Tag Archives: black and white

About portrait photography

This is a blog about portrait photography, without images.

Some days ago I had a wonderful assignment photographing employees at a big advertising agency. It was many persons to be photographed and I built a small studio at the agency and stayed for three whole days. People were put on a schedule. One person every quarter of an hour.

What strikes me is the importance of an image and how difficult it can be to see oneself on a photograph. I had conversations with everybody to discuss the pictures and to find the image that were true to the person. To find the image that they were comfortable with. Sometimes it was very easy, but sometimes it was also VERY difficult. When it was easy it was like, well those are fine. You choose, it is OK with me. No problem! When it was difficult it was like, NO! Delete these!!! I don´t like my nose!  Look at my double chin, can you retouch that in Photoshop? Well, I guess that is how I look. I look like my mother…

It is obvious that the person we see every day in the mirror is different from the same person in a photograph. When you leave the mirror there is no image of you any more, but the picture will stay the same whenever you look at it. At one time two girls came together to help selecting the right picture. That was a great idea! Perhaps one of them said they didn´t like the picture so much but her friend said it was a fine photograph. “You look fine, that is you”. Immediately everything was much easier and it was a simple choice. It is fine to trust a friend.

I also noted that it was more difficult for girls to see themselves then the men. But they also thought they looked fat etc. Taking time for talks they all came up pleased with at least one image. Some said ” I can live with this…”, and they made it smiling.

Being a photographer is hard when the first a person say showing up for a portrait is, ” I don´t like this”. It is just as awful as going to the dentist. !? ( What have we done to deserve theese reputations??? ) I never look good on photographs! So I explain that we will take many exposures, just to choose the best. Blinking is no problem and if you happen to make a strange face, that is no problem at all. But if you only take a few exposures at parties etc. and you blink or make a face. Well, perhaps that is what you will think.

It was great to have the conversations with everybody. Really great. This was one of the most interesting jobs that I have had in a long time because all those conversations. And everybody came up with at least one image that they liked. Personally I think many photographs showed the fine character of the many nice people and fine faces that I met. They all were made in bw. Hope to show you a selection in the future.

😊  Pelle

More from BBC about photography and arts


BBC is a good source for information about photography and arts.

Photography Awards reveal first mobile phone winners.

Mobile phones are useful not only for talking, sending messages or taking selfies. It is not about the most expensive camera, the longest lens etc. I like this! Good images are good images. The best camera is said to be the one that you take with you.

Alla böcker

Lykta 2

Monument 2B

No 4

My own images were made in Paris. Not with a phone.

Picture this

Eiffel Tower in Paris
Should I stay or should I go? Eiffel Tower in Paris. My version at that time.

What is a photograph? How come we are so fascinated by it? These questions come to me over and over again. With the camera we record something three dimensional on some kind of media. Then it comes out in two dimensions. Color or black and white. A black and white version of a reality in color is often a very strong image. When we take the colors away we focus more strongly on the subject in the picture. But, of course it would be all to easy if it were always like that. The moment we press the shutter the picture is part of history, and that part of time will never come back again. Is it perhaps that? We have recorded something that is unique in time. It will never happen again. Sometimes we adjust it. Change contrast, colors or saturation and it becomes more interesting. A good composition helps. But not always. Always is never. Pictures often become more interesting as time goes. They help us to remember. But as they are not always a true document of a person or place they will not help us to remember the truth. But, what is truth anyway? Sorry to confuse you, but I am just so fascinated by it. Please share some thoughts with me if you like. I am sure I will come back to the subject in the future. The future that tends to become past very soon. Often. No, always that is.

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower in Paris. This is my camera version of reality.

Thank you father!

Mamma och son i bil

My aunt Gertrud gave me my very first camera. A small Clic.


She encouraged me to take photographs whenever we met, so I have always thought that she alone started my way into photography. I lived with my family outside Gävle. She lived in Stockholm and was working in a small milk shop. But, my father also must have been important. I see that now. He didn´t have a lab and he never spoke about it, but he was a keen photographer. He wasn´t interested in printing. But he was in taking photographs.

These two are my favorites. Me and my mother and our family on a picnic. He died ten years ago and left us thousands of images. Some very old from his youth and time in the army. His biggest interest in life was vintage cars and motorcycles. There are many with that too. Unfortunately we don´t know who they all are, the people, on the photographs.

My father was happiest in his blue working overall spending most of his time in the garage with his old motorcycles. He had a great selection. I know we have many things in common, we are much alike. I am also very happy with my photography. It has become my way of living.

I remember staying over night in Stockholm at the time. My father and I was walking along a pavement and I was holding his hand. I was so taken by the atmosphere and the surroundings that I said, father I like to live here. He kindly laughed at me. Like parents do when their children say something funny or stupid. He answered, Is that so, no I don´t think so. Since many years I live in Stockholm. Not far from where Gertrud lived.

Thank you father. And you too, aunt Gertrud!

: ) Pelle