Today we’re talking to Jimmy Dovholt. Stockholm man, its a dark dark place, literally… Come hear about it.
Thanks for taking some time out to have a chat Jimmy. First off, can you tell us a little about yourself and you work?
Thank you for having me, it is an honour. I am 44 years old, father of a tweenie son, I work as a Web Analyst and live in a suburb not far from central Stockholm, Sweden.
I have been photographing since 2007 but didn´t start shooting seriously until a couple of years ago. It was then I decided to actively study and engage with the international online SP communities as well as hooking up with some of the local shooters. I did engage with others before this too, but realized that their ideas of what good SP is about was quite primitive and was holding me back.
Looking back at my earlier work I can see a big shift in the way I photograph and how I determine which images are keepers after attending a workshop with In-Public last spring.
I do most of my shooting in Stockholm where I live, but like to visit other cities as much as possible. That´s one thing I really love about beeing a street photographer: give me a camera and a pair of nice sneakers, air drop me anywhere urban and I am happy.
As far as style concerned, I like observering people, patterns and the surroundings. My own mood at the time affects both what I find interesting to shoot and how I present it. Therefore, I have no problem mixing loud shots – usually with flash – with more quiet observations in available light in my photo stream. Close up flash may be “Cruise Control for Cool” nowdays but I would get creatively bored shooting nothing else than that.
I know youre from Stockholm. Can you tell us a little about shooting on the streets there, and how it might differ from other places around the world?
Compared to the major cities in Europe or elsewhere Stockholm is not that large, with less than one million people living in the municipality. We have a nice international mix of people which means divergent street life
In summertime we have lots of light, in June you could actually shoot hand held 24 hours a day. On the other hand we have an average of some 50 hours of light in total in November so no wonder if we get nuts. The dark winters are actually a consideration when trying to explain Swedens suicidal rate. A crappy summer with rain and no sun probably bumps the suicidal rate up a notch or two as well 😉
Shooting street in Stockholm means that you have to go look for people during winter since we tend to do most of our stuff indoors dressed in dark colours. Basically Sex, ”fika” and rock and roll. From springtime and until autumn we go nuts again and spend as much time as possible outside since any sunny day could be the last one.
Sweden is an open society and our legislation towards shooting in the streets are the same as in most countries: you are allowed to take pictures while in a public space. The only restriction concerns military installations, but you don´t find many of those inside the urban settings. Besides the law I would say that the citizens might have more narrow idea of what is legal so from time to time I run into people that I have to explain this to. I always have business cards with me that says “STREET PHOTOGRAPHER”, since I´ve learned that it helps calm any heated situation down if you are quick on the draw. There haven´t been many of those though.
Can you talk a little more about the In-Public workshop. What did you find helpful about attending a structured learning session?
Besides meeting a bunch of iconic In-Public photographers (Matt Stuart, David Solomon and Blake Andrews) it was the part when we had in depth discussions during the last day of the work shop about our photos. It made me realize that I have to be more restrictive when editing my photos and also that I have to push my self more to move on. I like to think of my progress as “always in beta”, but every now and then you have to take a good look at what you are doing and decide if it is time to change direction.
It turned out I wiped out most of my portfolio and started all over with new inspiration thanks to that workshop. 🙂
What do you do as a day job? And how do you find this impacts your photography if at all?
I work as a Web Analyst at a digital agency called Creuna in Stockholm where I help clients to evaluate and optimize their web sites. I am not sure it has any direct impact on my street work, but besides the obvious of having a nice income I do have lots of opportunities to practice close up flash shooting on our parties.
I, along with a lot of others wouldn’t be able to comprehend having no light for such a long time. How to you manage to stay productive during the Winter?
It is mentally tough when it is dark going to work and dark when you leave, but I try to go out during lunch breaks and of course every weekend. There is still light in the city and indoors of course and the shooting conditions in the metro is constant during the year so it is not like there is nowhere to shoot without flash. Ironically, when the light arrives in spring I tend to go into the shadows to shoot 🙂
Who are some of your influences, photographically or otherwise?
I get my influences from all over the place, like from the surreal Jeunet & Caros movies, the improvisation skills of band like Tribal Tech and how Trent Parke handles light. I have a back ground in music and always try to get to shoot the streets the same way a musician improvise in a band. Absorb the context and add a part of you into the mix
What sort of music is your background in and do you still play?
I got into synthesizers and keyboards in my early teen and found jazz/fusion a couple of years later. Played in different bands before I moved to Stockholm and become more interested in writing music. It was not on a professional scale or anything, but I put a lot of time and engagement into it. When I got my son in 2001 most of that energy had to be focused on him. For long periods I was basically a single parent so everything but the boy and work was low priority, including music. Nowdays, the kid is older and photography gets all my attention.
What plans if any do you have for your work in the future?
I have a bunch of theme based projects going on that slowly ripes. Ok, they are not proper projects since they don’t have any deadlines, but still. I am not very keen on pushing my self out there, but I realize it is necessary for my photography to grow. For me, that means exhibitions, competitions and the occational feature interview. UPSP was actually my first street competition 🙂
Any parting words for people reading?
I think every photographer should have a portfolio with their top crackers. This will help you to see where you are going as well as being a good starting point for others who are interested in checking you out. Make it a small selection and re-evaluate it annually. Kill your darlings and be patient.
Oh, and get yourself some D-vitamines. Winter is coming 🙂
Would you like to contribute to Urban Picnic with a series of images or be interviewed?
Sign up belowMiya PlufelizJimmyJazz76GuestFANIS NIZAMIS