Street photo – it’s all about improvising

Interview med Jimmy Dovholt

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, 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.

Jimmy Dovholt

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.

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