“I didn’t see it as a challenge necessarily, but I think you reach a certain level and then you have to change course. Hopefully, it’s the right one.”
Born in Denmark, photographer Torkil Gudnason came to the United States in 1978 and immediately began working in the world of fashion. While working in the commercial world of photography, Gudnason began to apply the same techniques and production value to his fine artwork. Gudnason’s most recent works explore the contemporary natural world through the use of exaggerated lighting and color within the context of still life photography. In contrast to the long, dark winters that Gudnason experienced as a child in Denmark, it is only natural that he is attracted to the vibrant, electric colors and forms that his work depicts. Gudnason shows his works extensively in the United States and around the world. Most recently, he collaborated with the show designer Fratelli Rossetti, showcasing selected images from his “Hothouse Color” and “Electric Blossom” series. Gudnason’s photography has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Detour, and Esquire. Advertising clients include Elizabeth Arden, Neiman Marcus, MAC Cosmetics, L’Oreal, Shiseido, Estee Lauder, and Calvin Klein.
Here’s a snippet from Torkil Gudnason’s interview:
What inspired or motivated you to start your career?
When I started, I didn’t look at it as a career.
What is your work philosophy?
Work should be fun.
What is it about photos that you are most passionate about?
The essence of time. Also the mystery, and the printing process, which is essentially the other half.
What is the most difficult challenge you’ve had to overcome to reach your current position?
I didn’t see it as a challenge necessarily, but I think you reach a certain level and then you have to change course. Hopefully, it’s the right one.
What is the greatest satisfaction you get from your work?
Staying out of trouble. The job is part psychology, part technician, part improvisation. You meet a lot of interesting people, most of whom have become dear friends.
How do you define success?
What advice would you give to students starting out today?
Follow your heart; the rest follows.
Read more of Torkil Gudnason’s interview and discover other great artists and educators in Graphis Journal #374, which you can purchase online at graphis.com.