They often say fashion is a way of expressing yourself and your personality. Fashion photographers are the ones who capture the magic of those who wear the clothes. We had a pleasure of talking to Mathilda Bernmark whose photographs we absolutely adore!
She truly knows how to make a statement with her photographs and she believes that true beauty isn't about being perfect all the time. In this interview, Mathilda talks about the world of fashion and shares some helpful tips on how to make captivating portraits.
Hi Mathilda! What projects are you currently working on? What is the most exciting thing to you when starting a new project?
At the moment I’m working on a clothing label that I started with a friend. I’d probably describe the collection as underwear or club wear, the pieces are all in black and inspired by my friends and the club scene here in Berlin. Yesterday we did the look book, and I shot the whole thing in 35mm! It turned out really great. The most exciting thing is to see your project grow, evolve and oftentimes surprise you.
How would you describe your photographic style when you were just starting out as a photographer? How much has it changed since then?
I’m changing a little bit every time I shoot, I think, or maybe it’s just that I change in general and my photography reflects that? One thing I know is that as I get older I’m definitely less interested in perfection. I used a lot more Photoshop when I just started, and I was also less good at it… I guess this is a classic problem for beginners. Sometimes I look at my old photos and just cringe, they’re so Photoshopped! It looks horrible, almost comical.
Actually it’s not just beginners that do it, I see magazines publish photos like that too. Ugh, I actually think this is partly why I became so fond of analog photography, it showed me how to embrace imperfections - not just technical ones (light leaks, blur etc.) but also in terms of whatever little imperfections you may find on the models I shoot, if I’m doing fashion or portraits. Love those little imperfections, now I welcome them and often even look for them as I shoot.
You made a diary with some of the most memorable moments captured over the years. What does this diary mean to you? How did you come up with an idea to document these moments?
I think I got my first camera when I was 10 or so, and have taken photos since. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to keep much of the photos I took around that age, but eventually I realized how important it is to back them up, put them on hard drives and make sure not to lose them. I like to share some of these photos. It’s a funny feeling knowing people may look at them and see something completely different than I do when I look at them, because I was there.
I see the whole memory, what happened before and after the picture was taken. It’s so precious. I just love browsing trough old photos, I’m a really nostalgic person... I also love the varying format and image quality of these pictures, the result of just capturing the moment with whatever type of camera that happens to be at hand. These days most people always have a camera on them in their phone, and take more photos than ever! It wasn’t like that when I grew up. I think it’s great.
We know you are both digital and analogue type of photographer. What was your very first camera?
My first camera was a Minolta DiMAGE. My parents still have it somewhere actually. I’d probably still think it’s a great camera, but maybe I’m biased because I loved it so much as a kid.
You also enjoy taking beautiful portraits. In your opinion, what makes the perfect portrait? Can you share some helpful tips?
Thank you, that’s so nice of you! I don’t think there’s such a thing as a formula for the perfect portrait. One of my favorite portraits I’ve taken was of my ex, and you can’t even see his face properly on it, yet somehow it captured him perfectly. I guess that sometimes you want to capture how you perceive someone, and sometimes you want to capture how they perceive themselves, which is usually much harder of course.
I think that in theory, you have the best chance of taking a nice portrait if you know the person you’re shooting, or if you can make them feel safe and comfortable. But then again, I actually think you can take amazing portraits even if everyone involved are feeling awful, because a good portrait is not about good vibes and flawlessness. So any circumstances can probably result in a beautiful or captivating portrait, and as long as you have permission from your subject to take their photo, there are no rules.
How did you get into fashion photography? What inspires you the most about fashion?
Portraits are my favorite, and in fashion photography you get to take them all the time! I’m also quite interested in fashion, as I said I’m also launching my own brand. And I used to, and still occasionally do, model myself so I guess I have lots of experience in that field.
However, staging photos can also get a bit boring, sometimes you want to document something real - and fashion photography is very rarely real in that sense, unless you somehow steer your shoot into unexpected realness, if that makes any sense. But generally I do think fashion is great fun, both making it and shooting it.
How does it feel being Mathilda Bernmark these days? What are you planning next when it comes to work?
Being me is fabulous at the moment, I’m busy doing things I love and I’m doing them with such inspiring, great people. I’m not quite sure of what the future may bring, but I can’t wait to find out!