Artist Spotlight: Kasper Kruse

It’s been a while since we have posted an Artist Spotlight on the blog, and we are delighted to start this week off with one. If you are new to the blog, this is a  feature, where we spotlight photographers and artist that are inspiring others with there instant film work. We try to provide our readers with a new spotlight as often as we can, so if you would like to be featured or know of someone you would like to see on the blog, drop us a line.  We love putting people in the spotlight!


Today on the blog we are featuring Kasper Kruse. Kasper is a 30 something art photographer, molded in the contrasty seasons of Scandinavia. His photographic work is characterized by a troublesome love for “magnetic melancholia”, a kind of existential darkness that does not push you away but draws you near. Kasper approaches us with a link to his current series, “Archive of our collapse”, and instantly we wanted to know more about him. To see more of Kasper’s work, please be sure to check out his social media links.

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How did you get into instant photography?

 A few years ago, I decided to plunge into the depths of 35mm and medium format photography. I found digital cameras to be a pretext for inaction, a technological sleeping pill for otherwise natural human senses, whereas the amount of decisions that go into building a shot with a film camera instantly made me more alert and sharpened my whole sensory system. The move into instant photography seemed natural once I experienced the positive gains of self-reliance while shooting film. 


What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?

 I use a Polaroid 600 camera. I like the challenge of the fixed focus and the solid build of the 600-series is a nice armor to wear in the windy and rainy weather of Scandinavia. But above all, I need the light sensitivity of the 600-film to shoot in the dark conditions that characterize most of my projects.


What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?

 It’s not a camera, per se, but it sure is something I would love to try: a polaroid back to replace the film back on my Mamiya RB67, transforming that beast of a medium format camera into a beast of instant photography.


What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?

 I have a weak spot for the rare metals 600 films. The gold and silver frames provide a playful contrast to the melancholic themes that shape my motifs. 


How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?

 I don’t think of myself as really having a regular workflow, the idea of continuity and steadiness scares the hell out of me, so I try to change my routines as soon as they become just that, routines. But I have embraced instant film as one of my favourite tools to breathe life into my many drawing board ideas.


How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)

 My works, whether they are instant, medium format or digital, stem from the same, general artistic position:

 As most Scandinavians, I am ambiguous when it comes to the numerous nights of winter darkness. The cold, endless days of gloom and grey. When it’s all around me, I tend to feel melancholic and lonely. But I long for it when it’s not here.

Come summer, I bathe in the light, but soon start to miss the cold. It seems the perpetual memory of the dark makes me appreciate hours of light more intensely.

 That’s really what I’m going for in my photography: a head-first base jump into the deep dark, because that’s the only way to really, fully understand its bright alter ego


Any personal projects we should know about?

 My project “Archive of our collapse” is a journey into the mind of a modern-day melancholic, a story about love, ghosts and fleeting dreams told in a hybrid format between instant photos and poetry. Diary pages are used as a backdrop to underline the themes of intimacy and secrecy that shape both photos and words. The series has been admitted into the fine art section on LensCulture and the “center piece”, the portrait shot of Ada constructed by two contrasting instant film formats, is a contender in this years Portrait Awards. 


What other photographers do you look up too?

 In 2000ish, I went to see Doug Aitken’s disruptive series “Electric Earth” and fell in love with photography as an art form, and even though I have come across a great many photographers who do a better job than Aitken in fulfulling their artistic vision, Aitken still means something to me.

More recently, the works of fellow Danish art photographer Astrid Kruse Jensen has helped school me into the honest world of film photography. 


What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?

 The beauty of instant photography is that you are forced to plan your shot more carefully than if you use a digital camera. You don’t have an infinite amount of shots at your disposal and post-production is extremely limited. It’s as honest as it gets and as cruel as it gets – the risk of failing a shot is enormous compared to most digital photography, where the retake option and post-adjustments can save most shots from being tossed in the bin.

 So if you want to go beyond everyday snapshots, getting into instant photography requires a patient study and understanding of the nature of light. But most of all, you need to embrace the planning process. Before buying your first pack of film, buy a notebook and start by putting your artistic agenda into words.


Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?

 It springs from music, movies and literature. Everything from modern song lyrics to classic novels. I grew up on Bruce Springsteen’s idea of frailty in all human relations and in my early youth, I found a strange comfort in the dark writings of Bret Easton Ellis and Douglas Coupland. In recent years, the music of The National has been a recurring soundtrack to the nervous, emotional territory I seek out in my photographic work. The movies of Darren Aronofsky, Gaspar Noé, Kubrick, Moodyson, Haneke, don’t get me started…

 Someone once characterized my photography as the bastard child of Lana del Rey and Lars von Trier. That’s not a love affair for the faint of heart to imagine, but the underlying merge between melancholia, love, evil and the generel hunt for happiness in an unhappy world is probably more precise than I care to admit.

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