Jonas Jacobsson Is a photographer based in Gothenburg, Sweden. His work moves between various genres of photography, including landscape, travel, documentary, wedding, and commercial.
How has living in Sweden affected your aesthetic?
While it is tough to judge your own work and style, I would say that the climate and seasons here on the west coast of Sweden has affected my photography to take strengths from each season. More so than if I would have lived in a more “summer-ish” climate for most part of the year. Here I have to be able to work with much less light during the winter, but also a different type of light. I think it has triggered me to use different techniques and different ways of working with my photos in post also. Drilling different techniques to make the most of each season.
Since I see myself still being young in my photographic journey and still continues to evolve I can see myself moving more and more towards somewhat of a “Scandinavian” look in my post work, meaning that I work more with toning down on saturation and “cleaner” looks. If that makes any sense?!
How important do you think your mindset going into a day of shooting is for capturing images that you’re happy with, and how much do you think it’s chance?
I could argue for both I guess. For my professional work obviously I must be inspired and ready to go in order to do a professional job so in those circumstances I just make sure to feel focused and pumped before heading into a day's shoot. Still I have to have a free mindset in order to come up with creative solutions which are usually expected of me as well.
For my personal photography and basically everything else than work I am almost always very spontaneous and free in my mind. See what comes along more or less. I can see myself coming home with some great shots on my camera both on days where you may feel a little bit down or tired from work/school and days where you feel all happy and inspired. So in that way it is of course a little bit by chance. However I really do believe it is about having an eye for angles, perspectives and to be looking for other scenes than just the obvious ones where everyone stops to take a photo.
What kind of gear do you use?
I have been using the Fujifilm X-series for five years now, having tried out Canon, Nikon and Panasonic before that. Today I use an X-Pro2 and X-T2 for all my work, with lenses of 14 mm, 16 mm, 18 mm, 23 mm f/1.4, 35 mm f/2, 56 mm and 50-140 mm.
How did you get into photography?
I have always been documenting the world around me ever since I can remember. After high school, I went out on a couple of longer travel trips with friends and realized that photography could be a really great thing for me as I saw many more places and also enjoyed the locations more. After that, I increasingly got more serious about and eventually I started to get requests on doing professional work and weddings. At that point I had to make choice, and I decided that I wanted to take my photography further and see where it could take me.
Something I am really proud of is that I started my professional career and also produced my best photography (both professional and personal) during my university studies. I realized that I could develop two really good careers and passions alongside. So, for the past five years, I have been studying engineering within industrial design at Chalmers University of Technology and developed my photography outside of that. The two areas actually complement the other quite well and have given me versatility I think.
What are your goals in terms of your photography?
I mean I want to take my photography as far as I can. While I don’t want to work full-time as a photographer, I want to see how many people I can possibly reach. Travel and seeing the world will always be my primary focus within photography and exploring more parts of the world and see my images shared by major publications is certainly a goal.
I just took my master of science degree in Industrial Design Engineering and that is what I want to focus on primarily right now, while I will always develop my photography and be able to take on new assignments as I grow as a photographer. Many people are quite narrow-minded and only want to label one profession to a person, but I believe I can have several professions and interests at the same time.
The balance between these two major interests in my life is key I think. It provides inspiration my life and I believe it makes me both better as an engineer and as a photographer.
Do you usually have a specific vision for your images before you take them, or does it come to you as you begin shooting?
Again, I think it is a bit of both. Obviously it helps if you have a clear vision of how you want to frame a story and what feelings you want the image to elicit. For me though it is certainly a lot about what things I feel in the moment and what angles and lights works best in that situation. Obviously very different when I am doing professional work and when I can walk around on my way home from work/school.
What is your favorite image that you have taken? Why?
Wow, that is close to impossible to answer. Too many! =)
There is one, however, that has really remained a favorite of mine for a long time now and that is an image I took in 2014 in Paris. We were walking across one of the many bridges over towards Notre Dame and I just very briefly snapped this photograph of this young girl. I knew it would be a good photograph if I could just manage to time her between all of the passing people, but here expression and eyes is what makes the image so special.
I can look at it forever and just imagine what she might be thinking in that precise moment, it is quite special to me. It has been printed a couple times as a large poster as well and it turned out great. The thing that pains me the most though is that I did not walk up to the family and got their email so I could have sent them the photograph. That would have been such a great thing.
Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Well I have an upcoming trip (not yet booked) to Greenland that I am very much looking forward to. It was a scholarship prize that I won and something I just want to document as good as I possibly can. Really excited about this trip!
I am always working on several projects, the issue sometimes is time. Currently I have an enormous batch of images from our latest trip (this past spring) to Hong Kong, Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto and Tokyo. Lots of stuff there that I am looking forward to showing people.