From the Editors: Interview with Felix Inden who guides photo tours in Iceland and has focused his interest in landscapes, cityscapes and architecture and passion to express emotions in his photographs.
I was born and raised in Galicia, the most rural region of Spain, at the so called 'Costa da morte' (the coast of death). It's a wild area and the weather is not as spanish as you know it from the mediterranean coast. I guess it was here that I developed this love for colder weather and the wind. Later on I moved to Chile, where I lived for over five years and developed an intense love for nature and being outside surrounded by nothing but this purity that only mother nature can create. Since many years I am based in Cologne, Germany.
I started photography in 2010 and quickly developed a deep passion for it, because it harmonized so well with my beloved travelling. I then did not much more than reading photography books, watching tutorials and then quickly realized that photography was going to be very important for me. I started assisting some photographers in different genres, started doing postproduction for them and suddenly had a foot in the door of the photography industry. Since then I never looked back and focused on developing my own style both in my commercial architecture photography and my passion: landscape photography.
I have spent a lot of time photographing the great landscapes of northern scandinavia, which are very popular among landscape photographers. I will continue portraying the many beautyful areas up there in the north, but nowadays i want to find playgrounds that are not as heavily visited. I want to explore the east of Europe, will be returning to Galicia to find the essence of the culture and landscape there and have expanded my portfolio returning to south america visiting Patagonia. Actually Chile is on my list to do an in depth exploration of the more unknown places. I may dig further into the far north as well, Greenland and Svalbard are teasing me with the masses of ice and unique fauna.
This year, 2015, I have already travelled many miles. In January I led a workshop at Lofoten islands for Lofotentours.com (Stian Klo and Arild Heitmann run this one of a kind phototour business) and then spent some weeks further exploring Lofoten together with my wife, looking for new compositions and angles in this heavily photographed region. Then I made the big leap over the ocean and spent some time in Argentina and Chile in the wonderful region Patagonia. My love for the spanish language, which I speak as second language, was awaken again and so I started thinking what else I could do this year, resulting my summer trip to Galicia in Spain - back to my origins. Now I am preparing for a trip to Svalbard - somehow I am addicted to the rough landscapes of the north... Svalbard is still true wilderness and it will be a real adventure to chase some wildlife and explore remote glaciers.
For me the most important tool besides a neat camera is a sturdy tripod with a quality tripod head. I don't tend to do hikes of more than 3 days, so I always prefer a slightly heavier one, if it gives me the security to be able to shoot without camera movement, even if the wind is blowing strong. Another important set of tools for me are my filterholders and filters (by Lucroit and Formatt Hitech Filsters), which allow me to get the RAW files the closest as possible to the end result in camera. It saves time in processing and often I couldn't achieve the wanted look without stretching the exposure times with neutral density filters or removing glare with a polarizer. Now when it comes to the abilities that help, I think the most important thing is to be abled to "read" the weather and to make your own prognosis of probability for good light.
This together with a general understanding of the given surroundings is far more important to shoot good images than any piece of gear you can buy. And all you have to do is to inform yourself and to keep your eyes open at any time.
In February 2014 I was on a photography trip at Lofoten islands in Norway. As the result of my own stupidity and a little bit of bad luck I lost my camera and best lens (+ filters) in the norwegian sea. I was able to recover all the gear, but it was obviously impossible to save it from suffering the salt water death. I still had some days left on the islands and the conditions were improving every day. The big challenge was getting past this strike of bad luck and recovering my motivation. It was not easy, but I managed to enjoy a nice show of the northern lights without beeing abled to shoot it. Two days later I borrowed an older camera of a fellow photographer friend and shot some of the best images that I have ever taken.
I come from the postproduction scenery and in the early stage of my photography I transferred many techniques from classic retouching into my landscape work. But the better I get and the further I dig into this landscapers world, the less processing I apply to my images. I blend exposures for focus and dynamic range if the scenery asks for it and I have a personal way of matching tones and colours, to represent the scenery the closest as possible to what I experience in the field. But I don't manipulate or composite things into my shots, I want to show the photographed place through my own eyes, but without insinuating things that simply were not there during the time that I spent photographing my files.
Creative satisfaction is an interesting thing to think about. When I come back from a trip with some nice images and then start editing them, I feel creatively satisfied, but this only holds for some days. I call myself a photography junky, so I always feel the drive to go further and get better at what I do. Maybe I should call myself a photographic glutton as I will never be satisfied completely. This world is so big and I have only seen such a small amount of it, that I guess I will be never completely satisfied and this is important: it keeps you hungry for more and it motivates.
Social media has definitly played a big role in my photographic evolution. I am a web native and have always been networking with many different people around the globe. The base for this was my youth, when I lived in many different places with my parents and so I made use of the internet to stay in touch with my friends all around the world. When I then started with photography, social media helped me to feel inspired, to discover new places for my personal bucketlist and most important: I made many new friends that I then met in the field, expanded my own horizon and last not least I built business relations. Social media can be a tricky thing though, you have to learn how to stay true to your own way instead of imitating others and it can be hard in times where you don't have as many cool things to tell the world as the others- but in the end this is a challenge not only in photography, but in life in general. Stay on your own personal path and social media will be a great addition to your life. And never change the way you are hoping for the big fame, this will never lead to a positive end!
During this journey I have met many inspiring persons, both online and offline. I think the biggest role was played by my parents during my childhood, they taught me to be interested in the things happening around me and made sure I developed a general curiosity. This is important, if I would have spent my youth behind a pc or playstation, I wouldn't have developed into the character that I am today. Then there have been the guys that I met online, realized that we have things in common and last not least met offline to go shooting together and so we became friends.
The most important of those have been my friends Stian Klo, Arild Heitmann, Iurie Belegurschi, Dennis Polkläser, and Elia Locardi. Meeting them personally was a big motivation and realizing that these guys are not only popular photographers, but super nice people, was inspiring to say the least. Looking into my collection of photography books is also always refreshing and it shows me that there is so much more than the style i am developing at the moment. Some of those are from Sebastião Salgado, August Sander, Anselm Adams, Elliott Erwitt, Hans Strand and many more.
Thank you Felix for taking the time to do this interview.