The Eye of Sølve Sundsbø

“People would say to me, ‘I’m not sure I can hire you, I’m not sure what you’re doing. What is your style?’ I was mortified and thought I was never going to make a living as a photographer.”

One photographer leading the charge for coolness and innovation right now is Norwegian SØLVE SUNDSBØ. Lately, when I’ve found myself mesmerized by the lighting and composition in a photograph, a bit of research has lead me to Sølve again and again. While his images are sometimes referred to as bizarre, I find Sølve’s stellar portfolio fascinating and thought-provoking.

Interestingly, Sølve got his big break working as Nick Knight’s assistant. Under Nick’s tutelage, Sølve learned to push boundaries to create powerful images that move the art form forward in the way Guy Bourdin, Horst and Irving Penn did before him.

“You can be beautiful and sexy outside the narrow interpretations that normally define us.”

On working as Nick Knight's assistant:

“It was hard – almost medieval in the way that you devote yourself utterly to your teacher for nearly four years. But you get that same devotion back from your teacher.”

“People assume my work has been through a computer but actually I also use a lot of old-fashioned techniques.”

“We’re raised to understand that women’s bodies sell products,” he says, “but when you apply the same notion to a male, people can’t accept it. It was an interesting exercise in people’s perceptions.”

This photo has been on my inspiration board for a while, I just love how Sølve captured the playful elegance of Yasmin. Perfection!

“Photography has become democratic – anyone with a digital camera can shoot something and alter it in Photoshop to make it look polished. For the past four or five years there’s been a lot of dull, perfected work around, but there’s an industry backlash going on now.”

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