When I first started photographing I wanted to capture peoples emotions. But nowadays, even if people – or maybe because of – take selfies and post them everywhere all of the time, everybody is very aware of you and your camera if you point it at them. They either adjust themselves and start posing, or try to hide. I know, can’t judge them, I do that myself. So taking photos of people on the street wasn’t an option, which is quite sad since I love that genre. Also, less and less of peoples lives are lived on the streets, at least here in Sweden where even benches are removed so that undesired citizens wont occupy public spaces.
So where was I to find emotions? A friend of mine started Swedens first roller derby league, I was even asked to join them in the beginning but I was too busy doing yoga and traveling to India so I said no. But since I knew her, had seen the movie “Whip it!”, I decided to try to take some photos at a game. Of course I sucked at it. Didn’t know anything about the game, the venue was so poorly lit, and roller derby is a fast game and things are going on everywhere. But I loved the atmosphere , it’s like the toughest women on the planet gathering at one place, and so many emotions. Before the game there’s a sort of anticipation, but still, everybody is super happy to be there and be able to play their sport. During the bout there’s even more emotions; happiness, anger, determination and sometimes you can catch when a player is “in the zone” and their performance is just where they want it to be.
Got a better camera when I had some knowledge of the game and started taking photos. And I’ve taken so many, it’s been the best photo school in the world. Also found my style since most of the games at that time were taking place at a venue with Stockholms ugliest wall, it looks like it’s made of light brown mud and sucks up all the light that’s in the arena. And, since there’s not much light in there to begin with the photos gets super grainy. Also, nothing looks good with that colour as a backdrop. During one bout between STRD and Helsinki Roller Derby by accident, I zoomed in on one player and managed to avoid “the wall”, and the photo looked great. Yes, I’m allowed to say that about my own photos, if I didn’t love them why would I continue?
So here I am, almost ten years later, a sports photographer. But still, it’s emotions I photograph no matter what sport I’m covering. And to illustrate all this about roller derby and emotions are some photos of people on water scooters that I took a couple of days ago. It was my first attempt at it and loved it since it’s a combination of all the things I love to portray; speed, people with their emotions, and of course, water.