We are glad to present some really impressive lighting setups from New York based photographer Mattias Olsson. In this interview Mattias tells more about himself and his work.
Lighting For Photo: – Where are you from?
Mattias Olsson: – I was born in Malmö, Sweden. I moved to New York when I was 22 and lived there for 13 years. I recently moved back to Sweden and now live in Stockholm.
Lighting For Photo: – How old are you?
Mattias Olsson: –38.
Lighting For Photo: – How long have you been into photography?
Mattias Olsson: – Since I was about 13, 14.
Lighting For Photo: – Do you prefer studio or location sessions?
Mattias Olsson: – I do almost all of my work on location. But I do enjoy shooting in the studio sometimes too. There’s nothing quite like shooting a portrait in a great daylight studio.
Lighting For Photo: – What is your dream assignment?
Mattias Olsson: – I’ve always liked David Byrne (from Talking Heads). It would be cool to spend a day with him, making portraits for Interview, or some other funky magazine.
Lighting For Photo: – What other photograpers do you like?
Mattias Olsson: – Arthur Elgort, James Nachtwey, Sebastiao Salgado, Edward Weston.
What is your favorite piece of photo equipment?
Mattias Olsson: – My Speed Graphic 4″x5″ camera from the 60’s. And my beautiful Rolleiflex.
Lighting For Photo: – What is the most common beginners misstakes when it comes to lighting?
Mattias Olsson: – Killing the mood with too much light. And not seeing/finding the natural light.
Lighting For Photo: – What is your favorite lighting setup?
Mattias Olsson: – I always work with natural light when possible. And when I can’t, I tend to light a set to make it feel like natural light. Unless the scene is supposed to be dramatic, like a portrait of a musician in a club or some other nightscene.
Lighting For Photo: – What is your worst photo experience?
Mattias Olsson: – I was a very green assistant, maybe I was 19 or 20 years old. I had just started working with this semi-famous photographer, and he had shot an important advertising job. This was in the early 90’s, so we’re talking film not digital. He shot the whole thing on medium format TMAX 100 film. My job was to develop the 20 or so rolls and make contact sheets. Since I was new I didn’t know this particular darkroom too well. I used the developer from the container labeled TMAX Developer. It was a liquid that should me mixed 1 part chemical to 4 parts water. Then you warm it to 20 degrees Celcius, and now you’re ready to process the film. The problem in this case was that the developer I used had already been mixed 1+4. So I had taken the finished developer and diluted it again 1+4. Needless to say the film came out very thin and under developed. And of course I thought I was being very efficient and had processed all 20 rolls at the same time. By some miraculous luck I was able to make the contacts (using the 5+ filter for the B/W paper, meaning the highest contrast), and the prints for the job, and the photographer and the client never found out.