Interview with Helge Skodvin

Meet Helge Skodvin.

Skodvin is a Norwegian photographer. When searching for photographs he prefers driving around with his large format (4×5) camera available. He can enjoy driving for a whole day and only take two exposures, simply because of the beauty of the slow process and in the same way; the slowness, and the magic, of the darkroom procedures when he returns from his journeys. Among his highlights I mention the Grand Prize in the international Polaroid contest in 2003 and the exhibition at Fotografiens Hus in Oslo two years ago.

B Can you recall a specific day when you set yourself a goal to become a photographer or was it more of a slow process where you realised, bit by bit, what you wanted to do?

H It was a slow process I guess, but I recall the day when I decided to quit my day job and leave that behind. I was working as a carpenter, and on this day I was working on rebuilding a site that had been totally destroyed by fire. I almost like said to myself “no way, that´s it”. And I shut down the machines and went home. And from then it has only been photography.

B What drew you towards photography?

H The magic of the red lamp and the drakroom. The intense smell of fix. Ah, it doesent get any better than that.

B You’ve lived in Oslo, London and currently in Bergen, but in your photographs I can sense there is a focus on small communities and also a longing for deserted places, empty roads and dark landscapes. Do you think by living in big cities you are more visually drawn to smaller places?

H That´s hard to tell. I guess I just like it more. Not as a daily life, but as photographs.

B Would you say it’s more difficult to find something visually appealing in urban enviroments?

H Not at all. It´s just different settings. I have never thought about that it is a diversion between those two.

B You’ve said earlier that you’re fascinated of the transition between culture and nature. Can you explain this further?

H I really like the feeling of something man-made in nature. A road, powerlines, a roadside lamppost. Nature as pure nature I don´t find interesting in photography at all. When I go hiking og cross-skiing yes, but in images no.

B Do you think your personal work benefits from the commercial work, and in case, in which way? Does your clients often let you use your artistic freedom?

H Some clients do, but I am more than happy to photograph commercial work. It´s different pleasure. I love to work.

B What is your favourite photography book?

H “Uncommon places” by Stepen Shore.

All photographs by Helge Skodvin.


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