We are very pleased to announce that Norwegian abstract photographer Willy Marthinussen has been awarded photographer of the week! Enter the realm of Willy's imagination and learn useful tricks for taking your own aristic abstracts! Enjoy more of Willy's extraordinary work at the end of the interview. Big thanks to Yvette Depaepe, head of our new editorial team, for interviewing Willy.
Tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs
Im a 47 years old ordinary guy from the west coast of Norway. I am originally educated and have worked almost ten years as an industrial plumber before i changed my work and became an occupational therapist as is my current main job. I love working with rehabilitation after stroke both physically and mentaly impaired people and to see them getting better is truly giving for me. Confusius said: Find a job you love and you never work again and this is how i feel working with people. My hobby are not surprisingly photography. This is also my second job. I do portraits for costumers who want classic photos.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Through life i have experienced a lot. I have learned that life is about ups and downs and its how you choose to cope with things that forms your way of life. I have chosen happiness as my path trough life. In my work i tend to like the dark and gloomy just to play with the other side of happiness. The way i like to shoot my subjects in portraiture is with one light source and preferably natural light. This gives me a somewhat dark and gloomy outcome.
What first attracted you to photography?
25 years ago i started out as a fine art painter. I mostly worked with watercolours and oil on canvas and i did som exhibitions here in Norway. I was never any good in drawing so i liked to work with abstract painting that could be interpretated as abstract landscapes. I had a little pocket camera that i took out in the sorrounding landscapes near my home at the west coast of Norway and used the photos as referance to my painting. Almost as a scetchbook. The process of painting took long time and im an impatiant person so as time goes by it became more and more photography and less painting. Finally i only used the camera to do my art. When getting my first pro camera a canon 5d it became more serious and i started to learn editing and processing. I loved it! Now my path was drawn.
Describe your overall photographic vision
I have to say that im drawn to abstractions as i belive that it makes people think. My vision is that when i do an exhibition i like people to take one step away from the images on the wall and see things i dont see. They make their own interpretations and therefore it becomes personal to them. Then i have reach my overall goal in a work.
Why are you so drawn to abstract photography?
As stated in the previous question its about imagination. I love to explore form and lines that challenges my own and hopefully others imagination and creativity. Abstract photography does this to me and gives me continous challenges to my creative mind. I like that.
What is more important to you, the story behind an image or the technical perfection?
The story behind is the most important to me. I firmly belive that no matter how good you are on perfection in tecnical skills one need to have a creativ mind to tell stories. I really dont work a lot to make my photography as tecnical perfect as possible, but of course it has to have some tecnical qualities to make it through the printing process. I never plan my artworks in abstract photography. I choose subject to photograph and let the light and form create. Then i shoot as they change form in moving the lightsources or change in form. I love working with water and light as this subject always create new forms. Its a constant changing subject and capturing this is an endless journey through creative art. And art is what is all about. I sometimes dont feel like a photographer but more of a creative artist that uses whatever it takes to make a great outcome. I am as familiar with the paintbrush as i am with this little box that makes digital files or film. To me its all about the final result and not about the tools.
What are your most important advice to a beginner in abstract photography?
I think that what is important is to explore and read about other abstract artists. To explore what they have done and why. Slowly one can begin to see some patterns or similarities in others work and then try to let your abstracts tell little stories. Lines,forms, light and composition rules are good tools to know and use. Then shoot a lot! Select just quality abstractions to keep and follow what you like to do, not what other people think is good.
Who are your favorite photographers and how has your appreciation of their work affected your approach to photography?
In abstract photography i dont have any particular photographers that inspire me. Here at 1x there are some really good abstract photography and when i see a great abstract i can get inspired to do some work. I also get inspired by creative artists like Ben Goossens and Patrick Desmet amongst many others because of their creativity in making great works. Stunning landscapes also inspire me to make my own landscapes, as well as storytelling portraits. I find some great portraits here at 1x that influence me in my own work.
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future?
I dont have any specific goal other than to dive into as much as i can and enjoy from photography and art. This way i belive i will reach neverending goals. The journey through this is the goal, but i also like to explore more in portraits in the future.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
I have no particular favourite image, but if i should pick one i would have to say this image of my son:
It was the first real portrait i did and it has its flaws in tecnical quality but nevertheless it showed me how to use mood as a part of portraits. It also contains my favorite subject matter, water, so it represent both abstract and portraits. Ever since, my portraits have been influenced by this image.
11. Is there anything else you wish to add ?
I feel honoured to be a part of such great community as 1x. The work of the members here are truly amazing and inspiring to me and i love to explore and observe the work of others in each published image.