Tommy Ingberg: My pictures are almost like a visual diary
Tommy Ingberg is an visual artist and photographer from Sweden. His photos are surreal and usually black and white. You can find many more information about this artist in following interview.
When and how did you discover your passion for photography?
When I was 15 years old I got my first „real“ camera, a Praktica with two lenses. It had no autofocus and the metering did not work. I spent endless hours experimenting and shooting as much film as I could afford. It was then I really decided that I wanted to do photography. I needed a way to express myself, and instead of playing in a band, painting or writing I chose photography. What followed were several years of intensive photography but it was first when I could afford a digital camera that I really started to develop, thanks to the fact that I could see the result directly in the camera, the whole process of trial and error was speeded up tremendously by not having to wait for the pictures to come back from the lab.
Since then I have tried several areas of photography; portraits, concert photography, street photography, nature photography and everything in between. I can’t tell you why I chose photography, but there is something about it that really speaks to me. Even nowadays I can still feel that excitement when I know that I just captured a great picture, often when something unexpected happens in front of the camera. No matter how well you plan your shoots, there is still an element of chance involved and I love that about photography.
What was your first camera? Do you still have it?
My first “Real” camera was the Praktica mentioned above. But I have pictures I’ve taken at a very early age, maybe four or five years old. I remember that camera being a red compact camera of some sort, maybe a Minolta? I think that one was my first camera. Unfortunately, both those cameras have been lost along the way.
Why are you focused on surrealism?
I did not consciously choose or decide on surrealism, it was rather an organic creative development; it is an expression that works well for exploring the themes I’m working with. I’m still not sure about the label, but it’s a handy and quick way to explain my work.
Has your work always been surrealistic?
No, during a rough time in my life I started creating these photo montages dealing with my inner life. I did these only for me without caring what others would think of them and in that process I found my own artistic expression. In my art I also found a purpose, something I loved doing and something I could be proud of. My art and the journey it has taken me on since then has helped me tremendously in all aspects of life. I think this is the awesome thing about life. Without the bad stuff you can’t have the really good. Without living through my bad stuff, I would not have found my art.
How much you put yourself into your photos?
Since I use my own inner life and thoughts as seeds to my pictures I would say they are very much personal, almost like a visual diary. Despite this subjectiveness in the process I hope that the work can engage the viewer in her or his own terms. I want the viewers to produce their own questions and answers when looking at the pictures, my own interpretations are really irrelevant in this context.
Your photos are black and white. Why is it so?
They are made in b&w because I love the aesthetics, the subtlety of tones, the play between shadow and light. hout any purpose, or even distracting the viewer from really seeing the picture. This is the same reason I try to make simple, scaled back compositions with few elements, where every part adds to the story. Sometimes less is more.
What was the inspiration for your first colourful photo Spark and why did you make it?
I see it as a kind of practise, I’m interested in learning how to use colour as an integral part of the story-telling, for example, This particular picture would not at all work in black and white.
How much time do you usually spend by editing photos? (In comparison with time spent by taking photos)
I always try to do as much work as possible in camera. Well planned and photographed source pictures are a much better option than doing excessive work in Photoshop; in my opinion camera work will always have better quality and look better than something put together in Photoshop. If you do the photography really well you could technically just print your pictures, cut out the parts you want with scissors and paste them onto an empty piece of paper and be done with it. This is of course not possible, but I find it to be a good reference to have in mind when planning my composites. In reality I would say I spend about an equal amount of time behind the camera and behind the computer, although sometimes I can fiddle with the finishing touches in Photoshop for hours.
What is your biggest professional success?
That’s a hard question to answer, but the first time I sold a picture is a hard feeling to beat.