I had a chance to catch up with my buddy Vincent Skoglund. He recently reworked his website and you can see it here.
I see in your “BIO” section of your website you have entered your bio as “When not traveling, Vincent Skoglund lives in Stockholm, Sweden” I was hoping to get more of a background story about you. Where you grew up, things you were interested in as a kid, the first time you got busted by the cops, the first time you picked up a camera and decided in that moment you wanted to be a photographer.
I grew up in Falun about 2 hrs north of Stockholm on the countryside. I was, as a kid really interesting in drawing and painting. I also remeber that I wanted to be a boss or an artist when I grew up. I guess that being a self-employed photographer that is as close as I can get. I got busted by the cops when I did my first graffiti on a wall in a parking garage. There was only one window of a flat that could see us. That one flat hosed the chief of police in falun. So 3 cop cars busted us. That was pretty much it for my short-lived graffiti career.
Snowboarding has been a big part of your career. Could you make a connection to how snowboarding has help you evolve as a photographer?
Most of all Snowboarding has been a fantastic way of learning about people, the world and life in general. All the travels and new discoveries. This is what has had the biggest impact on me. Photography-wise, shooting as much as I did when I did snowboarding full time was really what made me evolve. I started young so it was like a life school. Also the commisions from snowboarding companies was so loose there was so much room to be creative. The brief would be like “Vincent, we love your photography just keep doing it”. It was also open for any type of photography, portraits, landscapes, action, life…
In the past 10 years, what would you say has been your most memorable snowboard trip/ shoot?
2 years ago I had a funny and hectic schedule. It was a trip around the world with back to back commitments of very different kinds. Something like this:
1. Paris opening of the Adicolor exhibition. 2 days.
2. Vermont. Shooting, read hunting, Shaun White at the US open. During the pipe contest. For Burton snowboards. 3 days.
3. Whistler, Shooting with Jussi Oksanen and Tadashi Fuse in the Backcountry. A really heavy sled mission since we got a few feet of fresh pow. 6 days.
4. Miami, Shooting tennis with Boris Becker. 2 days.
5. Hong kong, Opening of the adicolor exhibition and press. 3 days.
Adicolor- is an amazing body of work, can you give me a brief explanation of the assignment?
23 different artists around the world got invited to do a shoe and a tracksuit each based on a color. On a 6 week trip around the world I went to meet most of the artists involved in the adicolor project. It turned out to be a fantastic trip of inspiration and great people. Meeting the artists in the places were they work and were they get their inspiration. Since they all have different backgrounds, they have very different ways of being creative, that was great to see. Creativity is the red line that ties everyone together.
The comission from Adidas, was to make my own creative interpretation of the artists, places and the adicolor project in general. Very much a dream job that resulted in little bit more than 100 prints, that got exhibited around the world.
On the WeSC headphone campaign (girls plugged into a pineapple) you are listed as Photographer/ Art Direction. Could explain the new role of Art Director and what it means to you?
It is interesting for me to shoot ideas I am interested in.
The Burton Un-Inc portraits are amazing, the set looks very art directed and I am sure there are some stories here. Can you share a story about the Un – Inc work. (Romain and Gigi with puppies)
Thanks, I worked together with Lance Violette on that shoot. Really fun. We bounced some ideas back an forth a few weeks ahead of the shoot and came up with the night / day concept which is inspired by 60′s music covers and 80′s heavy metal covers. Then all the puppies and kittens shows up as well, with their owners. It was a fun shoot!
I get a feeling there is nothing in the world that scares you physically, mentally or creatively. The Svenska spel work has some amazing post production work, the JC work is a challenge in the lighting and action and Nike and Burton have you on top of a mountain, that I am sure is sketchy. How do you keep focus and creativity? Maybe a comparison between these very different shoots and how they are similar and different.
Lots of times on commercial shoots it is about improving what I got in front of me as much as possible. Making sure the angle, light, composition etc is as good as possible. Of course there is also a thought process before that is very important, to make sure that I do it the right way. I like to get to meet with the art director ahead of the shoot to take the ideas the extra mile and be as good as possible. JC and Svenska spel was well planned ahead of the shoot. With the Nike work we got locations that looked good, then it’s about making it something special. The Burton latest campaign I did for them was with a very snap / reportage approach. That was so much fun. Being in the right place at the right time. Try to get moments that convey the great and fun things about snowboarding.
It is funny how Art Buyers may put a shooter into a category. Categories may include Portrait, Lifestyle, Fashion and Editorial. In a good way I have no way of stereotyping your work, you pull it all off so well! When you think of your work and where you are heading, can you categorize yourself? What interests you in all these types of photography?
I am not really interested in categorizing myself. I like the idea that it is not so much about what you shoot as to how you approach it and how it feels when you look at it.
I hate to do the cliché question but I think it is still a good one for you, when you think of the future, 5 years, 10 years down the road, where do you see yourself going?
I am currently working on a few different personal projects. Having the first of the second solo exhibition with the series “Lightyears” in a few weeks. This exhibition will go from there on some kind of tour. A group show at the Art Basel in NYC as well, with prints from the “Lightyears” series. I am in also putting together a book about the snowboarding life and the people around it. Looking at what interests me at the moment I think I will be doing lots more series that will evolve from the “Lightyears” series. I will become more personal with my work as well.
Thanks Vincent for your insight! I hope to connect soon!