6 photographers shows 20 pictures each. Each picture is shown for exactly 20 seconds and during that time the photographer can put his/her words on the pictures. Pecha Kucha (Japanese for “chit chat”) is the world’s fastest-growing storytelling platform, used by millions around the globe. The format is demanding, not only for the photographer, but also for the audience. Pecha Kucha was developed at an Architect company in Japan 2003.
Gothenburg Street Photo Festival proudly presents 6 members of Gothenburg Street Photo Club and each and everyone attends with 20 own taken pictures and their own words. The Photographers: Eva Boije af Gennäs, Jari Kokko, Linda Svensson, Manfred Svärd, Anna Lithander och Gunnar Fägersten Novik.
Catherine, who are you? I am lady, old enough to understand what is precious, but never too young to keep pursuing projects and to be curious about anything that’s attractive to me. Always with joy and energy. I am working in the advertisement print production business, but my defining moments are all about what happens after work. In me there is room for a lot. Music (as a musician and a fan), photography, love, creativity and whatever will fulfil me in different ways.
How and why did you start with street photography? After a period of depression, after several dark months, I began to be more aware of my ability to do something with a camera. I did not want to go out to meet people. When I then instead took long walks without thinking too much, it was like I was reborn. I realised I was seeing and observing more of what was happening on the streets and sidewalks. At first, I saw dirty things creating shapes. Then I saw the shadows and of course the power of light. During this time of increased consciousness, I was obsessed for several days with each of these steps. I looked for more and more and I took pictures. Then I started to lift my head and look around and think about life and people. I woke up to life and my camera, more for each day, became a great tool to enhance it.
Why do you take pictures? For emotions and excitement. But primarily, just for myself. Because this pleasure, this “practise” – or let’s call it “way of life” or “way of being” – keeps me peaceful, joyful, curious and self-confident. I will leave all those parts of me, to my son later. Because in every picture I take, there is a story and an emotion of mine.
What is your main driving force? To never give up. Keep being charmed.
Your biggest challenge? Keep walking for hours in the same city, the same streets, for years and years, and always get new pictures, telling a new story
Your best photography memory? It’s the ONE certain picture that I missed with seconds. In fact, it’s a picture I never caught, but still is imprinted in me. Because a good picture – above subjectivity, appreciation or subject – is surely all about the right moment, coming down to fractions of seconds. So. One day, when I when I was out walking, I noticed a place where there was a subway vent. I thought it would be fun to see a girl with a light-weight dress pass over it, like the Marylin Monroe famous shot. Nearby there were some performers talking. Trying to keep my attention to my “target” and to the performance simultaneously, at a point I turned towards a guy to ask what the event was about. But within moments something happened, while I was turned away. On my right this nice guy was answering my questions. He saw the scene happening to my left. He smiled and said: “you should turn around”, as I myself realised something going on at the vent… But too late. I only saw the end part of what had happened. At the vent I saw a couple. A very charming and elegant couple. The woman was gorgeous and pregnant, in a beautiful dress with flowers. The good-looking man wore a classic hat. Together they walked down the street, by the vent. I still have the scene in my mind. As the flow of air rushed up it lifted the woman’s robe, revealing a gorgeous, round belly. And at the same time the man’s hat flew of his head. They both laughed at this moment.
How would you describe your photography style? Classic humanistic style. I can’t deny it.
Do you have any preferred equipment? I am not a tech stuff person. I’m more of an emotional person. I carry the camera I once tried, keep on to it. I’m still carrying it today, years later. The lens I use, is ok for me.
Do you have a favourite city and why? Paris, because I live here and it’s my well-known playground. New York and London, because there are open-minded, creative, wild and full of eccentric people. Rome, because there is a certain the light, colour, and a mood of love and joy. But whatever city you go to, it’s always a challenge to get into the mood and to accept that you won’t find in them in ordinary tours. You must adapt because you won’t find the scenes or characters you’re used to shoot. And this is interesting. It might explain why there is such a similar way to shoot and edit pictures, depending on where you live. There is for sure a subjective way to look at things and to see them. Be we must also admit that we are influenced by the area we are living in, not just our own preferences.
What are your hopes for the rest of this year? Hope you don’t mind if I don’t answer some personal, intimate wishes? *Smile* But I would for sure love to put hundreds of my pictures on some walls. Pictures that have been asleep for decades at home. They deserve to be seen as they all tell a story. Because I have that story. I am interested in what story other people see as they look at the pictures. Because all is about emotions, yes? *Another smile*
Agneta, who are you? I was raised in Mölndal (outside Gothenburg), live in Mölnlycke (another suburb to Gothenburg) and today work as a bank advisor. I don’t like to idle, so aside from photography, I spend a lot of time with family and friends. As well as singing in a choir and jogging in the woods. I can never get enough from exploring the world and its inhabitants
How and why did you start with street photography? I always like to look at older pictures, how people were clothed, what their surroundings looked like. And images of people always intrigued me. When I look back at old pictures from the nineties, I realise that I was already doing street photography, even if I didn’t call it that. We had a theme at my photo club called “City calmness”. It triggered me to bring my camera to the city and find motifs to fulfil that theme. After that I discovered a site called Fotosidan.se, and that there is a genre called Street. In 2014 I travelled to London on the first street photography trip Mats Alfredsson arranged. After that, I was hooked.
Why do you take pictures? I love to immortalise moments – whether they’re big or small – and to create. It is relaxing, it energises me. Meeting others is so enriching, both the unknown people in the city in front of my camera and other photographers with the same interests. The people I got to know along the way. When in company of my camera, I just never get bored.
What is your main driving force? Meeting people, getting to know other cultures, creating stuff and learning from my role models in photography. I always want to find new challenges, to capture that perfect image – which you never stop hoping for.
Your biggest challenge? To dare and to constantly try to develop as a photographer and a human being, unleashing my own creativity.
Your best photography memory? Oh, they are quite a few. One I especially remember is from the analogue time. Hasselblad had a photo marathon in the early 90s in Gothenburg. We should all depict 12 themes in 12 hours. The last theme was Statue. I stood by the Karin Boye sculpture at the City Library and felt that I had nil inspiration this last hour. Just then a bunch of guys appeared – a bachelorette party! The groom-to-be was dressed as a prisoner and had a shackle around his ankle. Hm… Boye… shackle… A gift from above! I won with that picture. I had the honour of having it hung at the City Library for public viewing that summer. I’ve tried to find the man in the pictures to tell him about the win and to offer him the picture. But so far, no luck…
How would you describe your photography style? For me, it is extra important not to offend. I want to try to get a kind of warmth in the picture, preferably with a little sense of humour. I like when I manage to capture two or more events in the same image. My goal is for the person I am depicting to like the picture and want to have it on the wall.
Do you have any preferred equipment? I now have a Canon R house, switching between three main lenses; the Canon 50 mm, F1.4, the Tamron 24-70 f.2.8 and the Canon 70-200 f.4.
Do you have a favourite city and why? I have several, but if I must choose one, it’ll probably be Chicago. It is a wonderful city with lovely, hospitable people. Chicago offer most of the things that trigger street photography. For example, playful Millennium Park, always teeming with children, and the dark gangster style settings around The Loop and its elevated train from 1892.
What are your hopes for the rest of this year? I hope that I will be able to go on a trip abroad, maybe Madrid – as we planned last year, but was cancelled due to Covid-19. I long for new exciting moments to immortalise, as being satisfied with a picture makes me fuzzy all over. I also hope that my presentation at the photo festival will be appreciated, so that I can inspire someone to be as hooked as I am by street photography.
Andreas – Who are you? My name is Andreas Jörgensen, I’m born in Sweden, but have my family roots in Denmark.
How and why did you start with street photography? During my second year of high school, I chose photography as an extra class. That’s when my interest was born. A few years later I attended a documentary photo course in Swedish Småland. That’s when street photography became part of my every day.
Why do you take pictures? It a must. It makes me feel good.
What is your main driving force? To constantly try to get better pictures
Your biggest challenge? To be satisfied with a picture. To be able to look back on it and say “This was damn good!”
Your best photography memory? The old man sitting on a bench inside the ‘Fältöversten’ shopping centre in Stockholm. Everything was perfect! The light, the atmosphere, yes, everything. The year was 2007.
How would you describe your photography style? Quite minimal. With the light and shadows stage centre. For me, it is important to try to keep the people in the picture anonymous. Integrity.
Do you have any preferred equipment? It has always been Canon. Today a 5D MkIV, using a 24-70 zoom lens.
Do you have a favorite city and why? Must say Stockholm, because this is where I have walked the streets for so many years. All seasons, with changing lights. Old town, Kungsholmen and Söder. Stockholm is a fantastic city to take pictures in.
What are your hopes for the rest of this year? To take a lot of magic pictures.
Jimmy, who are you? I am a street photography enthusiast who in-between weekends consult as a data analyst. I hail from Köping, but have lived for many years in Sundbyberg together with my son. This last year I have immersed myself in gardening and collecting watches.
How and why did you start with street photography? stumbled upon street photography when I took a newly purchased camera downtown one day. I realized how exciting it was to photograph spontaneous moments and became fascinated. When I then found Fotosidan.se, I learned about the street photography genre and got a lot of inspiration and advice from more experienced photographers. I got involved in a network that met regularly, went on photo trips and carried out various image criticism exercises.
Why do you take photos? I have always had a creative mind that needs to be maintained. It used to be music, but it turned into photography when I had children. I think that it being specifically street photography has to do with the fact that just like in music, it is largely a genre based on improvisation. You “listen” to the street and make an interpretation that is sometimes instantaneous, sometimes more or less planned. Regardless, there is always the unorganized reality there, which adds an element of unpredictability that I like.
What is your main driving force? I would say, experiences, spontaneity and variation.
Your biggest challenge? I have recently struggled with a lack of inspiration, which in reality means that I do not feel that I am doing anything else than worse versions of images that I have already made. The challenge right now is to get out of this way of thinking by letting go of the demands and just starting to produce images again.
“Thought is the enemy of flow”, as the old Zappa drummer Vinnie Colaiuta is supposed to have said.
Your best photography memory? I can not come up with a single picture that stands out, but there are some images I know were more challenging to take. Like, without being discovered, getting within photo distance of three women standing and sunbathing on a long deserted beach. Or catching up with a surprisingly fast nun when I myself was jumping on crutches.
Although when I think about it, my strongest photo memories are probably a combination of successful pictures and meetings with people in different contexts. I have my photography to thank for many experiences – whether they got stuck on a photo or not.
How would you describe your photography style? As I said, I like variation, which is probably also noticeable in my pictures – they are sometimes perceived as a bit scattered. It is probably possible when I go through my pictures that I can find contexts that can be translated into some form of photography style. Or photography styles, perhaps. But some keywords could be moment, mood, form and tonality. And that perfect is boring.
Which equipment do you prefer? After doing the usual round with a well-filled photo backpack, I realized relatively early that a moderate wide angle is my thing. I would say that 95% of my street pictures from the last 10 years are taken with a fixed 18/28 mm, so I have the luxury of having the focal length in my spinal cord and am not dependent on the viewfinder if there is a need to move fast.
An important component has been to minimize the size of the equipment, where Ricoh GR and the small Fujifilm have become my favorites. Both have good configuration options so they are always ready to shoot on the street.
Do you have a favorite city and why? Not really. I have good memories from all the cities I have photographed in, so it’s probably more about mood than city in my case. Possibly I prefer cities like Barcelona as the mix of city and beach provides completely different environments to shoot in. Plus the food has to be good!
What are your hopes for the rest of this year? That society reopens so that street life returns to something that does not stay on a resting pulse. For someone who likes to get close to the motifs, pandemic restrictions have for natural reasons not really created many photo opportunities.
Traveling is probably also the best way to get out of my lack of inspiration right now, so I hope to be able to go somewhere as soon as possible. There are pictures yet to be taken.
Who are you Eva? My name is Eva Boije af Gennäs and I am a hairdresser, born and raised in Gothenburg, now living in the inner city.
How and why did you start with street photography? I have really gone through life taking pictures. Regardless if I’ve been at family reunions or paddling a canoe down the Yukon River in Canada, the camera has always been with me. People were often the center of my pictures. Ten years ago my life did a turn around and I found myself with lots more of time to myself. I came in contact with street photography through friends and clients who were involved with it. During this time I took a lot of pictures, both with my mobile phone and with a small camera. Sometimes I would jump off the tram or bus because I saw someone interesting. Through Instagram and the Facebook page Gatufoto Göteborg (Street photo Gothenburg) I would get good and fast feedback on my pictures. Later I would get to know people in these groups, lovely people who encouraged me to take the step and do this more seriously. I bought better equipment and started joining photo walks and trips abroad. Today street photography has become a lifestyle, and last year I even got the courage to have my own exhibits.
Why do you photograph? It is fun and it gives me energy. To have both a profession and an interest where you meet a lot of people gives so much back to you.
What is your biggest drive? To learn more and to evolve. But it is also a way to see the world, it looks different when you are searching for motives and have your hunter’s eyes turned on. A moment that you passed by will seldom come back.
Your biggest challenge? To dare stand up for what I do, and to continue believing in my ability to improve. I take courses and for example took one in how to print my own pictures. Technology is not easy but you get a lot of help and support from others.
Which is your best photography memory? There are of course many, but I remember especially one occasion in the Old Town in Stockholm. Everything was perfect – the light, the company, the mood – yes everything. All of a sudden this middle aged couple popped up with clothes sprung out of the fifties. I got my picture and immediately felt that this was going to be my thing, and that this picture I would have on the wall at home.
How would you describe your style? I like when there is a sense of humor or a double meaning in a picture, something that you need to look a little longer to understand. My pictures are most often in color. Otherwise I can’t really say that I have a special style.
Which is your preferred equipment? A skipper’s hat and a 35mm lens on my Fuji.
Do you have a favorite city and why? Madrid, a city that gives you energy. You are nicely treated in a beautiful environment, and the best thing is that the nightlife only starts after nine at night.
What are your hopes for the rest of the year? That we won’t have to practice social distancing anymore and that the street photo festival becomes a success!
Jari, who are you? I was born in Helsinki, but landed in Borås when my mother got a job at Algots. I think that people who have followed me through life would describe me as a philosophical nomad, as I seldom stay in the same place or thought but am constantly on my way, dreaming and exploring. I have lived in Gothenburg for six years, and I love street photography.
How and why did you start with street photography? When I look back at my old slides and photo albums I realize that I probably have been doing street photography since I bought my first camera in 1982. But the interest for the genre started in 2014 when I bought my Fuji xt1 and signed up for a street photography trip to Berlin. The first day of the trip I walked a hundred meters behind the others and copied whatever they did. I only knew Mats Alfredsson, who was arranging the trip, and I didn’t want to take up too much space. But I enjoyed this type of photography almost immediately and after four days I was sold. I had a new passion!
Why do you photograph? For me street photography is a type of meditation and a meeting. A meeting through the lens, and through the talks afterwards. Some people take walks in the woods to enjoy the peacefulness. I walk through the streets and enjoy the meetings, For me it is not a must to show what I have captured and there are many pictures that I have never posted on social media or shown in an exhibition. During the pandemic I have taken daily walks in my neighborhood, always with camera in hand. That is one of the projects I will tackle soon – doing something out of the thousands of everyday pictures.
What is your biggest drive? To be a voice for those who don’t have one. To make the everyday and mundane beautiful. And to give joy to future generations through little instants from our present and their past.
Your biggest challenge? To step out of the shadows and take up space. It is a stark contrast to the calm and unhurried Finn that I am. But I love to expose myself to discussions and confrontations about opinions and feelings.
Which is your best photography memory? It’s difficult to say when there are so many memories and encounters. But one of my early street photography memories is from when I was on my way home from work and had been playing a bit with the camera in Brunnsparken. I wanted to take pictures of people running to get the tram. My camera was on a fast shutter speed and I was ready to go. After a while it was time to wrap up and go home so I started to put away my camera as I was crossing the street. through the corner of my eye I caught a strange sight some hundred meters away. Someone was approaching running on a fence! I quickly got my camera out, got down on my knees and shot a series of pictures of, as it turned out, a guy training parkour. It was over in a matter of seconds. If I hadn’t had my settings right, I wouldn’t have had the time to capture the picture, which served a bit like my trade mark the first years.
How would you describe your style? I am pretty straight to the point in my style. When I started reading about street photography there were tips about being discreet, wearing black clothes, and that black and white was “da shit”. But I am 193 cm tall, love color and vanity, so I thought that even though I am a bit of an introvert, I should be visible and open to others. I want to be seen when I am taking pictures, and I think it shows. But I want to take the picture a split second before it is noticed. The more I photograph the more I become attentive to the environment and the details around the person I am photographing. Just like a football player cannot think about his feint at the moment he is doing it, a street photographer can’t think too long, but must train, train and train until it is a second nature to you when the moment appears.
Which equipment do you prefer? I prefer Fujifilm and fixed lenses, mainly because they are light and small thanks to the compact APS-C format. You take a lot of steps during a day of street photography, and if you are on a trip where you are out 14-15 hours a day for four days it means some kilos less to carry around compared to a full format camera. They also have a nice retro look which make people kinder in their reactions. Taking pictures from a distance is not my thing. 75% of my pictures are taken with my 35mm lens, the rest with 23mm and 56mm lenses. The most important thing for me is to always have the camera with me – the you have the chance to take The Picture!
Do you have a favorite city and why? If I could choose only one city to photograph in it would be Paris. You find everything there. To live in a metropole like Paris does something to people. There is a sensuality and a self confidence in both men and women that I haven’t found anywhere else. This makes it easy to photograph, as it seems totally obvious to a person that I would want to take a picture of him or her. There are also big contrasts in the various parts of town which fascinate me. But I have only scratched the surface and would love to return several times.
What are your hopes for the rest of the year? Naturally I hope that the fall will be more normal. That we will be able to realize the street photo festival, and that it can show people who have not yet found the way to become attracted to street photography. I am mainly thinking about the younger generations and people from different cultures who would get a chance to tell us about their every day lives, and share present and future through pictures. Of course we are also looking forward to more opportunities to go on photo trips in Europe. There are many pictures yet to be taken!
Anna, who are you? I am a restless globetrotter, temporarily halted by the pandemic. I love new exciting places and the people in them.
How and why did you start with street photography?
My first encounter with street photography was at an exhibition in Borås by Mats Alfredsson and the international street collective which he is a member of. Before that I had never heard of this genre. I was fascinated by what I saw – snippets of life from different parts of the world. Color, chaos, people, seriousness, joy. At that time I wasn’t thinking of doing street photography myself, but it was lodged somewhere in the back of my head.
Shortly afterwards I went on a solo backpacking trip to South East Asia. I noticed that I wasn’t only thinking about the usual tourist captures, but also about the people in their daily life. Since then I have tried to evolve and get better within street photography.
Why do you photograph? Because it is fun, challenging and creative.
What is your biggest drive? To improve, to be braver, to create my own photographic language. And to one day take The Picture.
What is your biggest challenge? To raise the camera in front of people without thinking too much.
Which is your best photography memory? I think it is from Bristol. It was at night. I was walking on Gloucester Road when I passed a restaurant. In a window sat a woman, reading a book and eating noodles. As I passed by her I was wishing I had taken the picture. Then I thought to myself – do it, walk back and take the picture. And so I did! She never saw me, and I got high on adrenaline – I had dared to go back and take the picture!
How would you describe your photography style? My pictures usually only have one or a few people in them, in a specific situation. My wish is that they will raise a question, what is happening, what is the story?
Which equipment do you prefer? My Fuji xt3 together with my 16mm Fuji lens is my preferred combination.
Do you have a favorite city and why? Two of my favorite cities are London and Lisbon. London because of the diversity, the street art and the constant flow of people. Lisbon because of the amazing atmosphere, the light, the people and, there as well, the street art.
What are your hopes for the rest of the year? That travel will be possible again – my first trips will be to London and Lisbon!