For one time only we did things differently. Kalle Björklid (1980, Kemi) interviewed himself. He was in charge. The only question asked was: Which burning questions would you yourself like to see answered?
Tell us a little about yourself and your approach to photography.
I’m a part-time music photographer from Finland, born in 1980. I like to think of myself as an artist, by which I mean I aim to create exhibitions and books, rather than do commission work for magazines or record companies. At the moment I’m working on my first tour photo book which will be published at the end of 2010.
What got you started in concert photography in the first place?
The reason I began to photograph concerts was a rather bad one: I knew I wanted to do photography but I didn’t know what to photograph. Concerts provided me with a clear target, and I didn’t have to wander around town searching for subjects. Of course, my motivation and reason for photographing music has evolved since then.
What do you aim for with your photography?
I see concerts, musicians, audiences, festivals, venues and the rock culture as part of a small universe, and my job is to explore it. That is, I don’t have an exact set of goals; I think that would be restrictive. This doesn’t mean I don’t have an idea of what I’m aiming for when I’m at a gig, but it does depend on what I see and feel when I’m there. Some of the themes I currently enjoy exploring are humour, dedication and talent, exhilaration and emotion, the contrast between the rock world and everyday life, and the communication and exchange of energy between the artist and audience.
What motivates you? Where do you draw inspiration from?
I feel concert photography is very often approached in a rather restricted manner. It seems that all many people are interested in are visually one-dimensional pictures that glorify the musicians. This means there’s a lot of uncharted territory to explore, and for me, finding something new to show is one of the most satisfying feelings. I draw inspiration from my subjects and my surroundings. When I’m photographing, I try to be alert, to see what’s happening around me and use my intuition and wit to capture the significant moments. I also like to explore other photographers’ work, but I mostly steer clear of looking at concert photographs. I love the compositional tension present in Henri Cartier-Bresson and Cristobal Hara’s (a lesser-known Spanish artist) work. I admire greatly Elliott Erwitt’s ability to capture documentary shots that have a very humane, warm and cleverly humorous quality to them. Anton Corbijn uses his intuition wonderfully to create unusual portraits in the environment in which he meets his subjects.
What kind of concerts and artists do you like to photograph?
I love rock clubs. Small venues enable me to capture both the audience and the artist in the same picture, and show how they affect each other. Many punk and metal band shows also have a wonderful chaos of flying hair, fists, faces and other body parts. It’s very exciting although sometimes a bit painful to be in the middle of all that. At bigger concerts you’re only in the middle of other photographers, or so it seems. As for artists, I prefer energetic bands that have an enthusiastic audience and really enjoy themselves on stage. Again, I feel that how the artist connects with the audience is very important. Most Finnish musicians are very down to earth, so while the gigs may be really good and wild, they are just normal people backstage and on the road, so that creates an interesting contrast and challenge.