Perhaps the best bio is based on quotes from a couple of interviews below: Bill Shapiro, Unseen Sketchbooks and the Italian magazine Eyes Open.
+20 and +50
2016 "Slow Spots", Stockholm
2016 "Return of Light", Stockholm
2017 "Wallonia", Stockholm
2017 "Return of Light", Kaknäs tower
2019 "Vertigo", Stockholm
2020 "Prairie icons", Stallarholmen
2020 "Prairie icons", Paris
Photographs from these exhibitions are strewn on this website.
BILL SHAPIRO - former editor-in-chief of LIFE magazine and Editor of Getty Images FOTO - did this interview for his very interesting Instagram channel with interviews with and bios on photographers!
Where do you live?
Stockholm, Sweden but raised in The Netherlands.
Are you a full-time photographer? If so, how long have you been doing this professionally?
No, but was seriously bitten by the photo bug early 80s when I got my Canon A-1 and have since then nurtured a dream of making photography my profession.
If not, what's your "day" job?
Market economist but quit my career at 52 when I had the chance. Consider myself early retired with ample time and freedom to explore and contemplate life through travel and photography.
I know you shoot all kinds of stuff but I'm primarily interested in the silo/prairie pictures. How did you get interested in these? What first caught your eye? And how long have you been shooting them?
The agricultural setting reminds me of my mother’s roots in North Sweden where my grand parents were farmers long ago. Road trips through South Western USA during the 80’s, the solace of their deserts struck me. In Canada recently I found the same emotion on their prairies.
At the same time grain elevators (silos) have always intrigued me for their massive size, windowless monolithic design and because we cannot experience them in Europe. A trip to Canada in 2018 gave me a feeling of their context as well and I was instantaneously mesmerized. Prairies and deserts are places where I feel totally at peace.
Why have you focused on them?
I think old buildings in general that have survived human generations becoming beacons over times and people gone by, they make us remember and reflect or own mortality and the surprising changeability of what we think are stable constructs.
Moreover, for me they are still “new” and I see them in a fresh light, they still thrill me with their many small nuances. Moreover, they are disappearing right in front of our eyes: in Saskatchewan about 90% are gone.
What are you trying to capture and convey in these pictures? Either in terms of formal elements or in terms of emotion. Or both! Or something else.
Awe and a feeling of putting on the brakes and wanting to absorb the bigger picture of things.
What sort of moment or scene catches your eye? What are the qualities of a prairie silo that make you say, "Yeah, that's the one!"
The most interesting shots are of silos that stand open and alone in the midst of the prairie, like cathedrals withstanding the elements of time and signalling sublime human presence and endeavour. People are undeniably central in the story but not the main subject photographically.
How do you know when you've nailed the picture?
That’s a combination of subjective optical, abstract balance and enough context to appreciate their size and otherworldly appearance.
What, if anything, are you hoping that your viewer feels upon seeing your work?
Wow …. What a place, I wish I were there
My little write-ups are meant to be very accessible and not heavy on the tech, but what do you shoot with?
Digital, Canon 5DIV. Prefer distance shots as to minimize the rounding effect of a wide angle (awful), so preferably 50 – 300mm
Whose work influences you, if anyone. And if not, totally fine. Mostly I'm just curious.
I always had an interest in frontal technical drawings from the times my dad developed factories, and I started shooting straight projections of old buildings and factories.
Some have told me my work remind them of the Bechers, which may be true, but I really got my kicks from Wim Wenders (while he planned his movie “Paris, Texas”). His pictures totally blew me away through their matter-of-factedness in depicting mundane towns in rural USA, playing with lines, flats and colours. Other early influences are Joel Meyerowitz, Edward Hopper and the great Wright Morris. The Bechers not so much but for their fascination for typologies.
Anything else you want to add?
Visit those grain elevators before they are gone!
GAVIN AMBROSE wrote the following interview for the Unseen Sketchbooks homepage. Unseen Sketchbooks are a UK based bespoke publishing house producing limited edition books with designers, illustrators and artists.
In conversation with Stockholm based photographer Robert Lundin. Robert originally studied business economics in Rotterdam and quit his job around five years ago to concentrate on his photography. Robert is self-taught and attends courses at the Fotografiska Academy in Stockholm. We were first shown Robert’s stark, haunting images by @gailsargerson, thanks Gail.
Can you talk about your journey into or interest the arts?
I had an unexplainable interest in technical drawings from the times my dad developed factories and I myself built large, wooden radio control aircraft from technical drawings. Subsequently I started shooting straight projections of old buildings and factories. I started in B&W and had a dark room at my parents.
It was during the early ’80s when I started finding my true passion for photography. My studies in business economy were a chore. The revelation of art photography was then an overwhelming discovery, opening a whole new world of what motivation and passion actually should be like.
One special experience was when I – on a long leg stretch through Rotterdam procrastinating my studies once again – happened to see the Goethe Institute where an exhibition of the German filmmaker Wim Wenders was open to the public. His pictures blew me off my socks through their matter-of-factedness in depicting mundane towns in rural USA. He framed structures, lines, colours in an almost abstract way, finding visual balance and beauty in the banal and every day. That one can take pictures like that to tell a story? Unimaginable!
There are of course others I have enjoyed and been inspired by since then, most from the so-called style of New Topographics, all telling stories of everyday life and settings with a very investigative eye for the beauty in the casual and unintentional. Other early influences are Joel Meyerowitz, Edward Hopper and the great Wright Morris. The Bechers not so much though – perhaps surprisingly – but for their fascination for typologies.
Your work focusses on industrial buildings, that are both imposing and foreboding whilst being peaceful and beautiful. What is it about these you are interested in and what are you saying by photographing them?
A feeling of impressiveness. I describe it – a bit pompously – the sublimity of man in this big machine we call society.
I have not only photographed grain elevators in Canada, but also the old steel industries in Germany and Belgium. What attracts me is the feeling of awe when experiencing the contrast between the vulnerable man while strenuously having constructed this complex and sometimes daunting environment, full of gigantic, monstrous mechanisms.
There is also a certain time factor, without which I think many of my subjects wouldn’t make the same impact. Old buildings in general that have survived human generations become beacons over time and people gone by, they make us remember and reflect our own mortality and the surprising changeability of what we think are stable constructs.
Whereas people are undeniably central in the story – their imprints are absolutely everywhere in my pictures – but they are not the main subject photographically.
Can you talk about your process of working? How do you work, how often, is there a particular pattern?
I always have an idea of the impressions I want to achieve, most often based on what I said above: Contrasts and visually well-balanced compositions.
Practically speaking, for my industrial photo projects in Ruhr, Charleroi and Canada I have had a high energy approach staying in the ‘flow’ doing long days and using a small car to be able to cover as many photo spots and angles as possible in a day. Evenings doing editing and quality checks. In Canada I drove 400-500km and visited on average nine towns or areas with grain elevators per day, approx 14 hours of ‘production’ per day. I often shoot while sitting in the car and quickly drive around and find new angles.
Technically I often use 50-300mm as to compress the picture and most importantly: to get rid of crashing lines in the vertical plane. One interesting discovery while shooting from the car this winter in Canada was that the hot air streaming out through the open window distorted the image considerably. Only one solution: getting out of the car and face the chill.
ANTONIO VERRASCINA wrote the following review for the Italian photographic magazine Eyes Open.
Robert is a Swedish fine art photographer. His serial style has led him to inventory solitary silos in the midst of large spaces, which resist the natural elements and the passing of the years, ancient witnesses of man's work. Postcards from the Anthropocene, his, inanimate, abstract, which, while excluding living subjects, make us realize their presence.
In his investigation the color, the shades, the perspective, the dimensions, the empty and the full, the lines, the marks left on the walls count ... but most of all the imagination that led him here is a journey through time. These buildings stand like decaying beacons that have survived man, yet we discover, through this series, that they possess our own transience.
Robert's work struck me for the cleanliness of his photos and for the balance he manages to give within his frames. The scenarios he portrays are huge silos, majestic cathedrals surrounded by an unnatural landscape, so much so that they seem like an abandoned film set suspended in time.