Magnus Jorgensen: Catching Fleeting Moments on Film


When Magnus Jorgensen speaks about what makes a good photograph he avoids any mention of gear or technical skill and instead speaks about emotions. “Joy, pain, nostalgia” – this is what he connects with in the work of others, and in his own photography it’s clear he has a talent for capturing these same feelings. Candid kisses, bonfires, a city at sunset from an airplane window. His photos are imbued with a subtle emotive quality that tugs right at the heart.

© Magnus Jorgensen

Hi Magnus, welcome to Lomography Magazine. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with film photography?

I inherited my love for photography and my first film camera from my mother, who had inherited it from her father. Receiving this transgenerational Pentax ME Super at 15 was really the turning point for me – photography went from being a hobby to a passion. I spent my first paychecks on a shoebox of expired film on Ebay, and routinely made my friends act as makeshift models for me. My GCSE photography class became a bit of a refuge from my academic pressures and strained home life, and photography is still a refuge for me today in many ways.

Why do you choose to shoot with film and not digital?

At first, I chose film because it challenged me. The concepts of aperture, exposure, shutter speeds…they were all a bit amorphous to me when I had only used digital, but trying to master an analogue camera helped me learn to be a better artist. Now that I’m over a decade into my love affair with film photography, I still choose it because it makes memories tangible. Filling up an SD card feels to me like sending photos into the void, but finishing a roll feels like archiving the best parts of life.

© Magnus Jorgensen

I remember first seeing your photos years ago on Flickr and loving them. How has your photography changed or developed over the last few years?

Thank you! Yes, Flickr is where I found my footing as a photographer, and I’m really thankful for everyone it’s let me cross paths with over the years. Recently I’ve felt the most inspired to take photos when I travel. Toronto has been my home for almost eight years now, and while I do enjoy living here, I seem to experience creativity droughts when I stay for too long. So that, combined with rising film prices, means that my camera tends to hibernate over the long, long winters. But I’m making a concerted effort to change that – now that the sun is coming out again, so is my Pentax!

How would you describe your style of photography?

What interests me most in photography is colour and light. I can appreciate a good black and white grain as much as the next guy, but if I’m honest with myself, I’ll always prefer vivid colour. My style tends toward fleeting moments, the candid and the natural – I always seek out the green amidst the grey.

© Magnus Jorgensen

Can you share a favorite photo you’ve made recently?

The photo that comes to mind is one I took while flying home from New York City. I didn’t plan it this way, but I ended up departing from LaGuardia right as the sun set, and watched as the long shadows of bridges stretched over the rivers surrounding Manhattan. I think a lot about time, posterity, and what humans leave behind on earth – capturing that moment on film felt like immortalizing one of those few brief moments of clarity you get in life.

© Magnus Jorgensen

In your opinion, what makes a good photograph?

I think a good photograph should reflect a strong feeling onto the viewer. When I’m immediately captivated by a photograph, it’s because I can recognize something of myself in it – joy, pain, nostalgia. When you shoot film, you have to be deliberate in how and what you capture, but there is also an element of luck involved. The unpredictability and imperfections of film is what make it so fulfilling to me.

Have you ever tried more Lomographic experimental cameras or film?

I haven’t used Lomography products before, but I’ve used similar experimental film and I love how fun this experimental analogue stuff is. It helps to renew my motivation to get out and shoot some film when I’m feeling in a rut.

© Magnus Jorgensen

How do you spend your time away from photography?

I’m a biochemist by trade, but in my free time away from work I really enjoy reading. I tend to buy books at a much faster rate than I could ever possibly consume them, but I feel comforted knowing they’re all there. Most of my adult life I’ve been tethered to literary fiction, but recently I have started foraying into poetry, history, and essays.

Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you’d like to share with us?

Coming up in May 2023, I’m going on a Eurotrip and homecoming of sorts – I’ll be visiting London, Stockholm, and journeying all across Norway, where my father is from. I will absolutely be bringing my camera with me (and I don’t want to jinx anything but I’m dreaming of also potentially bringing a Super 8 mm camera along as well!) And if you’re in Toronto, my photos are up in Hale Coffee locations across the city.

Thank you to Magnus for sharing his photography and his insights with us! You can check out more of his photos on Instagram, Flickr and at his website.

written by alexgray on 2023-05-15 #people #35mm #canada #color #candid #uk #pentax-me-super

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