Interview With Hans Strand

After a nine year career in mechanical engineering, Hans Strand decided to make a dramatic change and to devote his life to landscape photography, which had been his long held great passion. Hans has always felt himself drawn to the untamed and un-manipulated images that he finds in nature

I believe you took your first steps in landscape photography in Yosemite, with a camera you purchased in California just before that trip. How old were you? Also, can you describe your first impressions of Yosemite and, how much it affected your photographic career?

I was 25 years old and was about to graduate from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Our class managed to get some sponsor money from Swedish industry for a visit to Stanford University just south of San Francisco. There, I bought my first camera and went straight for Yosemite which was familiar to me after looking through some books by Ansel Adams. When looking through the viewfinder of my new camera, I felt a fantastic connection with the landscape in front of me, something I had never experienced before. Even to this day I get the same feeling, and my camera works like an interface between myself and Mother Nature.

Having studied mechanical engineering, do you find that this has helped your photography in any way?

Actually, I think so. I have never had any problems with technical issues. Film processing, post processing and so on have always been fairly easy for me to deal with.

I believe you made some slideshows for Swedish TV in the mid 80s, can you tell us a bit more about this?

I made eight short slideshows for Swedish TV. The first one was from the winter coast of Sweden; then I made one on Death Valley and one on Yosemite, which I visited again in 1984, and this was my first step towards becoming a professional photographer.

In 1990 you quit your engineering job and started working as a professional photographer. What are the pros and cons you come against on a daily basis and what advice would you give to other photographers who wish to turn pro?

I must say that in 1990 it was a lot easier than today. I had slowly built up my business over a period of six years on the side of my work as an engineer. When I finally took the decisive step to become a full time professional photographer, it was not that big a step. In 1990 there was a great need for nature images from photo agencies and I joined several of them. The stock business kept me going for many years onwards. I travelled all over the planet shooting wild landscapes and sent my images from the trips to the agencies. It paid off quite well until about 2008 when the photo agency business literally collapsed. My sales dropped about 95% in one year. Now I don’t count on any income from image agencies anymore. There is the same problem with photo magazines. They don’t pay contributing photographers anymore. Everybody in the production chain is getting paid except the photographers. When young photographers want to get advice from me how to survive, I simply ...

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    I like this guy…he makes A LOT of sense when he says –
    “Unfortunately, I have to say most of the landscape photography I see on the internet is way too artificial for my taste. Maybe I am getting too old to appreciate HDR-images and one minute daylight exposures of water. For me those techniques are effects rather than expressions. I also have problems with all the ridiculously oversaturated images I find on the internet. Who would appreciate an oversaturated human face? With nature, however, there seems to be no limit. I think this is an effect of an urge by many to make nature more beautiful than it actually is”

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