BEHIND THE LENS
| Joakim, tell us briefly who you are, please. Simply, let's get this standard question out of the way - age, place where you were born and where do you live, favorite food, place, music tune, book, etc...|
My name is Joakim Andreassen and I turned 30 years recently (bummer). I live in a small town called Alta, which is pretty much the most northern and coldest part of Norway. Originally from the west coast of Norway and a town called Stavanger. I hate cold weather, love Italian food and Italy in general. Probably gonna move there someday and get myself a cat. I like house music, and the most important thing in my life is fly fishing.
| What's your first memory of holding a camera in your hands? Can you recall the feeling you felt while having your pro-camera in your hands for the first time?|
I think it was my parents old Olympus when I was 12 or something. Obviously a 35mm. I borrowed it a lot and shot random stuff with some friends that were into photography. Never had money to process the film, so it was kind of an eternal struggle. But from time to time I got some money from my parents so that I could go to the photo store and process all the crappy images that I shot.
After this I had a cheap Canon EOS camera for many years, and my first pro camera was a Nikon 1Dh, which I bought from the money that you get as a bonus when you have served military duty in Norway.
| What was included your very first photo gear? And what do you carry in your backpack nowadays?|
I shot with the Nikon D1h for some years, switched to a D70 which I used for a year until I got the D2x, which followed me until I switched to Canon 3 years ago. My first Canon was a 1D MK4. I got a 5D MK2 as a backup, but fell in love with the 5D, so ended up never using the 1D. Sold it, and bought myself some new lenses instead. Right now I use a 70-200mm 2.8, 16-35mm 2.8 and a 100mm. Tried some Zeiss lenses recently, and will buy the whole range when I get really rich one day.
| Where did you start shooting? Who was the first rider you were practicing your photography skills with?|
My buddy Trond Hansen was probably the first guy I shot riding. That was before he turned pro, and we shared an apartment together with a "party swede" and a "singer/songwriter"-dude in Oslo. I mostly rode myself back then, and photography was a hobby. I had done some work as a photographer for a newspaper in my old hometown earlier, but never actually thought about doing it for a living. One day when I took the subway in Oslo I saw a commercial for a photography degree, and since I pretty much was bored to death with what I did then (which was some media bullshit in the university in Oslo combined with working as a bike mechanic), I said: "Yeah, why not take a degree and become a pro so that I can shoot pictures of beautiful naked ladies and stuff?".
At the same time that I went to school I worked as a press photographer and shot some more MTB at the side. Trond turned pro, and I saw the opportunity to maybe sell some shots to his sponsors. Long story short, that's what happened. Got some clients, started to sell stuff to magazines and combined with press photo assignments I was able to make a living out of it.
| External light source - yes or no? |
In my early days of shooting MTB, I would say yes, since the trend was really flash-oriented. But as the ISO-limits got better with newer cameras, I started to shoot more and more without flashes. I like the idea of the natural thing. And it is definitely not natural to have an external light deep in the wilderness (where riders often find themselves). I can justify the use of flashes in a dirt scene, but in the woods I think it looks just lame. (Or maybe that is just an excuse to not drag flashes around, because I am too lazy?) Anyways; I think a true and talented photographer is able to make the best out of a situation without using an external light source, BAM!
| Pros and cons of being a freelance photographer...|
Pros: The freedom. You decide when you want to get out of bed. Traveling. Every day is different etc.
Cons: Being part-time poor and not having a stable income. Watching Trond and Martin get all the good looking ladies. And: I am not too big a fan of being in an airplane…
| You have beautiful winters back home in Norway, yet you seem to not shoot winter sports in the mtb off-season. Is there any reason why?|
As said in the intro, I don't like winter very much. I hate being cold, and if I could choose I would live somewhere where it's warm all year. Obviously the winter can be beautiful from an aesthetic point of view, but still: It is f*cking cold.
| Do you shoot anything outside mtb (and fly fishing, which we'll get to later)|
Nah. Or actually I did a fashion shoot lately, that was weird. And sometimes I am forced to shoot portraits of my sister which she can use on her CV when she is applying for jobs as an actress.
Jokes aside: I do shoot some press stuff. I like features, and I am probably going to do more of that in the future. The best thing with photography is when you are able to tell a interesting/moving/dramatic story with images. In my next life I am going to be a war photographer for sure.
| You have been shooting with many awesome pro-riders, but probably there are still some good pros you haven't had that pleasure to session with. If you could choose several riders to shoot, who it would they be? And what place would you choose to shoot at?|
Hm. I would love to go to New Zealand to shoot with Kelly McGarry for sure. I spent some time with him in Norway during ANTI Days Of Thunder, but I would definitely be stoked to visit him in the sick surroundings at his home base in NZ (also the fly fishing there is soooooo crazy, but that's not that important….ha ha). I never got the chance to shoot with Boyko in Canada, so I would like to do that as well. Maybe combine it with a shoot with Berrecloth. Not to forget Cameron Zink. Was that four maybe? Anyways, I'd like to shoot with riders that are up for going big on big bikes.
| On another note, who is your most faved rider that you've worked with so far? |
By far Niels Windfeldt. Always up for doing another run to dial the trick perfectly. Always stoked. Always open for a dialogue regarding the best way of "attack a photography/riding situation." Does not quit before the shot is nailed. Never. Dedication on wheels, which probably has a lot to do with him being a filmer as well.
Now a certain ex-pro is gonna feel "betrayed", but that's life when you choose pimping your food instead of getting that epic shot, Trond… ;-)
| Ok, tell us now who you like photos from, and where from do you derive you inspiration to shoot photos? Your favourite photo from another photographer is?|
Such a difficult question. I would say nearly impossible. If you mean MTB wise, I have to choose something from Sterling Lorence. Clean style, great use of natty light. Overall a great mtb photographer.
Besides MTB I think I have to go for anything Tim Kemple
does. That man is a photography machine regarding creativity and visual goodies.
If I had to pick one shot, I would choose this one
from the World Press Photo 2012
| Do you prefer to shoot at a quiet private session with riders, or being out there at a loud hyped event?|
Definitely a quiet private session. Way less stressful. But I also love the feeling of a great session. NOTHING beats the dirt session we had on the last Days Of Thunder. Best shit ever.
| Recently, you went to Indonesia with Sam Reynolds and Yannick Granieri. How did this exotic place look from your point of view?|
First of all, staying in the city of Surabaya gave me a necessary dose of perspective. I have never been to a place where there are actually slum areas. There were a lot of poor people there, and I felt bad about representing a society where we complain about increasing gas prices.
Besides this the country was beautiful, and the people were really friendly. The food sucked, and the traffic was even worse.
Recently I was on an assignment in Lofoten, Norway with Antimedia, and I have to say Norway is prettier…
| From our small talk, I know that you are planning to start your own magazine... It won't be about mtb, but your second greatest passion, fly fishing. Does that mean that you are going to slow down with mtb and dedicate yourself totally for the magazine and fly fishing only? |
Fly fishing is my greatest passion, mountain biking is my second greatest ;-) But yeah, making a magazine takes a lot of time. Especially when you have never done it before, and don't have a clue about what you are doing. It has taken a lot of time the past year, but hopefully, when I'm on my feet and established, I will be able to shoot some more mountain biking. If the clients still want to push some assignments my way that is.
Despite the fact that fly fishing takes most of my time these days I will always be passionate about mountain biking. It has been a part of my life since I was a kid, and will probably be like that in the future as well.
| Time to brag a bit. What's the biggest fish you have ever caught?|
That was a 4.7 kilo trout in Iceland this year. Took a super tiny midge pupa imitation, which is totally crazy in a fly fishing point of view. A lot of luck combined with even more luck made it possible to land the beast. The fish was released after we weighed it, obviously. Catch and release only…
| What is your biggest achievement in photography in your own opinion?|
I can't really point at any specific achievements, but I've had five cover shots on Decline, which I consider a pretty cool thing. Besides that I guess I am just an average Joe doing all right…ha ha.
| Your website portfolio contains only one photo (which is well good, btw). Is there anything special to you behind that shot? Tell us something about the 'behind the scenes' of that photo|
The reason for this is that I was going to rebuild my page. The old one was, well, old, and I wanted some fresh shots and a new design. But then I suddenly had to make a fly fishing magazine, and it kind of got prioritized down a bit obviously. Now I basically seem like a photographer that is soooo f*cking rich, awesome and good that I don't need a portfolio, cuz I get all the assignments and bitchez anyways yo. Mafakka!
Maybe I'll just keep it like that.
Anyways: The shot is from San Fransisco where Niels Windfeldt and I traveled with Martin Söderström right after he signed with Specialized to make a "Martin visits Specialized" thingy for Specialized. We didn't know what to shoot, we were hungry and tired from all the walking, Niels was grumpy, Martin missed Sweden, and I was over life in general when we suddenly discovered this spot that Martin decided to jump.
| Besides being a photographer, you are well know as a journalist/writer... what is so good in writing for you and what is the most interesting thing to write about for you? bikes maybe?|
When I was a young emo kid I used writing as a kind of melancholy way of expression that made absolutely no sense at all. Now I mostly write news stuff related to fly fishing, but I think the coolest thing regarding writing is when you are able to put it in a context together with images. I like writing a story that is based on my own shots, and I like the idea of doing the whole thing myself. Hopefully I will have time to write a novel one day when I "grow up" and have no more crave for traveling around roaming the world. It will be a nice way to celebrate the entrance of getting a normal life…or not.
| What i also know about you, is that you have a very good taste for music. Give us top five of your all-time albums and what album is on repeat currently at you iphone/cd player|
"Good" depends on the ear that listens. If you ask Trond or Niels they would say I listen to German techno music. I love the deep house and minimal genres, and have a dream about becoming a DJ one day. Maybe that's what I will do when I am done making a fly fishing magazine… This mix pretty much defines what I am listening to most of the time:soundcloud.com/holtoug/holtougs-unga-bunga-fall-mix-2011
Anyways, here's my top five (six) albums that do not include electronic beats:
- Tool - Leteralus
- Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot
- Opeth - Deliverance
- My Vitriol - Finelines
- Incubus - Make Yourself
- Porcupine Tree - The Incident
| Who are your clients?|
Well, I kind of said to everyone that I was going to make a fly fishing magazine, and that my time was limited. That was kind of a bummer since making a fly fishing magazine does not generate a lot of money before it actually is published. But back in the days I have worked for; Red Bull, Rockstar, Specialized, Adidas, POC, YT, Oakley, NS Bikes, Chainlink, Polygon, Rasoulution, Antimedia, O'Neal, Atmosfair++
- Joakim Andreassen Photography
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