In the midst of buying a new home and moving out of state an opportunity arose that the universe screamed for me to take. During the first week in August I was to travel to southern Sweden and spend 5 days at a studio in the forest alongside 5 other photographers being led by 5 incredible humans. Amanda and Andrea Belluso and Viktor Anderson from House of Belluso, Pratik Naik from Solstice Retouch and his beautiful wife Bella Kotak of Bella Kotak Photography.
This powerhouse group of presenters would guide us through 5 days of shooting, editing, expanding our thought processes and so much more than I could have ever imagined. So off I went flying in to Copenhagen and boarding a train to Sweden, then another train in the other direction, then oops that’s the wrong train so let’s get on a third one! I arrived early afternoon in the seaside town of Simrishamn where I was greeted by a smiling and encouraging Andrea and his 80’s BRG Jaguar. (The BRG is really for my dad here, he’s probably the only one who will get it) As we drove the winding streets to the mansion in the forest I was struck by his kindness and excitement about the week ahead. Since my accommodations weren’t ready yet I got to spend a few hours during the hottest summer in Sweden in over 200 years in a jet lagged haze sleeping in this adorable 1 room cottage.
After a quick nap I was whisked off to my air bnb in Sankt Olof by one of the week’s helping hands, Majda. She was a blast even at 8am when I’m not the most pleasant!
From there the week flew! We had days where we shot, watched, edited, laughed, ate, learned one another’s languages and laughed even more! To give a sense of just how incredible this experience was I went to dinner with the 5 other participants and it hit me that we were all laughing and getting to know one another and came from Denmark, Norway, Germany, Spain, Belgium and the US. Just that fact alone proves that this life is incredible and beautiful! 6 people from all over the globe together for 5 days with a common goal, to grow.
Here’s a glimpse into The Creative Experience and what I was able to create:
The neighbor had cows and one morning Viktor and I walked up to see them (funny story, I’m afraid of cows) and they all lined up super cute aside from the one who photo bombed everything and scared the bejebus out of me!
Nanna and I standing in the Baltic Sea. Thanks to her I learned so much about Danish culture, language and the kindness of her soul!
Joanne (from Belgium) looking on with one of the week’s assistants, Pablo, and speaker Andrea
This is Maya, she graced is with her tiny presence with her human, Magnus (from Germany)
One of the group shoots
The amazing Bella Kotak who got me to swim in a very cold Baltic Sea at dawn!
One of the models, Maria being the best unicorn she can be and yes that is the Pratik Naik holding a reflector for me!
Bella teaching us her process with the gorgeous model Scarlett
Okay so one late night after dinner we dropped Magnus off at the mansion and noticed an intermintent blinking light coming from the studio. Being the grown ups we are we hopped out of the car to spy on our speakers and see what they were up to. Bella quickly saw us and in we went to watch them create this epic shot. 5 amazing speakers, 6 Phase One cameras, 1 photo assistant precariously perched atop a ladder and loads of Profoto gear strategically placed about the floor.
Sunrise after my icy swim in the Baltic
The following were photos I created during my 5 days in Sweden using a Phase One XF and Profoto lights. I can’t say thank you enough for the opportunity to shoot with a Phase One camera which if you don’t know is a digital medium format beast with enough power to capture more detail than you’d ever thought possible.
So many amazing people were involved in the making of this week including:
Stylist: Josef Forselius
Hair/Makeup: Jessica Wahlgren
Photo Assistants: Ta Mo and Pablo Rodríguez
Phase One Guru: Simon Walles
Thank you to Andrea, Amanda, Viktor, Pratik (and the llamas who need translators) and Bella for leading us through the trip of a lifetime! And to Nanna, Joanne, Ane, Eva, Magnus and Maya thank you all for your insights, company, laughter and ABBA!