Fashion photographer Per Zennstrom

Change is good !

Per Zennström is a international, contemporary fashion photographer, blogger, on-line publisher and teacher, public speaker passionate about photography, fashion, pop-culture, new media and the space where all these things come together, mix, match and mate with business...

So it reads in the header on my pop-cultural blog 10horses and while I certainly think that it is a very relevant description of what I do, here I will try to give a bit more personal account of what makes me tick. First of all I’m incredibly happy to be making my living as a fashion photographer, I really couldn’t think of a better or more exciting profession. I actually get paid to do what I love and that is pretty rare, I believe. I’m fond of saying that I never really felt that I “go to work” . Every day is usually filled with new things to learn and new exciting projects to sink Your teeth into. I feel truly blessed...

I also really enjoy the fact that as a fashion photographer I’m constantly forced to re-invent myself and come up with new fresh ideas and images. There is nothing as old as last seasons fashion images and I actually value this very fleeting and ephemeral aspect of fashion photography. I come to think of that famous quote, (by Tony Armstrong-Jones ?) about fashion images and wrapping up fish... Fashion-images are meant to be consumed and then discarded. But I also firmly believe that some images will survive and go on and take on another meaning outside the fashion context. That is another driving force of mine.

Fashion and fashion photography is really at the very center of this pop-cultural vortex where absolutely anything gets used to “feed the machine” and I find that amusing and very liberating. As a fashion photographer I’m allowed and maybe even required to use every pop-cultural manifestation to tell the story and that puts my images right in the center of “everything”. Just the other day I came across some very insightful words about the cultural relevance of fashion by designer Hussein Chalayan:
"Fashion is actually a part of culture although fashion, sort of, separates itself as this other world... and “...what fashion shows do is show the new image of the body.”

A dear friend of mine and a person i really respect once told me that
“ a creative, You always need to tell the same story, but every time You do that You need to tell it in a different way”

That really struck a chord within me and I think that has influenced my way of going about creating images. That is yet another aspect of being a creative... I have started seeing myself as an image maker as opposed to a being photographer. I sometimes find being "just" a photographer will limit Your ability to tell a story and I’m now employing other ways of communicating like blogging, producing multi-media events, film & video, journalism etc etc... Don't get me wrong, I still love being a fashion photographer and I hope to do this for a very long time still... Essentially I'd like to try to take care of a bigger piece of various projects. I'm not bored with photography, on the contrary. I just have discovered the fascinating possibilities of things outside pure photography.

Another phenomenon which has struck me is the rise of the blogger and how absolutely everything is shifting and changing within the media industry.
Old media out and new media in... Editors out and bloggers in... Still image out and moving image in... Print out and digital in... Newspapers out and tablets in... Desktop out and mobile in...
Essentially new technology coupled with the web 2.0 has given individuals the power to tell their own stories and distribute that to anyone on-line and that is an incredibly powerful realization. Once You really has understood the possibilities there are so many new avenues opening up. Earlier dependencies on old media (magazines, editors, agencies) are now more or less gone and You, as a connected individual, has now been empowered to control the story You want to tell. We as photographers are right in the middle of this profound shift of power, some of the old business models do not work any more and there is a scramble to make sense of what’s going on. I choose to see opportunities in all this...

When I started out as a photographer the common wisdom was that the editorial work was the "creative and fun stuff" and later on You got your "payday" by doing advertising, (based on your previous editorial portfolio). The underlying, but not spoken, thought was that everything creative was done editorially and you simply just cashed in by doing advertising. For a long time now I consider the new forms of marketing and advertising the creative, daring and progressive channel to work in and my hopes are to explore this a lot more in the future.