"Never Mind" Copyright © Tommy Ingberg (Sweden), All rights reserved.
Tommy is a member of Art Limited since 2011. You can also find out more about his work on his Art Limited profile.
Briefly tell us about yourself
I am a photographer and visual artist from Sweden, born in 1980. I live in Nyköping, a beautiful small town about an hour south of Stockholm. I have been photographing since I was a child and have tried all types of photography. Right now I work with photography and digital image editing, creating minimalistic and self-reflecting surreal photo montages dealing with human nature, feelings and thoughts.
When and how did you start to create?
When I was 15 years old I got my first "real" camera, a Praktica with two lenses. It had no autofocus and the metering did not work. I spent endless hours experimenting and shooting as much film as I could afford. It was then I really decided that I wanted to do photography. I needed a way to express myself, and instead of playing in a band, painting or writing I chose photography. What followed were several years of intensive photography but it was first when I could afford a digital camera that I really started to develop, thanks to the fact that I could see the result directly in the camera, the whole process of trial and error was speeded up tremendously by not having to wait for the pictures to come back from the lab.
Since then I have tried several areas of photography; portraits, concert photography, street photography, nature photography and everything in between. I can’t tell you why I chose photography, but there is something about it that really speaks to me. Even nowadays I can still feel that excitement when I know that I just captured a great picture, often when something unexpected happens in front of the camera. No matter how well you plan your shoots, there is still an element of chance involved and I love that about photography.
"Hollow" Copyright © Tommy Ingberg (Sweden), All rights reserved.
How and why your work as changed since you started?
I have been doing traditional photography for a long time, but about six years ago, during a rough period of my life, I started creating surreal photo montages dealing with my feelings and inner life. Although I have always felt a “need” to create I don’t think I ever thought it to be about more than just creating pretty pictures. This time it was different, it was a way for me to try to sort out what was going on inside me, I stopped trying to make what I thought was “art” or “good photography” to others and made pictures just for me, because I needed to. I stopped caring about what other people might think of my work.
By crossing that line I was free to tell my own stories, and by crossing the line from photography into photo montages I had the tools to actually tell those stories. The reward was twofold, it helped me as a sort of therapy and in my art I also found a purpose, something I love doing and can be proud of.
I think that we all in our own way search for answers, trying to make sense of life, the world and being. For me, this is something I do through creating pictures.
What are you trying to share via your art?
With my surrealistic work i am trying to explain something abstract like a feeling or a thought, expressing the subconscious with a picture. For my work I use my own inner life, thoughts and feelings as seeds to my pictures. In that sense the work is very personal, almost like a visual diary. Despite this subjectiveness in the process I hope that the work can engage the viewer in her or his own terms. I want the viewers to produce their own questions and answers when looking at the pictures, my own interpretations are really irrelevant in this context.
Good storytelling, visual, written or otherwise I think should hold a level of ambiguity; it should let you draw your own conclusions from your own perspective. I try to be playful and make my stories ambiguous. Although I always have a concrete idea behind my pictures, with time my perspectives change and my original stories fade away and become replaced with new interpretations. I avoid sharing my own intentions and interpretations since I think that art should be about what the viewer sees in a picture in this moment and mindset, and I don't want to spoil that. I always love hearing different peoples interpretations of my pictures, it’s very interesting how we all think differently, but still in some way alike.
"Stone Pt1" Copyright © Tommy Ingberg (Sweden), All rights reserved.
How do you learn and work on your skills?
I learned, and am still learning, by practising. If there is something I don't know how to do I try to look it up on the Internet. It's a fantastic source of information and I owe a lot to all the kind people sharing their knowledge and writing tutorials. For me it's always been easier to have a vision of what I want to achieve and then trying to find a way to do it, rather than doing exercises in a book or a workshop.
How do you prepare a creation or project work and what equipment and/or techniques do you use?
I don’t believe creativity is something that “strikes” you, but rather something you have to work actively on. I’m nowhere near to fully understand my own creative process, but I do have a work flow I follow. I try to schedule creative sessions of one or two hours a couple of times each week where I don’t do any actual work. In these sessions I shield myself from the outside world and the distractions of everyday life and try to come up with ideas. I believe for creativity to happen I need to be in a calm, playful and open mindset where I can focus and hear myself think. This is easier said than done, it takes a lot of effort to force yourself to take this time to not think about or do anything else.
How I come up with specific ideas is hard to describe and very different from time to time, basically I just let my mind wander and sketch down ideas in a notebook. Sometimes I start with a visual aspect, like something I photographed, or something in front of me (I’ve noticed there is a lot of hands in my pictures for this reason) but most of the times I start with a thought or a feeling and take it from there. It is very much an unconscious flow, and all I really can do is to make time for it.
"Inside" Copyright © Tommy Ingberg (Sweden), All rights reserved.
When I have an idea for a picture I let it rest for a couple of days, keeping it in the back of my head. It’s seldom the absolute first idea that is the “best”, if I keep thinking about it I can usually develop it into something more. When I have a somewhat finished idea of what I want to do I proceed by photographing the source material and then putting it all together in Photoshop and proof printing. I have not timed this work, but I would guess I put in between four to 16 hours of work behind the camera and computer to finish a picture.
I don’t really pay much attention to the technology- and equipment part of photography. I buy only equipment that I really need and that somehow improves my work. I shoot with a Canon EOS 7D and 5D, mostly equipped with a L 24-70/2.8 lens. In studio I use lighting from Elinchrom and a really sturdy Manfrotto tripod. Editing is done with Photoshop on a somewhat high-end PC.
What does the Internet media give you?
It's hard to overstate the importance of the Internet. It lets me share my work with an audience that is just not possible to reach for an aspiring artist in any other way. Through the Internet and my art I've also met so many wonderful people from all over the world.
"Anchored" Copyright © Tommy Ingberg (Sweden), All rights reserved.
What are you expecting from Art Limited and/or other members?
I think Art Limited is one of the very few sites on the Internet with consistent high quality work, not only photography, but all kinds of different artforms. It's both very inspiring and very humbling to see all these great works from creative minds all over the world.
What are your plans in the future?
Right now I'm focusing on creating new work and developing my craft. Other than that I don't have any concrete plans; Last year was turbulent with a lot of things stealing focus from creating, so now I'm just enjoying a calm period of creating and spending time with my family. There are a couple of exhibitions on the horizon for next year, but nothing that is decided yet.
"Surrender" Copyright © Tommy Ingberg (Sweden), All rights reserved.
"Struggle" Copyright © Tommy Ingberg (Sweden), All rights reserved.
"Demons" Copyright © Tommy Ingberg (Sweden), All rights reserved.
"Think" Copyright © Tommy Ingberg (Sweden), All rights reserved.
"Hive" Copyright © Tommy Ingberg (Sweden), All rights reserved.