 4 and half months. It’s based on the idea of a guestbook and how one can never feel apart of places dynamic while move so sporadically through a place. My previous publication was self published and I think photographers should go that route for their first publication as you get to learn a lot from the process and get an understanding of how it all pieces together. Having said that, in South Africa it’s a lot harder to self publish as the costs are through the roof. With the type of book I’m trying to create for this new project I hope to find someone to publish it for me. I think this will take a bit of the weight off my shoulders and allow me to focus on the finer details rather than the logistics.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (7)Tell us about the equipment (camera and lenses) you mostly use and why. What is your workflow and editing preferences?

Mamiya 7, Mamiya 645m, Pentax Sp500, Contax G2 and Nikonos IV. Gear talk and specs are not something that I feel is that worth talking about, as it’s just a tool. The tool does not determine the outcome it’s only a means to facilitate.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (8)What do you think about contemporary photography (current trends, social media, photography as a career, etc.)?

The world of photography, whether it be the old school works or the contemporary platforms, I find them both exciting because there is a lot to learn from. I wish the community were more about sharing ideas and allowing younger photographers to breakdown the so-called ivory tower of the art world. Photography should be accessible to everyone not just people who can afford to drink wine and visit galleries. Its something I have been thinking about a lot recently and how people go about accessing art. Being from Southern Africa and seeing how the majority of people don’t have that luxury is disconcerting and I hope to work on a project in the next few months documenting the relationship between people from disadvantaged backgrounds and how they perceive and gain access to the arts.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (9)In terms of social media, I’m all for using it to scatter work across the internet in the hope that it will catch somewhere and open doors to new work, projects, people and collaborations. It’s obviously about how you go about using it and we are all different and need to gear our online presence to fit what we want to get out of it.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (10)Photography as a career is a tricky one. I know its damn hard out there especially if you trying to stick to what you feel is representative of your values and ideas. It’s easy to go the commercial route for money and be successful doing that. Maybe easy is the wrong word but I see a lot of people around me who just see it as job and that must be hard. I would think it would be hard to maintain a career going about it that way. My approach up until this point and into the future is to stick to my guns.  Give into certain jobs as a means to an end. Control the work you put out and continuously try and make new work even if you do not publish it so that you stay fresh and aware.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (1)What are your future plans/projects, ambitions etc.?

My futures plans and end goal would to be able to work and make personal work in Africa for half of the year and use the other six months working overseas between Europe and America with various trips planned across the world. I want to be able to travel constantly through my work. I ultimately would want to be a part of an agency like Magnum and be able to exhibit work from Southern Africa that I feel is honest and representative of myself and my own personal interaction with its people and places.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (11)Please share your favorite stuff: photographers, quotes, inspirations, films, books, music etc.

Stephan Shore, Tim Hetherington, John Mellish, Kyle Weeks, Harley Weir, Kenny Hurtado ,Future Islands, War On drugs, Here I am, The Ocean, Sleep, Thomas Prior, Gregory Halpern, Bryan Schutmaat, Andrew Querner, Nich Hance McElroy, Sean Wilson, The Future.

The National, Grizzly Bear, Fear, The realization that you will always be chasing , Animals, A good burger, Fake Flavored Strawberry milkshakes. The Growlers. James Blake’s cover of Sound of Silence. The idea that the world could come to an end at any moment, Images from space, People who cut the shit, Cold Beers and Africa.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (12)Something to say to our readers or aspiring photographers:

Take images. Take a lot of them , Think about them , look at them but actually look at them. Love them for a short while and then hopefully hate them. Don’t let yourself be bullied and make work that will get you up rain or shine to make more. The day you don’t enjoy it is the day you should throw your camera in the sea.

Kent-Andreasen-Photography (13) Kent-Andreasen-Photography (14) Kent-Andreasen-Photography (15) Kent-Andreasen-Photography (16) Kent-Andreasen-Photography (17)All photos © Kent Andreasen : Website | Tumblr | Instagram

About Nishant Mishra

Nishant studied art history and literature at the university during 1990s. He works as a translator in New Delhi, India and likes to read about arts, photography, films, life-lessons and Zen.

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