The Jar – Geir Jartveit has developed his very unique and own style over the years. His work is mainly conceptual, a deliberate choice giving him space for fantasies. He considers photography as a batte and quotes: “We photographers have to fight the forces of nature, waiting long hours, always trying to find the right angle and the right moment, trying to reach for the perfect shot. We are in the middle of an ecological crisis and all live the same dream, fighting to survive. As photographers, we can make a great contribution to this fight, documenting shot by shot.”
Listen to what this great artist who always follows his heart and his dreams, reveals to us in this interesting interview.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
My name is Geir Jartveit and my artist name is The Jar, I'm a hobby photographer from Norway.
I was 17 years old when I bought my first camera. The interest for photography came after a situation I had hunting. I was going in the fog on a mountain an early morning with my shotgun. Suddenly I heard a hare running my way. My great grandfather had told me if you whistle, the hare stops. So I whistled and the hare stopped 4 meters away from me. It stood on two legs and looked straight at me. I was ready to shoot but I couldn´t do it. The whole thing felt so magical. I sold my shotgun not long after and started to shoot with a camera instead.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
We all have our unique story. I have my story and I want to be honest about it. I grew up in a Christian home and was exposed to bullying on the school already from the first day, this lasted 10 years. Whenever I think back it´s like a black tunnel. Four years ago I met the wall and was standing on the edge of the cliff. I sought help from a psychologist who got me through a difficult time. In this difficult time I started using photography in a different way I hadn´t used before. The photography became my therapy to get out of a difficult time. I painted myself used smoke and masks. It became a pressure valve where I got out everything that disturbed me inside. I couldn´t hold the façade anymore, it was getting too hard. The photography became my rescue.
Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
Three years ago I visited the St. Mary´s Church in Gdansk. I randomly entered the memorial service for Poland´s President, Lech Kaczynski after the Smolensk Crash. I was so influenced by these mourning people It felt like the music in the church took me to another place. Something happened to me there and then. I came home and started treating pictures in a different way I hadn´t done before. My photos got shadows and became graphical. It wasn´t planned. It just came like steam out of a pressure cooker.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
I have a dream about being able to live off of photography. The market is tough because there are a lot of talented photographers around the world. I have now just quitted my job because I have decided I want to focus only on photography from now on. I´m probably not going to get rich, but I want to follow my dreams. Doing what I really want matters more to me than money. I want to take back the time I feel like I´ve lost in my difficult time at a young age. And I plan on doing that by doing exciting things like travelling a lot. I need to do it now as I have the opportunity to do so as my children are older and I don´t have any commitments. I am now going to follow my heart and see how the road continues to evolve. To live in covenant with my dreams is the right choice for me now.
Why are you so drawn by conceptual photography?
It is an exciting form of expression, which I think is a way to get emotions out on. Conceptual photography gives free space for fantasies.
What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
The most important to me is the story behind the photo. If I manage to capture an emotion in the photo that touches others, I feel very happy. I also use a lot of slow shutter. For me that feels like I am using the camera as a paintbrush. I do like that the pictures are blurry in my artistic form. But as a nature photographer I think sharpness and the technical is very important.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer and do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
I don´t really prepare much before I am going to take pictures. I like the spontaneous and go shotting there and then.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
The camera I use is Canon Mark 3. I have two lenses I use which are 35 mm Sigma and 100-400 mm Canon. I have a Lowepro bag that suits my gear.
What software do you use to process your images?
I import the photos in Lightroom. Most of the photos get finished there. The photos I still want to continue working on I put in Photoshop Elements where I use Layer. I really like the tools dodge and burn.
Can you tell us something more about your workflow?
I have different methods of working. Sometimes thoughts about a picture come across to my head. I can then sit down and finish the picture in a short amount of time. Other times I will be sitting with music on my ear and just think about what I can do with a picture. I don´t have any plans of what I can do with it, it just comes to me from the inside. When I work like this it feels like the world is smiling at me and I feel the inner pleasure. It feels like I am dancing with the photos.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Conceptual Photography?
The most important advice I can give is to not be afraid of what others may say or mean about your photos. Follow your heart and just be yourself. Have fun with the pictures after what ideas and feelings that comes to your mind. Don’t let yourself be tempted to copy others pictures. Conceptual Photography is about your expression. It is your own form of art, which you are going to convey.
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I have a lot of ideas. I want to use models and stage my expression with the help of effects. It´s not easy to plan out a specific direction I would take my photography in the future. But I am a creative person and I feel that I will find that out eventually now that I have taken a choice to focus on something else than working as a service technician offshore.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
This picture tells me to take control over my life. It is so easy that others control your choices and decisions. I know that because I have experienced it for many years. I became a shadow of myself. Then you remain on the outside and watch how your life transforms by others. It´s no answer key on how the game develops. But we are all pieces on the board and we choose ourselves where we wish to go. Sometimes we take good choices, and sometimes we make dumb choices. But if you remain passive life gets boring and without a meaning.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I am very glad to have 1x as my home base for my pictures. It´s on of the best websites on the Internet for photography and a lot of skilled photographers inspire me with their photos. It is a website where people can profile themselves as photographers. 1x has a big network where you evolve further in a positive direction. I really appreciate comments on my pictures and when people write endorsements.