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PHOTOGRAPHER // Jonathan Hökklo

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Where are you from and where do you live and work now?

I was born and raised in Gothenburg Sweden 1979, I relocated to NYC in 2006 and settled in Forth Greene Brooklyn, New York. I mostly work locally in New York City, hence sometimes work means travelling to other locations. I also go on an one week per month inspiration trip to various places all over the world.

Why did you move? What brought you to New York City? 

After I had traveled a bit in my early 20’s, I decided to go back to Gothenburg to study photography. Shortly after I graduated I had a job, a studio, an apartment and a girlfriend. Yet, I felt like, "Okey, is this it? I am only 25. Will I ever see the world if I stay in Gothenburg or will I end up tying my knots to deeply?" So I figured I will give New York City a shot. I visited the city for 10 days in 2002 with a Hasselblad and I fell in love. I packed a few hardrives, a kitchen knife and my camera. I flew to NYC on a three months visa and ended up staying for 12 years. I am still here and New York still has this magical energy, and to me it is basically the photo capital of the world.

What inspires you about New York? 

In the early years yellow cabs, subways, skyscrapers, warehouses, the buzz and the incredible amount of stuff going on in every street corner inspired me. Now, a few years later, I am kinda sick of all of that. Now, I am more inspired by the diversity around here, the diversity in people, and the diversity in nature in close proximity to NYC. I go surfing from April to October, camping in between, and ski during the winter season. It is still a very good base to fly from when travelling around the world. There is a lot of good food in NYC. And I like this fun pioneering feeling among everyone here; "If u can make it here u can make it anywhere : )."

As a creative do you prefer working solely, in collaboration with other people, surrounded by people, surrounded by music, noise or in quiet?

At this point in my career it is very comforting to have a team, an art director, a side kick or an assistant depending on the job. For example if I get a fashion job then the team means everything for the success of the photoshoot. There is a lot of images to be created and it requires a big team and great effort. Also, I def. want some music on set, but nothing too loud.

One of the greatest things with my travels is the lovely feeling of waking up early in the morning, finding the perfect light and to just shoot away. No one there to help out or have opinions about anything and everything. It is just me, the camera and the natural light solely working calmly together as one. It is like they are its jin and jang. When working provisionally you most always have a team or a client, which is helpful, but then again when traveling it is just pure freedom. I would not choose one over the other. In life having both works very well for me. I love working in the city for a couple of weeks and then just hit the road and shoot stuff for myself on my own.

Do you prefer working outdoors in the nature or indoors in a studio?

I love working on locations, it is always interesting to see something new, can not say I dislike the comfort of being in a nice studio though. 

Are you neat or messy? And how do you think it affects your work?

Pretty neat when it comes to my camera kit. That is a must. I wish I had a bigger office and an in-house assistant so I could be even more organized. Love being organized. Hopefully that is what I show to my clients. Also, for myself over the years, I def. learned it is easier to be organised and plan ahead for any obstacles that may occur, for anything really because sometimes shoots go sideways. 

What was it that fascinated you and had you pursue photography and become a full-time photographer?

Well, there was a lot of things. I always loved photos and photography. I knew I always wanted a creative job, I knew I loved traveling, but I never believed being a photographer was an option. I scrambled around for a little bit to find the right path for me, and one day I was just like "Oh, wait, I can actually do this for a living." 

Was photographing something you always wanted to do, something that grew on you, or just one out of many mediums you like to express yourself through today as a creative?

It def. grew on me in my late teens and early twenties. In between all of it, I though maybe I wanted to be an architect, photo was just a fun hobby at the time, that I was not sure I could make a living off. Hence, after a couple of internships and great effort I got into a photography school and from that point and on it was full throttle photo. 

Is there a particular person in your life or in life in particular that inspires your work, goals and/or mission in life?

To many in order to mention any : ).

How do you think or feel that your artistic style has evolved over time? 

I think I started out kinda glossy but I was inspired by more “matt” work, I would probably say I am in the luster world now.

Where do you think it's going? 

Forward, always forward.

If you could choose a place and time in the future, when and where would it be and what would you be doing there?

Good question, I miss my family and friends back home in Sweden, but I love surfing all year round, maybe with climate changes I could have booth : ).


Check out Mr. Hökklo's Photography here.