There is probably no better incentive behind artistic creation than desire. A desire to see and to let that seeing progress into realisation. A desire to search, create and showcase your work. To have a vision and allow it help you search for the knowledge you need and to mobilise all your knowledge and experience to achieve that vision. Allowing the photograph to signify not what has been seen, but rather the unseen. It is an uncertainty you intuitively feel drawn to and need to learn more about. It is all about using your camera to capture the objects so that the surface of them do more than tell stories about things as they are, but also as they were or could be. The pictures transmit feelings that words can not; they are feelings that a picture can show in a most substantial communication without using words. Poorly expressed, it can be said that a camera can capture anything put in front of it. But in artistic photography there is something else to it, something more.
In his artistic photography projects, Anders Schönborg wants to show images that leave both the photographer and even the camera surprised. Perhaps you could say that such images depict by creating alternate images.
For an artistically oriented photographer, or should I say an artist taking photographs, real objects are staffage. But for a documentary photographer that same reality is an "objective" truth. Sometimes those two become one.
Anders Schönborg works inside both traditions, separately and combined, but this text mainly concerns his artistic photography.
Let us start from the beginning.
The foundations for Anders' photographic interest was laid in his childhood when he used to flick through the illustrated magazines his father bought him. The father was also a photographer and Anders was given a nice camera by his parents.
So life went on. Anders Schönborg worked as a sheet metal worker, builder, windmill entrepreneur and an organic farmer, always in his own business.
His interest in photography began in earnest later in life when he read about a very special adventure trip. The year was 2002 and the destination: North East Greenland. He bought a good photographic equipment, primarily for capturing travel memories. Facing the marvellous nature and its scenery, he felt his dormant interest in photography reawakened. Even now, it was noted he had an interest in and intuitive feel for composition, patterns and surfaces. In Greenland geology lies open like delicious layers of a cake. It was here his desire for creating images flared up in earnest. And that is how it started.
As a result of that journey a lot changed in his pictorial perception and way of shooting photographs. He learned how to compose and crop the images in the camera and to take precisely the image he wants to show. It sharpens your concentration and pictorial perception. Anders likes to work with an analog camera. He finds it to be a more reflective way to shoot pictures when he wants to get the optimum image straight away without post-processing and styling. It intensifies your pictorial perception and the image must be planned.
He learned a lot during his trip to Greenland when he photographed the bare and barren landscape. He sought for structures, patterns and shapes created by the the water and wind and the special gleam in the cavities produced by the ice. The colours are the most intense in this environment and light. Regardless of whether it was yeti who had left scratch marks on the cliff walls or not, he had seen them. And took pictures of them.
Anders was so taken by the opportunities photography gave him that he wanted to go further and train to become a photographer. He took a break from his usual work and entrepreneurship and learnt photography at Biskop-Arnö for Halil Koyutürk and at Mullsjö folk high school for the photographer Lia Henriksson. Both are very inspiring and encouraging teachers. The positive feedback on his imaging made him want to go further and seek his own world within photography.
This was followed by a photographic journey to Zanzibar in 2004. He took pictures of people at work and in their everyday life. In his eyes (and images) these motifs evoked images of paradise. The pictures are beautiful and sensual, with many exotic nuances, lines and angles. Maybe a trait of his, he was fussy and careful and nursed a strong aesthetic ambition from the outset. He strives for beauty in his photographs, and for harmony. The lines, directions and the golden ratio are important. He knows that each completed picture has been given its optimum format. And it must be. These are the components that developed Anders' pictorial perception.
The Zanzibar photographs led to his first separate exhibition as a photographer. He also sent the series to the venerable magazine FOTO, the leading Swedish photography magazine, and was awarded Best Swedish b/w Photographer in 2006.
Anders Schönborg has made several trips to Bilbao. There he found a scene that he found more interesting than all others. The Guggenheim Museum.
Technically, they are analog photos. He scans the negatives and prints on Dibond, a thin two-sided aluminium plate with a plastic core. He prints on the brushed side of the aluminium. All of these technical details are each in its own way incredibly important for the end result. Anders took many pictures and then made a selection of 16 images.
Designed by Frank Gehry and located on the river Nervion in Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum has been called "the most outstanding construction of our time".
The architecture is bold, original and innovative. The buildings have deliberately distorted shapes that are radically dissolving and transforming themselves with the changing light before our astonished eyes. Its architectural language puts focus on the complexity of our times and contemporary art.
Anders Schönborg had visited the museum and gathered impressions the year before he took the photographs. He had noticed how the buildings seemed to change, how the buildings now lay, now hang, now turn and fold away.
When he returned in 2013 he wanted to take his pictures.
He was shooting at night and in the tourist-free light of dawn and dusk. As always, he wanted to compose the images directly in the camera. The optimum picture is created at the time of exposure, not during post-processing.
He focused almost exclusively on the metal-clad parts of the building. It was difficult to isolate and shoot many of the building's fascinating facades, and not get the streets, bridge and other surrounding environment in the pictures. As always he sought the lines, gradients and reflections that he needs to get the photographs just the way he wants them. The titanium plate covered building changes before your astonished eyes with the fluctuations in light and temperature. The challenge is to capture the entirety of the components.
The images are simultaneously very tangible and totally mysterious. The titanium plates live a life of their own and carry an expression that the photographs display. It is as if we project feelings onto the plates of the façade. The images reflect a tranquil tenderness in the cold plates. There is a quiet mystery in the meeting between titanium and light. New stories are waiting to be told. The difference between architecture, photography and art is set in motion, they merge and revitalise one another. And something new appears.
– I wanted my photographs to show a version of the Guggenheim that, at night and during dawn and dusk, is very different from the building you might experience in bright daylight. I also wanted to increase the visibility of the surrounding environment because it is rarely noticed when you walk around the building, fascinated by its multifaceted appearance. It is clear that I have succeeded in showing "new sides" to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao by the many people who have visited the museum and refuse to believe that some of the photographs really are taken in Bilbao. The comment "I have been there, it’s in the city surrounded by houses and there was no mountain behind the museum" is not at all uncommon to hear.