Patrik Andersson is a Swedish born photographer and film director residing in New York City. He is known for evocative black and white portraiture work as well as fashion, editorial and celebrity photography and filmography. Originally from Gothenburg, Sweden, Andersson immigrated to the States in the 1990s and carved a career for himself in photography, eventually working with the likes of David Lynch, Ray Charles, President Bill Clinton, Kate Moss, and companies like Calvin Klein and Rag & Bone. Andersson’s work has also been featured in publications Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vanity Fair.

Andersson’s interest in photography was sparked at an early age of 12, when his mother brought back glossy magazines from a camera factory where she used to work at in Sweden. Ever since then the photographer has been inspired to create and eternalize those beautiful moments through his expression of photography, writing, and film projects.

To connect with Patrik Andersson head over to his official website at www.patrikandersson.com or follow him at https://instagram.com/individualeye/

6Who are you and what do you do?
I am primarily a classical photographer with a deep interest in cinema. Expressing myself in images, moving or not, has been my lifelong passion. I was born in winter Sweden, and come with a baggage of Bergman darkness, a discerning political landscape, a working class suburban wish for a different life, while pouring over the exquisite magazines that my mother brought back from the Hasselblad factory, where she worked.

Tell me about the first time you did anything creative.
Most children are creative all the time, imagining things and inventing their own games. The earliest time when I explored something beyond a childlike creativity was when a buddy and I used our Super 8 movie cameras to create animated cartoons. I was around ten… It was the first time that I can remember really solving the complicated problem of how to actually make something.

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Can you describe your aesthetic?
It’s kind of a yin-yang theory… My home base is black and white portrait photography. But I love taking creative risks and exploring cameras, subjects, lights, attitudes etc… all aspects of an image, really. Although I’ve done documentary photography and events just to try it out, I found that’s not my cup of tea.

What are you currently working on?
Apart from continually building on my portrait collection, I’m expanding into the art world by selling edition prints, as well as shooting various fashion jobs, film, and photography. My largest project now is probably my writing for a feature film.

What would the 5 year old you say about the work you’re creating right now?
My work is not aimed at 5 year olds. The 12 or 17 year old me would be excited for the ride.

What are you terrified of?
When I was young, I used to trek around north of Sweden and camp in the Himalayas and so on. I am annoyed now that I can’t go camping in the Yukon. My fear (unrealistic or not) of Grizzly bears keeps me from it. Same with waves—these huge waves that combine to create monster waves that just crush little boats. This fear keeps me from sailing across the ocean. But an everyday day fear? It’s that gnawing annoyance I feel when I sit for too long on a project, and fear that my procrastination will take over. It’s a fear of not living up to my potential.

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When was the first time you ever used a camera? What was it like discovering this medium?
First time I remember was a picture my dad took of a lonely tree when I was around six years old. It was the first time I saw somebody make a photograph of something other than just family pictures, and I realized something then. There was this lone picture of a single tree at the top of a hill in our family album forever afterwards. It stood out to me.

Later on, by accident my cousin happened to have two super 8 cameras and I was given one. I loved it right away. I was ten years old. There was a friend of mine who also had one and we started doing trick photography making ourselves fly and animating cars in the sandbox. Wonderful fun.

However a huge discovery was the magazines that my mother took home from the Hasselblad factory where she worked. They were filled with top photographers’ images from all over the world. I was sick and resting at home at about 12 years old at the time, and I took out a big stack that I hadn’t really looked at before. I had played with the super 8 camera as a happy amateur, but now I saw something else. Ansel Adams had his own issue, and I remember a guy photographing just swans in Japan. This was no longer about playing, it was precision. The shots were not documentary TV pictures from bad stuff happening around the world, they were images capturing beauty. From that moment on… I was hooked and wanted to become a photographer. I craved to be able to make images of a high quality, and I dedicated all my pocket money to buying dark room equipment. I could use the Hasselblad camera as mom could borrow it a week at a time from the factory.

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You do more than just shoot photos though, can you tell me about your writing and production work?
I have been writing for many years now, did my first attempt at a script for a movie mid-90s. It is a long learning curve. Took me a lot of years before I became professional with my photography, so I have been patient with my writing shaping up over the years. I feel I am getting closer now. There is a script I have in the second rewrite that deals with fashion. I have also done a few short fashion movies for different clients that touch creatively with my bigger project, kind of as rehearsals.

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What’s holding you back?
I am not sure I would call it holding back… When you are evolving creatively you enter new areas, and there is stuff that you didn’t anticipate that you had to learn. So you have to spend time figuring out how to get through to the other side. It isn’t held back, it is just that the road happened to be steeper, longer, more complex or whatever than you anticipated. At the moment for the film, it is about polishing a story structure that seems true and yet have a kind of logic of symmetry.

If you couldn’t be a writer or a film-maker or a photographer, what would you do?
Anything that would keep me engaged with people at a deep level, I could still talk right? So I would have conversations, travel, I would see things and enjoy the world and its people. Do I have to make money to? Jeez, such pressure…I am sure it would take care of itself somehow.

What else should I know?
I wouldn’t want to answer that for you, as you should explore whatever things you are interested in, but if I had to say one thing, I’d recommend to dig into the spiritual side of things. To read the wisdom books, explore meditation and go hang out with spiritual communities and see what jives with you.

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