Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Bjørg-Elise, I live in Harstad, a town in Arctic Northern Norway (68°N) with my two sons and husband. I am a photographer but I also just earned a Bachelor in Graphic Design from the University Of Herefordshire through IDI (Interactive Design Institute). Besides this I also illustrate and paint.
What is your favorite medium?
It is difficult to single out a favorite medium as I mix them all a lot. But I guess it also goes in phases. Right now I am in a period where I do a lot of photography. This is mainly because we are entering The Time of Darkness up here, which is my favorite period of the year to portray. But saying that, I also have a painting in the making and I am working on graphic design projects as well.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
In my photography work my main inspiration is my environment with its great contrasts and wild beauty. I am especially inspired by the darkness up here and constantly in admiration of its beauty and the way it is actually most defined by light. When the sun is under the horizon, even on its highest point, the sunlight is scattered in the higher atmosphere displaying the most amazing displays of light. In the hour before and after this the light is reflected in blue and we can witness the phenomenon called the blue hour. The snow-covered landscape reflects these lovely hues of colors, and of course, we also have the Aurora – Northern Lights. Besides this, I am mostly inspired by wild and dark weather, and I seldom bother to bring my camera if it is a sunny day with blue skies.
What is your creative process?
For me, photography is just as much about conveying the mood of the landscape as well as the feelings it afflicts on you, as doing that perfect technical shot. Perfect shots are plenty and I have a desire to go beyond that and to express how it (the scenery) might resonate with the viewer. The history, the feelings that light evokes; the feelings that the darkness evokes – it can be beautiful, hostile and seductive. I try to dip into this when I edit my pictures and in effect I take subtle, artistic liberties in my editing. I search for that extra, which will underline the feeling I want to convey.
Is there a specific theme/message/emotion you aim to evoke?
I guess the soul of the scenery, with its wild beauty and potential dangers, or the quiet and sensitive beauty. All that dwells in the extreme contrasts of the Arctic.
What motivates you to continue to create?
It is a reflex, an obsession almost. I really don’t need any motivation; it just forces its way out.
When you encounter creative blocks, what do you do to overcome them?
I have found that a good night sleep is the best remedy for creative blocks. Sometimes it helps to tackle it from another direction with some divergent thinking.
What are your thoughts on the future of art?
This is actually something that I have given a lot of though due to the fact that I practice both fine art and commercial art. It is interesting to see how the borders have shifted and we now see an increasing use of art for design’s sake and design for art’s sake. Maybe we are slowly returning to the period where the artist was viewed as a workman before art became a divider between the classes.
Mass production plays a vital part here, and now the digital revolution has its effects. At the same time designers work, such as Stefan Sagmeister’s, are being exhibited in the biggest galleries and design students are studying alongside art students. It is an interesting shift. I guess I can only speak for myself when I say that I embed equal amount of ‘soul’ in my commercial work as I do in my art work, and that in both I am driven by the urge to convey my message.
One thing is for sure though; our society today is always hungry for visual impressions. Everywhere we turn we are faced with something new. Art’s place in this might be most defined by the new generations and how much bearing they choose to give it in a world of pictures and impressions everywhere.
What is something you have had to learn on your own that you would like to pass on to the next Creative?
Stay true to yourself. Explore your expression. Be inspired, but never try to copy.