TPA - Tell us a little about yourself. How did your relationship with Photography begin and how has it developed through the years?
NL - I'm Niklas Lindskog, 51 years old. I live in Umea in northern Sweden, a university town of about 120 000 people (European Capital of Culture in 2014).
My family is my wife Anna-Lena and our grown children Sam, still at home at 19, and Oskar, 22, who has moved away from home. I've worked for 24 years as a track and field coach at a national sports school. Nowadays my role at work is more about school and sports administration.
I started out in photography at the age of 13 when I told my parents that I wanted to make movies. They thought I should learn the basics first with still photography. My mom found me an evening course, which was on a pretty high level, covering all bases from composition and lighting to printing and developing film. My parents bought a Minolta SLR and I got really enthusiastic, developing film and prints sitting hunched in a closet lab.
This went on for about ten years and peaked when I did my military service as a photographer and had access to a professional lab with free use of film and paper for a year. I had moved away from home and my parents wanted their closet back. By this time we had started a family and most pictures were of family life. But in travels and otherwise I've always shot "other stuff", which didn't make its way into the family albums.
I started shooting more colour negs when the b&w lab wasn't available any more, but just sending them away to be developed.
In 2004 I bought an Olympus compact digital camera. It was slow, but I found digital sooo convenient, which boosted my interest! I started to learn Photoshop.
In 2009 I had been longing to get more serious again with my photography and bought a Nikon D90 and some lenses.
In 2010 I traveled to Beijing for three weeks, by myself. I made the trip a photography project as well as a discover-the-world project. It was the first time in my life I thought of my photos in those terms - as a project. I had no idea what to do with it, but still...
Early in 2012, I found a nice Swedish photography site, www.fotosidan.se ("The Photo Page"), and started publishing online. It was great to get feedback and after a while, writing comments on other peoples images and getting their response to that. I quickly centered on street photography and since then I always try to shoot some street on trips even if I only have some hours on a business trip. In the '10's, I've been traveling pretty extensively, both for work and in my free time. In 2013 three months were spent on the road, clicking away a lot most days! In march this year, I became a member of dA, hoping to get the international feedback from this community. It's been fun!
TPA - What equipment do you use?
NL - For street photography, I use a Nikon D800 with a Tamron 24-70/2.8 with image stabilization. I use a Black Rapid strap.
Sometimes I put on a Nikon 50 mm/1.4. I used to use a Nikon 70-200 mm a lot, but nowadays I mostly use it for other kinds of photography.
On rare occasions I try my Samyang 14 mm/2.8. I also sometimes shoot with a small Nikon 1 V1 with the 10-30 mm lens.
I couldn't resist buying a used Fuji X100, but I'm not really "friends" with it yet.
TPA - Which photographers influenced you?
NL - When I started out I borrowed a lot of photography books at the library and read magazines there. I remember being really impressed with Henri Cartier-Bresson.
I've learned really a lot from many great fellow Swedish street photographers at fotosidan.se. Both from their pictures and from their constructive criticism!
One of the first who really caught my eye there was Nils-Erik Larsson = sandas04 here at dA. He's written sometimes on his blog about his experiences at dA, which was my main inspiration to join.
Lately, I've started building a collection of photo books. Elliot Erwitt, Anders Peterson, Christer Strömholm and HCB are some of them.
TPA - What do you enjoy photographing most? What is your favorite time of the day photographing in the streets?
NL - Street photography! When I get the chance I take pictures at all times of the day and at night! I also like to go indoors, in the subway, railway stations, shopping malls, cafés and such. Different places and times all have their advantages and challenges, I think.
TPA - What is your favorite place for shooting photos? Name two or three places you would like to visit for Photography.
NL - Cities all over the world! Istanbul, Shanghai and New Delhi! But I could easily name three other cities instead! I can't get enough of travel and I think photography is the perfect hobby to combine with my interest in travel.
TPA - Imagine you have a day off and you decide to go shooting. Describe it.
NL - When at home, I still have done very little street photography. My first efforts in Umea were this year.
But, I would go downtown and roam the streets looking for ideas. I would probably find a lot and shoot away rapidly. I feel more than think, using my gut instincts.
I'll use auto-ISO, manual and adjust time, aperture and exposure compensation quite often. I normally underexpose, nowadays about two steps in sunshine and 0.7 in cloudy conditions.
Sometimes, I see a particular setting where an image could be possible and then I wait for it. But not too much. I'm usually on the move and I often shoot from the hip, even while moving. If I'm not at home, but in a big city somewhere, I might take a rest at the hotel and get back on the streets with a smaller camera if my back and shoulders are hurting. If it's night by now and light is low I will have to remember to move more slowly to avoid camera shake blur. I might get an idea to do a special project, like a "long shutter time afternoon" or a "street portrait morning".
TPA - What are the most essential qualities of a photographer?
NL - I think maybe that photography is such a diverse subject that any person with any set of qualities could be a good photographer in their own way. But I'm pretty sure you get better with some passionate practise!
TPA - Choose three of your favorite photos and explain why they are special to you.
NL - This one is an example from my youth. It symbolizes my early days with dreams of being a professional photographer. I had four days by myself in Belgium, in Brussels, where this was shot and in Bruges. It was a great experience!
NL - I remember the moment I caught this image. As I routinely set up to shoot the scene with the men looking down the alley, I simultaneously saw the girl start running and the dove. I clicked away, thinking "WOW"! I thought it was magic how the pieces suddenly fell in place. And the next second it was gone. It was an eye opener which made me very inspired! Now, I realize the image has its flaws, but I love it all the same!
NL - I think it's one of the hardest things with this hobby. To choose! I'll show this one because of the wonderful time I've had traveling with my son Sam this year. Both to Paris in the spring and to North America in the summer. It was shot in the Paris métro and for once I had time to try out different compositions and angles because the people were so into their own thing. And for once, that was not mobile phones!