NORWEGIAN ARTIST LIFE
FILM PORTRAITS WITH THE HASSELBLAD 503CW
I’ve always loved the square format and I think it’s the perfect frame for a portrait.
Bjørn Wad bought his Hasselblad 503CW when he was 18 years old. Over 15 years later, Bjørn still shoots with his beloved medium format film camera that has never failed him. As the photographer for Kunstnerliv (Artist Life), a Norwegian art book featuring 19 contemporary Norwegian artists and their work, Bjørn captured stunning black and white film portraits of each artist in their natural environment using the 503CW.
Kunstnerliv showcases the work of 19 artists, consisting of 17 painters and 2 sculptors, ranging from minimal and surrealistic to more traditional, classic work. Starting in 2014, Bjørn traveled all over Norway, and even to New York, London, and Berlin, to photograph each Norwegian artist in their “habitat” to illustrate who they are as a person. He visited most of the artists several times a year; the more he met them, the more they let their guard down – that’s when great things unfolded in front of the lens. Collaborating with each of the artists, all of Bjørn’s portraits were spontaneously crafted.
The locations where we photographed were completely random and dependent upon the artist’s surroundings. It was very important for me to portray the artists in an environment outside their studios and their work as artists. I did use the studio as a background from time to time, but I wanted to keep away from the classic portrait of a painter with his pencil in front of a canvas. I was more into what hobbies they had instead of their profession – their history, their passions, and their background.
Born in Zürich, Switzerland, Bjørn Wad now lives in Oslo, Norway. As a teen, he would flip through photo magazines from the 60s, 70s, and 80s – the grainy, high contrast images with deep black tones heavily influenced what would later become his photography career. He studied at the Norwegian School of Photography, and he specializes in portraits. See more of Bjørn Wad’s work here.
Kunstnerliv (Artist Life) is the first of its kind as a comprehensive document containing the life stories and portraits of 19 Norwegian present-day visual artists. Its 400 pages focus on these unique voices who illustrate the diversity of Norwegian art today. Take a look inside the book here.
More Hasselblad storiesAll stories ⟶
Donald Michael Chambers
60 Minutes of Silence
No talking. No phones. No distractions. For 60 minutes, Donald Michael Chambers sat with each of his 30 subjects in complete silence. Once the hour began, Donald gave no direction and simply decided when to click the shutter button.
Pleating Paper into Sculptural Headwear
South African photographer Gavin Goodman had a vision to create a series influenced by traditional African headwear done with a modern and simplistic touch. Commissioning a local origami artist as a unique way to bring this vision to life, they transformed delicate paper into beautiful African-inspired sculptural objects.
Tomás Karmelo Amaya
Native Love Stories
Born for the A:shiwi, Rarámuri, and Yoeme tribes, creative Tomás Karmelo Amaya’s ongoing series Native Love Stories illustrates the abundance of Indigenous circles, including love, service to others, community strength, and the ability to thrive.
CINEMATIC SCENES IN SERBIA
Inspired by the greatest film directors and DOPs, Serbian photographer Luka Trajkovic creates images that appear to be taken right out of a film.
Artisans of Southern France
Creating his dream roadmap that took him from Monaco to Bordeaux with all the stops in between, Roman discovered the rich multitude of craftwork and ancient practices still being used by his fellow countryfolk in France.
Magical Mountainous Landscapes on XCD 30
Italian photographer Isabella Tabacchi escaped to the dreamy mountain views of the Dolomites and the Swiss Alps to capture the beauty of the Milky Way across the skies and the grand Matterhorn Mountain with the X1D II 50C and XCD 30 lens.
Capturing Nebulas and Pinwheel Galaxies
The night sky captured by a Hasselblad reveals its special look which is not visible to the naked eye. We spoke to Teruyasu Kitayama to talk about the charm of shooting starry skies with various Hasselblad cameras.
Image Quality Specialist Tests X and 907X Cameras in Namibia
As team leader and specialist in the Image Quality Team at Hasselblad, Mathias Elmeskog constantly puts Hasselblad cameras to the test in multiple locations to ensure the sharpest quality and smoothest colour accuracy.
Documenting Thirty Years of the Los Angeles Metro
What started out as going underground for a one-time photo session with his Hasselblad 503CX turned into 30 years of documenting the creation of the Los Angeles Metro system by artist Ken Karagozian.
SWIMMING POOLS OF ANOTHER ERA
2018 Hasselblad Master in Art Maria Svarbova is widely recognised for her captivating Swimming Pool series. After switching to the X System, Maria tells us about how it has dramatically affected creating her dream-like compositions.