Interview: Fashion Photography Alumni Kari Sverriss
After graduating in 2014, MA Fashion Photography graduate Kari Sverriss has plyed his trade in the German and London fashion scene, and is now supporting the Reykjavic Culture Night in Iceland. Kari works on beauty and fashion photography projects and shoots between Hamburg and London, LCF News caught up with him the week before he launches his exhibition in the Icelandic capital.
Why did you choose MA Fashion Photography?
KS: Before I chose a course and I university, I looked at various art universities around the world and I thought that this course and LCF had all the elements I was looking for. I was working various commercial jobs in Iceland at the time, and I felt like I needed to find out exactly what I wanted to do with my career as a photographer. I also needed to find out what I wanted to say with my photos and why. That is exactly what this course enabled me to see.
Why did you choose London College of Fashion, was studying in London part of the decision?
As I mentioned before LCF had the best course, and London is one of the best and biggest in fashion. I was determined to develop my skills as a fashion photographer so I thought without a doubt that London was the best city to study in.
Can you describe your style of photography to us?
I would say it’s a mix of art, commercial and fashion photography. I like to be expressive in my work, but keeping my work clean and classical at the same time. I can see my roots from Iceland in most of my work. When people look at my work, they often say that they can see that my pictures are quiet, strong and expressive. I think the quietness comes from Iceland, my roots and the Nordic style.
Who are your idols?
I have few idols, such as Corrine Day, Steven Klein, Steven Meisel and Mario Testino. I like Mario Testino, because of how successful he has been as a photographer.
Can you tell us a bit about the Reykjavic Culture Night project, and what you’ll be doing with them?
Reykjavík Culture night is a yearly event held in Reykjavík the capital of Iceland. It was created by Reykjavik City council and has now become one of the largest festivals in my country. An estimated 100,000 people visit the festival each year, which is a high percentage of Iceland’s total population. Events happen all over Reykjavík related to art and culture and music during the festival. I will be exhibiting 12 images in the centre of Reykjavík starting on Culture night the 22nd of August. The images are placed on exhibition stands in the heart of Reykjavik and will be in one of the main shopping street, the images will be on display for three weeks.
How did you get involved in the Reykjavic Culture Night project?
I won the Global Outlook Award and after that I started thinking about how I could use the award and support that I am getting from LCF to exhibit my project and work. I contacted the organisers of the Culture night and explained to them a bit about my project and about the Global Outlook Award. They were excited about seeing work like mine exhibited in the centre of Reykjavik and therefore being a part of Reykjavík Culture night.
What’s the fashion scene in Iceland like?
It’s very small, but it’s nice. Icelandic people have become very expressive the last years and I have seen so many good changes in the last years. When I was growing up everyone had to wear the same things, the latest in fashion. But now, people are expressing themselves through fashion and art which is great. Now people from all over the world are moving to Iceland to study there and I really like the diversity in the art and fashion scene. However, we are a small island, so we are in many ways still limited. I think the fashion scene is growing and I’m looking forward to see what happens in the next few years.
What other fashion photography projects have you worked on since graduating?
I have mainly been working on my Global Outlook Award project, and I have been working on my book the last months. I’ve been working on getting an photography agency and it’s difficult because there are so many people that want to be represented by an agency. Just a few days ago I was approached by a very good agency in Germany that want to represent me. I am very happy that in a few weeks I’ll have an agency representing me, creating art is very important but its also very important to make money to be able to create art so that’s why I have been working hard on that.
You spend a lot of time between London, Hamburg and Reykjavic. Do different cities inspire you?
Yes for sure! I love the fashion in London. In terms of fashion and creativity I would say that London is the city the inspires me the most. London is a city that is always alive, a lot of events, nice clothing stores, upcoming designers and the pace in London is also something that pushes me as a photographer and as an artist to do more.
Iceland, is where my heart is, where my family is and I love being in the nature, being with friends and family. When I am in Iceland, I get time to breathe, to be and to think about my life and others around me. I work quite well in Iceland, but unfortunately Iceland is not big enough to be able to work there full time as a fashion and beauty photographer. The energy in Iceland helps me to charge my batteries, draw inspiration from the nature. I recently moved to Hamburg and I am working there on my career as a photographer, the good thing about the German market is that it has a good mix of commercial fashion and high fashion.
I like the clean style and the way German people work, they are very dedicated and organised and for me it’s inspiring. I think Hamburg, Reykjavík and London all inspire me in their own unique way, that’s why I really enjoy travelling between these cities and after travelling I always feel inspired and full of energy to start with the next thing.
Is there anyone you wanted to work with on a future fashion photography shoot?
Over the years I have realised more and more how important it is to collaborate with people. I really enjoy working with people that are passionate about their work. I’ve realised also how important it is to work with people that know where they want to go. For every shoot I try to collaborate with people that work with all their heart and people that fit my style. I try to work with passionate and creative people that have had a good experience in this industry, the results are always better.
What’s next for your future career?
Keep on working on my book, my career and staying creative. I love working as a photographer, I want to be able to work in this industry for the rest of my life if possible. The next step is to work with the new agency and meet clients, magazines and to see where these next months take me. I am very positive and determined, if I keep on working like I’ve done the last years I am positive that good things will come.
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- Kari Sverriss
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