OUTDOOR INTERVIEWS - ANDREAS RINGNÉR, PHOTOGRAPHER
OUTDOOR INTERVIEWS - ANDREAS RINGNÉR, PHOTOGRAPHER
Andreas Ringnér is an awesome Swedish nature and wildlife photographer. He's been up close and personal with some very exotic Swedish animals. As a newly appointed photographer myself, I asked, and he kindly agreed to be interviewed by me.
HOW HAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE AND THE OUTDOORS BEEN THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE?
I’m from a small village out in the middle of a forest. As the selection of friends during my childhood was relatively small I spent most of my time by myself; my bike being one of my best friends. During the first day of summer vacation I always took my bike for the same twenty kilometre-ride. This started when I was in junior level in school and continued for many years, years which had me see many interesting things. I remember spotting moose’s, foxes and different kinds of birds.
However, it wasn’t until I was around ten years old that it dawned on me that these animals actually lived in the woods! It was during a walk with my siblings that I for the first time saw a beaver lodge with a water dam. We were supposed to go to this lake, but went in the completely wrong direction and instead ended up at a huge bog. Where the forest met the bog there was a creek where the beaver what done what it did best, and I want to believe that it was there and then my thoughts about wildlife sprung forth. If the animals live in the forest then I can visit them as well as I can visit my friends in the village?
Later in my youth my brothers started hunting moose and other game. Even though I myself never had an interest in hunting the stories they brought back were fascinating. But it would take until 2011 before I finally make something out of it and started spending more time in the outdoors.
HOW DID YOU GO FROM EXPERIENCING THE OUTDOORS TO DOCUMENTING IT AS A PHOTOGRAPHER AS WELL?
I guess you could say that it was a combination of two things.
A part of it was that I simply wanted to show what we have the possibility of seeing and experiencing if we allow ourselves to spend time in the forest. I think that if I can have these encounters, so can basically anyone. The other part was that I wanted to have some sort of tangible evidence of what I had seen, partly to show others but most of all to have for myself, for future reminiscing.
WHY NATURE AND WILDLIFE?
It really feels like an honor to be able to visit the animals in their own home, their natural habitat. Although I do everything in my power to try and find the animals or lure them out, it is always on their own terms that these encounters happen. In the end, the combination of the challenge that is seeing something and catching it on a still frame, and the feeling and experience of being in the outdoors is unmatched!
WHICH PHOTOGRAPH ARE YOU THE MOST PROUD OF HAVING SHOT, AND HOW DID YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN?
Wow, that’s an incredibly difficult question. There are moments when a lot of hard work has paid off, and there are moments where I have simply been at the right place at the right time. But I have to choose the photograph of the moose in the fog, if only because it is that one that have gotten me the most pats on the back and praise for.
My significant other and I were out at dawn a few days before the moose hunting season in 2012. The fog lay heavy and thick over the lake we skirted. Suddenly we heard strange noises from the other side of the lake. I could not at all make out what the noises were, and for a while I wondered if it actually was a bear that had chased a moose out into the water. Loud splashing coupled with muffled noises from some kind of animal at least. We made our way to a raised point along the beach and waited. The noises continued for over half an hour and when they finally died out the sun rose above the treetops and the fog lifted a little, enough to give us a glimpse of what it was we had heard. Two moose bulls in a trial of strength that took place in the water, while a moose cow watched these muscle packages.
To have stood for half an hour, hearing noises that seemed out of this world, built an excitement and drove us to wild speculation as to what it could be. When it was finally revealed to us it really was the icing on the cake. Even the photograph turned out all right.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR ASPIRING NATURE PHOTOGRAPHERS?
Patience, patience and patience. Even though I would say that it really isn’t considered to be patience when you do something you love there is still a lot of waiting in the different steps you have to take. For example saving enough money to afford the equipment you need, but first and foremost waiting to get a good photo opportunity. As long as it is on nature’s terms you will never be able to force a good result, so just take it slow and let it happen. If nothing showed that day the worst thing you’ve done is to spend some time in the experience factory that is nature.
WHAT DO YOU SAY WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS? WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO SAY?
Since it is moments from nature and wildlife that I depict in the photographs I don’t feel the need to heavy editing. As long as it reflects how it looked when the photo was taken, that is enough. I want people to see it as I saw it. I want them to feel that my photos look real, it’s as simple as that. Many photos today are too heavily edited, have too many filters and effects for me to be able to appreciate them personally.
WHAT WOULD BE THE LAST THING YOU WANTED TO BE WITHOUT WHEN OUTDOORS?
The camera is actually not the most important thing I bring when I go out. For me the experience of nature itself is more prominent than being able to capture it on a photo, so I guess I will have to pick something from the rest of the gear I have. Hmm… I honestly think it’s my backpack. Without it I wouldn’t be able to bring with me all of the things I need to eat, drink and sleep outside.
AND FINALLY, THE PIVOT QUESTIONNAIRE:
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
Haha, there are so incredibly many, but spontaneously some headline out of a so called newspaper. “Raging” (rasar) is an awful word.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Passion and knowledge, genuine interest in something.
What turns you off?
What is your favorite curse word?
Suggskaft (I don’t even… Suck shaft, I guess)
What sound or noise do you love?
When my daughter says “Pappa!” (Daddy!)
What sound or noise do you hate?
A water tap open and running.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
What profession would you not like to do?
Basically anything that involves sports. I have no interest whatsoever when it comes to sports.
All photos have been taken and are owned by Andreas Ringnér! Check out more of them on his website