Mr Elk recently teamed up with local photographer Mikey Andersson and a curation of ethical Australian brands including Seljak, Will and Bear and Mr Simple on an adventure photo shoot to some of Tasmania’s most breathtaking locations. We sat down with Mikey to find out more about his creative life and a recent trip to Tasmania.
Tell us a bit about yourself; what made you choose the path of being a photographer?
I was born in Sweden, though I have spent many years travelling. Traveling the world has had a huge impact on me and has shaped me in many ways. It also led me to Australia back in 2005 where I instantly fell in love with the sun, surf and relaxed lifestyle of a small NSW coastal town. In 2012 I was fortunate enough to become a citizen of this amazing country.
From a young age, I have always had a vivid imagination and I loved creating images based on the characters and stories I came up with in my head. I would draw these characters always conscious of creating depth using light and shadows. At the age of 11, my grandfather gave me my first lesson and introduced me to my first camera. It was an original Polaroid and I remember thinking how the concept of freezing a moment in time by introducing light to a little black box was the coolest thing ever.
Since then I have always loved taking photos. However, it wasn’t until I discovered digital photography and photoshop that my passion for creating images through photography went from being a passion to also being a career.
I am now a commercial photographer specialising in fashion and advertising. Creating images still remains about telling a story. The story is often about a brands identity and creating images that convey the mood, values and voice of that brand. However, I am still inspired by fictional characters and stories that I create in my mind and this gives birth to creative shoots and collaborations. I try and do as many personal assignments as I can to fuel my creativity and keep things interesting.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually start my day with some kind of physical activity. Just getting my body moving and getting my head right. It used to be surfing, but since moving to Melbourne my surfing has sadly taken some hits. The days when
I’m shooting, it’s all about the shoot. I don’t see or pay attention to much else. If I don’t have a shoot on, I will probably spend the day planning for one or editing.
What is one of the best work assignments you have been on?
I have been fortunate to work on some pretty amazing projects with great brands. However, I think this recent trip to Tasmania was definitely one of my favourite assignments so far.
Tell us about your recent Tasmania trip, how did it come about and who was the brands/team involved?
The idea of the trip was born around a fire pit in the backyard of a Melbourne coastal town. The conversation quickly gathered momentum once the suggestion of an adventure trip was put on the table. The shared passion for exploration and braving the elements in search of surf and solitude connected everyone who sat around the fire pit that night. Obviously, my mind went wild with the possibilities of photographically documenting an adventure trip to Tasmania.
I decided to involve brands including Seljak, Will and Bear, Mr Elk and Mr Simple, as they all shared our passion for exploration, as well as strong ethical values about their footprint on the earth. Seljak, for example, creates amazing recycled wool blankets using offcuts from the factory floor of Australia’s oldest mill and Will & Bear plants 10 trees for every hat sold. Mr Elk ensures the quality of their products is made sustainably and ethically, they endeavour to be aware of the impact they have on the environment and also the communities who create their products.
We left Melbourne on a cool August evening; our convoy of 3 land rovers filled with excited adventurers crossed the Bass Strait with a rough plan of our week ahead.
I had obviously scouted some spots that I thought would be ideal for photos, but we wanted to just let the trip evolve naturally. Firstly, we headed North-east, where we found beautiful beaches, blue skies and 20 degree days, definitely not what any of us were expecting from a winter Tassie trip.
The colourful scenery of Freycinet National Park (Wine Glass Bay) at sunrise was a great hiking adventure creating the perfect backdrop for some stunning photos. As we headed south, so did the temperature, and the Tasmanian winter showed its true colours.
We explored Mt Wellington’s snowcapped mountains where Will and Bear’s beanies and Seljak’s wool blankets kept us all warm. My favourite part of the trip was crossing over to the west coast. The landscape is absolutely amazing and there is literally a photo opportunity waiting behind every turn. We set up camp one night in the middle of nowhere after getting a little lost and having crossed a number of vast open fields. It was one of those places where you truly felt a great absence of civilisation. Nothing but ancient wilderness surrounding you in every direction. For me, I think that moment was what made the trip. That was what I had hoped to find when first starting to plan this trip, absolute solitude.
Any new exciting projects coming up?
I have a few projects in the pipeline at the moment. I feel like my photography has really evolved in the last year and I am really excited about the direction it is going.