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Gustaf Wiking

5 February 2021

Our next featured interview is with Malmö resident, Gustaf Wiking, where we explore how his love of low light shooting stemmed from the long Nordic winter nights.

What is your backstory?

My name is Gustaf Wiking and I am 40 years old. I live in Malmö, in the South of Sweden with my wife and dog. I'm currently unemployed due to Covid-19, as so many others. One of my biggest passions in life is gravel bike riding. I love riding on the off beat path and enjoy nature. I always bring my camera on the rides, because you never know what might show up.

How did you first start out in photography?

I think that my interest in photography comes from my father, or at least from his genes. My first camera was, I think, a Pentax. It was a classic 35mm film, point and shoot camera. I actually don't remember when I got it. That said, I do know that my interest in photography and visual documentation comes from skateboarding. When skating it is very common to document the action with both moving and still pictures. We used to make short videos and shoot tricks. So that's where my photography roots come from.

When I graduated high school, I got my first “real” camera from my uncle, it was Nikon EM or FM, I never remember which one. That sparked the interest even more. But when I got my first digital camera, an Olympus, that's when I started to bring a camera everywhere. If we jump a few years ahead to circa 2010, I bought a Canon 7D. I loved that camera and it was that camera that steered me in the direction towards the style I shoot now. Nowadays, I shoot with the Fujifilm X-Pro3.

Where does the inspiration for your shots come from?

Most of my inspiration comes from my surroundings, trying to see the beauty in everyday objects, trying to look at them like you normally wouldn't. I've always loved low light photos. There's something magical about the light settings, especially neon lights, in the dark that intrigues me. My absolute favourite is low light and fog, that is an epic combination. Since I live in Sweden, the winter months are quite dark, so one could say it is a seasonal thing, low light photography, since in the summers the sun sets very late and rises very early.

What subjects do you like to shoot and why?

I like to shoot people (candid portraits of friends etc), even though I don't do that that often at the moment. These days during Covid-19, I've mainly shot nature and buildings. I really like the industrial side of our town, it can be so beautiful, but since I ride my bike a lot, I shoot a lot of nature too. Regarding low light photography, I mainly shoot those photos in the city.

Can you give us some insight to your editing process?

I use some of the film simulations from Fujiweekly and tweak them a bit. The editing, which isn't much, I do in Lightroom. My goal is always to be able to use the shot straight out of camera if possible. I use the “old photo look” in Lightroom quite often to get a warmer feeling, and tweak texture and clarity every now and then. I always shoot with manual settings and adjust them accordingly. When it's dark I often shoot with the lowest aperture my lens can handle, in this case, it's 2. Most shots are shot with shutter speed of 1/60 and occasionally 1/30, since I don't own a tripod it's almost always freehand. I have some ideas for the use of a tripod, mainly from other photographers' photos that I like and want to try, but that's for later. I am planning to learn more about post production even if I'm a big fan of SOOC photos.

Before and after editing

What are your thoughts on Instagram as a photography platform?

I like Instagram, it is a good place to showcase your work and find inspiration. The algorithm, not sure, but it seems to favour those with a big following and make it harder on the people with smaller accounts; but I'm not sure if that's the case, just feels like it.

What are some of your hobbies outside of photography?

Apart from the aforementioned gravel bike riding, my other hobbies are skateboarding and listening to records. All of my life feeds my creativity I think, and I like to document things around me.

Thank you for speaking to us Gustaf. Any final comments?

Thanks for this interview and keep up the good work!

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