Tina Signesdottir Hult was shortlisted in the Portraiture category and won the Norway National Award in the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.
Born in 1982 in Haugesund, Norway, this year she was awarded the title ‘Hasselblad Master’. She specializes in fine art, portraits and conceptual themes. Her work has been exhibited in many galleries around the world.
Her photographs aim to mirror the expressive and beautiful, but also the fragile, and she holds a certain ability to give her photographs soul. To her, photographing is about seeing – not only with the eyes but also withther heart. This is when the real stories reveal themselves.
Please tell us a little about your photography.
The most important thing is to express myself, communicate and create emotions. A good photograph must also come from inside. My photography and inspiration is based on the people I shoot, their unique charisma and presence, influenced by strong factors like simplicity, light, color and character. Also, the main emphasis in my work is the close relationships I have with my models, which last for several years.
Why photography? How did you get started?
My interest in photography began early, before I was 20 years old. I am self-taught, driven by a great passion for the art of photography, and have been in a constant learning process. I believe my strong drive and aim and the hunger to always do better and never give up has gotten me where I am today. I have never been afraid of criticism either; that has made me grow, and learn. For me, to photograph is as necessary as breathing. I am an artist in my soul, and to express myself is something I need to do. It's a very big part of who I am. The passion I have for photography gives me my drive, and the most important thing for me is to continue to make photography and express myself. It’s in the creative process where I develop my artistic approach and it’s the people I meet on my way that inspire me. This makes me have something interesting to tell.
Tell us more about your successful images in the 2018 and 2016 Sony World Photography Awards:
Lina is very special and means a lot to me. She is a constant inspiration. We have been working together for many years since she was 9 years old. She is now 15. She is my muse, and like a red thread through my artistic journey as a photographer. We make one conceptual series together each year. We do not need to talk so much together once we work, Lina always knows what I want, without saying anything with words. And I always know what to expect from Lina. People who have been nearby when taking pictures say it's fascinating to see how we communicate. Like a quiet dance.
My other image, which was Commended and won 2nd Place in the Norway National Award in 2016, is of a strong, unique person, named Torje. His name, Torje means ‘Thor’s spear’ in old Norse Norwegian,which for me is a warrior, someone strong, and in fact, he is really strong. I met this young boy some years ago, while I was living in the Arctic North, Tromsø. I was immediately drawn to his presence. When I portrayed him, I could sense a deep vulnerability and eyes that had a profound understanding of life, regardless of his young age. Torje was one of the youngest survivors from the Utøya Massacra in 2011 that took 69 innocent lives, and at the time I didn't know. Our short but meaningful meeting, the portrait of him will always remind me of the warrior that he is!
Your work has this dream-like feel to it that has become recognizable as your work. How did this come about?
Well I cannot really tell, I think it is about who you are, and what you have taken with you - your inner pictures, impressions and experiences.
Everything seen and experienced influences you and make the person you are, and that you also bring out through your photography. The connection between me and the people I shoot is very important.
I prefer to use strong color palette,often in red and greens, and try to make it as simple as possible being highly aware of my composition and ground. I always use natural light, I don’t want anything artificial in my photography. Natural light also provides a sensitivity and a feeling that you don’t get with artificial lightning.
What are your top 3 tips for portrait photography?
I would say simplicity, light and character. You also would need vision and talent, but if you think of those three, you have made a good frame make a good portrait photographer. And sometimes it happens, other times not. The exciting part is that the unexpected will always occur,what matters is whether you pay enough attention to catch that moment. And you simply can't tell or plan that. That is what I love the most, and is the true beauty of photography.
Where in the world are you and what's next for you?
As I won the coveted title ‘Hasselblad Master 2018’ in the portraiture category, I have just finished my work for the Masters book ‘Volume 6, Innovate’. I was recently in Cologne (Germany) at Photokina for the Award ceremony and the book launch, along with the other Masters.