Stian Klo is 40 years old, cohabits with Heidi and proud father of little Åse (1.5 years) and Gustav (3.5 years). He lives in Harstad in Troms and Finnmark and has worked full time as a nature and landscape photographer since the summer of 2013. Stian is a co-owner of Discover North AS, a company that specializes in exclusive photography courses and workshops around the world.
«I have always been a creative type, and in the period 2001-2008 I lived in Oslo and worked a lot with music production and DJing. Due to illness in the family, I chose to move home to Harstad in 2008, and without a stage for music production, I needed a new hobby to get an outlet for my creativity.
The result was that I bought my first camera a few months later.
In 2014, my photos were licensed and fronted by Apple in connection with the product launch of a new Macbook. They used a picture I had taken on a fishing trip in Vesterålen to explain the specifications of (then) revolutionary screen technology. In the time since, I have licensed the image several times and been a kind of "front figure" for, among other things, iMac and iPad launches for Apple. This collaboration has undoubtedly opened many doors for me, and I probably would not have been here today without it. "
Can you describe your work in three words?
Cold, three-dimensional (in terms of depth and layers) and curious.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
It is twofold. When I am out in the field versus when I sit in the home office and work with the pictures and various projects. In the field, I often follow light and weather, and let creativity and impulsivity influence the choices, of course in a kind of limited area. At the beginning of my career, I thought differently and composed images more from a large landscape perspective, while today I focus more on small and more intimate moments in nature. With that approach, I feel that the expression becomes more genuine and at the same time it increases the options in the form that locations are everywhere - it does not have to be a large grandiose landscape. Many people say that it is not possible to take photos in broad daylight and blue skies, but many of my photos were taken right then - it's just about how you compose the photos. Do you need to include heaven? Not me at least. When I'm home, a lot of the time is spent deciding which images to edit, and at the same time conceptualizing the expression I want to convey. The finishing itself is surprisingly simple on the majority of the images, it is mostly about cut-out, color harmony and light balance. In recent years, I have produced images that are meant to be presented together as a coherent series, a process that often takes a very long time and results in a lot of gray hair. The term "kill your own darlings" is real. The projects occasionally live their own lives and are often created along the way, which in turn affects my working days in the form that I for long periods do not feel like working with them, while other days when I am inspired by someone or something - can quickly produce 10-15 new designs.
What do you like best about your work? And the least?
I like best that I do not follow trends and only act on instinct. What I like least is that I can get so hung up on small and insignificant details, that I get bored of the picture or that it loses some of its uniqueness and character. I still process pictures from trips 5-6 years ago, solely because I have not "felt" the pictures there and then but at the same time realize that there is something there, delicate balance there and not something I can control. It may take the time it takes.
What inspires you to take the pictures you take, and you as a human being?
There are many things that inspire me: Everyday life in general (for better or worse), the kids, music, emotions, seasons and nature. I often wear the headset, with music from artists such as Robot Koch, RY X, Nils Frahm, Apparat and Nicolas Jaar to name a few - music is a big part of my everyday life, and a place I get a lot of peace and ideas from.
Are you inspired by any other artists or photographers?
I love Icelandic Ragnar Axelsson's documentary ability as a visual storyteller, while I love the playfulness of Theo Bosboom, the minimalist expression of Bruce Percy and the knowledge involved behind the projects of Edward Burtynsky.
Tell us about your process when working with new images, about how you conceptualize and develop the images, or work to capture the moments you photograph?
As described a bit above, I work a lot based on gut feeling. A lot of the pictures and series are created along the way, although I can often have a clear idea of what I want. For me, it is very much about the ability and ability to convey the feeling, and to a lesser extent a kind of check-list of what motives I must have. In almost all cases, I think that plan B is often better than plan A, just because I work with myself and immerse myself in the project.
What is your dream project?
Was actually going to Antarctica in November 2020, which is still (and would be the realization) of the dream project. Otherwise, I have ambitions and plans to go to Hokkaido (Japan), Lencois Maranhenses (Brazil) and Kamchatka (Russia).
Related to art career, what is your goal?
Tell a story and have the opportunity to not be so worried about tomorrow.
What is the most important question art addresses today? What questions do you address?
I have never specifically had that as my overall goal. The theme in my pictures and series is probably more about who I am as a person, and what triggers me. Winter, snow and ice have always fascinated me - I do not have a scientific or theoretical explanation for why I am attracted to it, but there is something about the purity, rawness and its constant change that fascinates me - In addition, brutal forces are involved and it can often be a little "ugly-beautiful". The glaciers and icebergs I photograph, for example, will most likely not look the same tomorrow - so you could say that it is also about the presence and awareness of a "lost world". I did a major interview with National Geographic a few years ago in connection with a project from Greenland. Their journalist asked me after a few emails back and forth if we could call the series "Greenland's Ice: A Photographic Eulogy"- which in Norwegian would be a kind of obituary about the icebergs, a description of its recent journey on the way to the cemetery.
What do you want the viewer to be left with after seeing your work?
I want to contribute to an ever so small brain break from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If I can, if only 1%, help to trigger a feeling - that's all it's about. Maybe a sense of admiration and gratitude for our planet? I buy a lot of photo books and associate emotions differently depending on the state of mind, but still have the benefit of not being left with a kind of positive emotion.
We look forward to showing you what we get in from Stian. This week, new prints will be released every day. You see what becomes available HERE.