How did you get into photography?
Since childhood I’ve been very interested in art and crafts, but my interest in photography actually started as a documentation solution, in order to convince my parents about what I saw underwater on our annual charter vacation. I have since I was little, been incredibly happy with water and quickly mastered free-diving skills. My parents didn’t believe, as many other parents, on the things I saw under water – in advance I did tell them many fanciful tales of what I saw in my everyday life – and some of them were perhaps a little too fantastic. I got an underwater disposable camera on our holiday to Malta, at 10 years old, and it was suddenly possible to convince my skeptical parents of what I saw beneath the surface. I spent hundreds of dollars a week on underwater disposable cameras on holidays. The madness could not continue, and I got a sponsorship for digital underwater cameras 5 years after by a free-diving sponsor. Years passed and I bought a Nikon d60, which I often played with every now and then. Then, three years ago – a Wednesday, I “unfortunately” injured my knee, which meant I couldn’t practice free-diving or any other kind of sport for months. I asked myself the question, “So, what should you do now Marcus?!”. All my life I’ve pursued big passions and goals, which have taken up my spare time completely. Since I couldn’t do any kinds of sports after my injury, I decided to start a project – the 365 days project. When I started the project I began a journey in understanding the photography world, which is why I choose the day I started the project, as the day I started photographing. I started the project, because I wanted to make something out of my day, but also to pursue my newly profound passion. I wanted to learn, to discover the world of photography and to tell stories through my camera.
What is your creative process like?
It varies. Sometimes I just stumble about a location and suddenly get an idea, and put it immediately to life. I always have different props with me in my camera bag – e.g. different kinds of fireworks, tread, cotton, and textiles. Most of the time though, I sketch down my idea, return to it days or months later, perfect it and eventually put it into life. I’m often scared of putting certain thoughts together, in fear of not making them good enough. I feel like I’m not good enough to certain of my ideas yet – due to not having the finances/time/position/models/etc. to make them perfect.
Who are some of your favorite photographers and artists?
It changes a lot from time to time, but Tim Walker, Alex Prager and Rodney Smith are definitely some of the photographers who always make the cut. Regarding artists, I’m very fond of Michael Kvium, Renee Magritte, Elmgreen & Dragset, Peter Martensen and Edward Hopper to name a few.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I would describe the core of my photography as minimalistic conceptual fine art. My photos are often built up on a foundation of a relatively simple concept or idea, and display some kind of surrealism. As you see in a lot of my photos, I am very fond of centrally composed static photos with a lot of negative space. Furthermore, I have started chasing the goal of not manipulating my photos — I would like to make my photos look surreal without being it.
Which photo that you have taken is your favorite? Why?
It’s a tough question. But “UP” (2012) is undoubtedly the photo that have had must effect on my career, and do therefore means the most to me. “The self-destructive society” (2014) is also a favorite. Spent a lot of time on the symbolism as well as the scenery itself. The photo is not manipulated at all, and actually works as sculpture by itself. I did the photo while travelling about in Australia, at a rented room, so I unfortunately had to get rid of the sculpture after photographing it – since I was on the road constantly.
Where do you find inspiration?
The short answer would be, “In everything”. It’s often very subtle things that catch my eye. It can be the color of the apple I’m eating, the shape of a leaf, or a person’s face. When I get an idea or find something interesting, I sketch it on paper in one of my several notebooks so it is easier to remember. Also, I’ve recently started to read a lot of philosophy, which is triggering deeper thoughts and inspiration. There will be many references to the books I read in my coming book, either in the form of statements or photo series.
What did you learn about yourself as a person and as an artist on your 365 day project?
Before I began the 365 days project, I didn’t really know much about photography. It was my way to try out my newly found passion and see what the photography world was about. As my passion grew, I used the 365-day project/photography as a way to handle my feelings, thoughts and experiences. It was almost like self-therapy, so of course I learned a lot about myself. I figured out that photography was what I wanted to do and fell more and more in love with it as a visual medium.
You are currently working on a book. Could you tell me a little bit more about it and the process of putting it together?
I left my home in Denmark the 11th of September, to begin a near yearlong journey and an even longer book-project. The book will be about the idea of always searching for the place where the grass is greener.
I stood in a situation, after graduating from high school, as many others do, where I was for the first time in my life, completely free. I wasn’t a prisoner anymore, not by the school system, not by my family. I was free to do what ever I wanted. As many other young people, I decided to go on an adventure. I didn’t have much idea about where I was going. I just wanted to get as far away as possible to take full advantages of my sudden freedom. After being “imprisoned”, I strived to be independent. You always say the grass in greener on the other side, right? So what do you do, after being “locked up”? I went to Australia – the other side of the world, to find where the grass was greener.
The book is about the journey, this search for the greener grass, the realization of what “my paradise” is and the meeting with the different cultures and people’s. All this told through photo-series, statements and stories.
At the moment I’m back in Denmark working on the book. Editing photos, making new material and finishing writing. If everything works out as planed, it will be ready to be published in February 2015 – but projects of this caliber always have surprises in-store for a first timer.
How important a part does editing and manipulation play into the final product of a photo?
I used to manipulate a lot of my work earlier on, but do nowadays strive to manipulate or edit as little as possible. This means I put a lot more work into creating the actual scene in real life, while still trying to retain the same surreal feeling. I see it like a mystery or a puzzle to be solved – how to get from A to B, without any help from Photoshop. It pushes your creativity, pushes you to see new ways of bringing the intended story to life. I love it, and it is something that can keep me awake for days.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I just recently started working on some projects in Paris, which will be out soon. I have my first solo exhibition in Denmark coming up in the beginning of the New Year. And then the book will be published in February – if everything works out as planed – but lets see. Furthermore I have recently started to work in other mediums – primarily painting and sculpture, which you definitely will see more of in the future.