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This week's focus: Tobias Hägg

4 years ago

Tobias Hägg is a photographer and videographer born and raised in Sweden. Driven to create since he was a child, Tobias has experimented with different modes of expression - including writing, graphic design and visual effects – before he started using a camera. After a brief hiatus from photography in 2013, he returned to the medium when introduced to drone photography. Opening up a whole new way of seeing the world – and an exciting range of artistic possibilities to explore – using drones are now core to Tobias' photographic practice. With a healthy online community (on Instagram he has an impressive 517K followers) Tobias' aerial images are a spectacular reminder of the most beautiful locations on the planet. Continually exploring in his work, Tobias reveals now he's turning his lens towards more travel and wildlife centered subject matters. 

Tobias is taking over our Instagram feed this week (May 12 to 18), sharing a collection of his mesmerizing aerial landscapes and wildlife images. We caught up with him to find out more about him and his photography  

What is it about drone photography that captures your imagination? 

When I was younger I'd always dream of driving a helicopter and wonder how the places I saw everyday looked from a different perspective. When the drones came along I instantly bought one to try, it was an investment (I couldn't really afford it at the time) but went for it anyway. Even now it's usually the small things about drone photography that inspire like how the most ordinary places can look extraordinary in the right conditions.

Has Instagram benefited your photography and if yes, how?

Instagram has helped me for sure. I had taken the decision to leave photography behind before Instagram and drones came into the picture. My understanding of Instagram was pretty basic – I didn't know what a hashtag was! I just started posting pictures because I enjoyed using the app and then slowly people started following my account. Instagram has helped me to share my work with the world and connect with people across the world that share the same passion. Instagram does have its drawbacks however, how popular an image is can really dictate the images you post – even what you then create. I've always tried to not think too much about the numbers and be honest to myself why I do what I do. Interestingly my personal favorites get less attention on social media but do particularly well through other means - like print sales on my website. 

What do you think is the most exciting trend right now in the photography world?

I guess what excites me more than current trends is seeing someone creating something extraordinary out of the ordinary or breaking free from what we see so often on social media. 

You've had success from your images represented in both print and digital form. What do you keep in mind when curating pictures for Instagram when compared to exhibiting a body of work in a gallery space? 

Interesting question. I always try to be myself through my work. When it comes to curating my pictures for Instagram I'm not sure I approach it in any particularly focused way other than posting the pictures I enjoyed taking the most. I feel like I do have a responsibility to show striking images where I didn't have to break any rules or destroy nature to create it. For exhibitions, it's a bit different. I then want to create something more focused on having a commercial value. I enjoy everything you need to consider when presenting pictures in a physical space, such as paper type, lighting, framing. 

You're known for your arresting aerial landscapes however you've recently been moving towards wildlife and travel portraits. How have you found turning your lens towards a different subject?

I've found it absolutely fantastic. I've been taking travel and wildlife pictures for a long time, but I haven't really shown them publicly. the reaction to this work has actually been a bit overwhelming. People definitely want to see more of this work. Many photographers believe it's better to create a particular look, style – a niche – and then stick to it. I disagree and think as long as you create something you're passionate about people will respect you for it. I went to Namibia to do something slightly different and develop my work. I'm hoping to do more of this. 

Your work has been published in National GeographicThe Telegraph and your prints have been exhibited at Fotografiska, Stockholm's leading photography gallery. What's your dream goal for your photography? 

Over the years I've been achieving a lot of the goals I set myself and now I'm truly grateful to be able to work in a field I'm passionate about every day. I guess the one goal I've set myself I haven't yet completed is to be an aerial photographer / videographer for those big nature documentaries, like Planet Earth or Our Planet. 

See Tobias' portfolio here

Check out Tobias' takeover on our Instagram feed here