Initially, we wanted to interpret the work of artist Albin Sjödin in a way that we understood it. However, halfway through his narrative, we realized that a retelling just wouldn't do. There's so much more to Albin's works and words than just an edited version. And the deeper we go into them, the more we understand that this was the proper thing to do.
Looking from the outside in, we can describe Albin's work as rich in inspiration and talent. Inspiration can be a fickle and cruel master for most people. Albin recognizes that and gives it the respect it deserves - creating work that doesn't rely on the mercy of other people's feedback and tools that provide false comfort to artists. At the same time, he keeps a disciplined approach to content with much care and intent and it shows in his portrait and film work. Albin tells all, with his honest words, photographs, and films.
What got you started with photography?
I was pretty young when my father taught me how to use a digital camera, but I didn’t really pick up and embrace photography until I was fifteen or sixteen. My dad has a passion for photography and he makes these abstract photos of landscapes and architecture, and I always saw him doing that when I was little. So I was trying to do that for a while to follow in his steps if you will, but I realized pretty quickly that I was more drawn to capturing other things; my friends and the things we were up to, subjects that had a story to be portrayed.
When did you realize that this was a thing you could do?
I graduated high school in the small town I was born and raised in, and I was working a side-job and pursuing photography and filmmaking in my free time. I was obsessed with creating and found it very fulfilling to be able to make something that was my own, even though I didn’t really know what I was doing yet. I was putting my pieces out there on the internet and eventually I was lucky to have some paid gigs come my way.
It was mostly small promo work for brands and musicians, I’ve always loved doing music-related work and many of my friends are artists and work in the music industry. We started collaborating on projects which progressively turned into bigger commercial work and music videos as well. At some point along the way, I didn’t need my side-job anymore and could put all my time into cinematography and photography.
The portraits you take are some of the best we've seen as of late. How do you come up with your concepts?
Thank you. A substantial part of my personal photography work is captured with friends of mine and little planning; I enjoy carrying a camera with me in case there’s something I’d like to photograph. For the more planned shoot I usually go into a project with a loose idea, having set the general direction for the project through a mood board or some notes. In the end I usually don’t rely on that when I start to shoot but rather keep it loosely in the back of my head. It's important to leave room for feeling it out, experimenting on a whim about what fits the scene and the character.
When I first started out I didn’t really have access to much fancy equipment and I had to be creative with what was there, and I feel like this has shaped my work for sure. I try to limit the number of tools and lights I bring into a project, and I find that the projects that I’m the most satisfied with are the ones that weren’t based on a super complex technical setup but was approached in a more simple way.
What do you like to get across with your work? What inspires you to create content?
Inspiration is a mystery to me, but I feel like I’ve been blessed with having a lot of it. I know any artist can relate to the feeling of not ever being truly satisfied with your own work, and if you can find a healthy way to deal with that you’re on a good path.
I want to create work that feels real and transcendent, and there is no specific mold on how to do that. It’s entirely up to you to figure out ways to get across, and it’s very thrilling when you feel that you've managed to do that.
We learned that you're also a cinematographer. How does that relate to your portrait and other photographic work?
They do relate in certain regards, and not so much in others. With my personal photography work, I have all the freedom to experiment and there’s a lot of room for trial and error. Many times I will bring ideas that I’ve tried for a stills project into a film project, and since I’ve had the time to try them out beforehand I’m more confident in presenting them to the director as an idea for a scene. But not all ideas for a stills project will translate well into a film project either, the approach is often different.
How did being a cinematographer help you in your photographic work?
As a stills photographer, you can more or less make a shoot happen by yourself, whereas cinematography is a lot more about a collaboration between you and the other people involved in creating a film. It’s a different world in that regard, and cinematography has really made me realize how great a project can become through the power of collaboration. Being used to doing everything myself when I started out I can really appreciate the work that everyone puts in, and when you’re with the right people on a set it’s like you’re all one single unit moving towards the same goal. The relationships that I’ve made from working in both of these fields are invaluable.
Juggling two incredible art styles sounds difficult. How do you do it?
Here’s what I think: It’s important to take a break from whatever you are doing every once in a while, no matter how much you love doing it. Practicing two so different/similar art forms keeps my ever-restless mind stimulated enough while helping me have a break from one the other at the same time. It’s great to go create something for my personal work with no pressure and pure creative freedom after a long period of cinematography work, it keeps the inspiration going while relieving any stress that might be there.
How long would you like to create images?
I want to keep creating images as long as the inspiration is there and I feel like I have something that I want to express. There is only so much time and there are a lot of things I would like to explore.
Any last words for our readers?
I would like to send some love to my friends, family, Josefin & Nathalie at XO Mgmt and everyone else who has been supportive of our community and helping us stay hopeful and inspired. Hopefully, when you’re reading this we will be one step closer to being able to move more freely and spend more time with our loved ones again.
We would like to thank Albin for letting us feature his work on the Magazine. Follow him on Instagram to see more.