“Sesse often produces both still images and film when working on a project, which places him in a very select category of photographers who can master both techniques. Using light and shadows, he possesses the experience and creative vision to capture the beauty in most anything. Sesse is also well known for his portraits and has worked with stars like Kevin Bacon, Andre Holland, Charlie Heaton, Kehinde Whiley and Michael Jordan.” See more
NAPA is proud to announce that Sesse will join the jury of the 2021 NAPA World Photography Awards! The interview below reveals a personal side of Sesse and we hope you can be inspired by his experience.
NAPA: What is “photography” to you?
Sesse: It’s a lifestyle of exploring and recording lights.
NAPA: How did you start photography?
Sesse: Back in 1986, I was 14 years old, and the hip hop wave struck Sweden. Graffiti became my lifestyle, which led me to art school. However, my art school teachers were extremely uninspiring and I enjoyed the speed of photography. Instead of waiting for paint to dry, I could do 36 “paintings” on 1 roll of film. I built a darkroom and a studio with a couple of friends, and we all lived there. We worked as photographer’s assistants and taught each other lighting styles and darkroom techniques. After assisting for 5 years and working all analog for 10, it was time to switch to digital (best thing ever! It made the process faster, easier and more accurate without all the time spent in darkrooms). I started to shoot for magazines and small brands. Then I realized that I could make a living by looking at things and was instantly sold.
Sesse: I met my love in Stockholm and we escaped to New York, got married and live happily ever after. 10 years later and I can now call myself a NewYorker.
NAPA: Do you have a style? What is it? How have you developed your style?
Sesse: My style is fast problem solving, being hands on and working hard. I shoot all kinds of photography and video with big and small productions, with all kinds of lenses and cameras, so I need to be able to adapt fast. The last couple of years I have worked a lot in New York studios with high speed cameras and robot arms. I do have a thing for clean lines and graphic shapes though. Think it’s from graffiti.
NAPA: What is the story of this work? What is the key message? How did you reveal that in your work?
Sesse: These shots are from a look book and a fashion show multimedia installation called “From Russia with Love” for Blank Ateliers in Stockholm. The idea was to create a scene of a Russian harbor at night, an underwater submarine ambiance inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker. I wanted it to be minimal and dramatic, so I used buckets of oil and tar for smells together with practical lights, projectors and a couple of Lekos. Haze machines were used to amplify light beams. I made loops of stills from drone shots of Siberia covered in snow and a close up of dripping water into a metal sink. I created and mixed abstract music. This was performed for 45min with a laptop as intro to the show.
Sesse: When it comes to planning, I try to plan everything into every small detail. That way I’m prepared to think about new solutions on the spot. It also helps the rest of the team to understand me better. I want to feel like I’m translating images from my head into ones and zeros. When working with a client or art director it’s more about trying to understand them and describe how you are going to solve the image creation within the time and budget.
NAPA: How much effort did you put into it? Could you share the most difficult part of creating this work and how you overcame it?
Sesse: One of the most difficult projects I’ve been a part of was for Canon lenses, I shot in 4 different locations in 4 days from Switzerland to Barcelona. The idea was to create 4 mosaic landscapes with 8-10 different lenses. Each shot should work as a freestanding interesting image that reflects the usage for the specific lens. Macro to tilt-shift and wide-angles mixed with the 800mm. My documentary photography and travel experience came to play here with an amazing team.
NAPA: What advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?
Sesse: Photography is the art of recording light. Study and think about light and apply that to the object you desire to capture. We are all photographers. Today you don’t have to learn cameras and technology. There are photographers using their phone cameras in all kinds of amazing ways. If you want to become a professional photographer you need to network, team up with other creatives and study the industry. Skill stacking and hard work helps a lot as well. Be curious.