I first came in contact with Andreas Larsson when I, together with some friends, made an independent, arty fashion publication. This was in the early 2000s and Andreas shot a men’s story for us. During that time he was very influenced by the prevailing documentary fashion photo inspired by art photography that became big in the 1990s.
Some time after that I recall him telling me that he had decided to start working with real models, mirroring the fashion world’s move towards more obvious beauty, which was a main story during the 00s.
Since then Andreas has moved up in the world, these days shooting advertising for Lanvin menswear and working regularly with Dazed & Confused, Fantastic Man, 10 Magazine, Bon Magazine. Just to name a few.
I asked him to send me a photo that he liked at the moment and he sent me this shot from Candy Magazine, a fashion magazine for transvestites, drag queens and transsexuals.
Andreas’ story is not uncommon for Swedish photographers working in fashion. Come to think of it there are many great ones from Sweden. The most successful one is of course Mikael Jansson who is one of a few elite photographers working at the absolute top level – regularly shooting campaigns for Calvin Klein and the top Vogues.
There are others. John Scarisbrick shot for legendary fashion and pop culture bible The Face in the 90s while Polish-Swedish Kacper Kasprzyk has landed both prestigious campaigns such as Yves Saint Laurent menswear and lucrative ones – this spring he’s shot the Gucci eyewear campaign. Needless to say, he also works for high-profile publications (Harper’s Bazaar, Another Magazine, Vogue Japan).
And that’s just the guys. Martina Hoogland Ivanow is as much an art photographer as a fashion photographer, if not more so. But with a Prada campaign on her CV you can’t escape naming her as one of Sweden’s top names. Camilla Åkrans is soon rivalling Mikael Jansson in stature with her work for Numéro and campaigns for Missoni and Sisley. Lina Scheynius’ soft and intimate style has been making waves for a few years now, while Louise Enhörning is another female photographer whose forte is to capture the beauty of teenage girls in a respectful way (a talent that landed her jobs for Teen Vogue).
When you start looking at fashion photography from Sweden, I think it’s difficult to say that there is a certain style. In this I think it says a lot about the restrictions on Swedish fashion when people have to sell clothes to the Swedish public. When creative fashion people from Sweden can do as they like and they have a global audience, the style they develop might sometimes be minimalist, but many times it is as much a break with this aesthetic as anything else.