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Jonas Peterson has always stood out in the crowd of photographers. From the first time I found my way to a blogpost of his in 2011, to images like this and this, always with the perfect caption to enhance the visual too. But it was these images that had me sit by my desk with silent tears streaming down my cheeks. I love all kinds of (wedding) photography, but his photographs hit me emotionally hard. Five years later I still remember all these images and more. So it is with true honor I will be able to bring him to Lofoten next year for our upcoming workshop; Northern Stories. I asked him a few questions to get to know him a little better. And his answers obviously let us know why he is able to capture these incredible moments and create such art. He is his spoken and executed art. This is a good read wether you’re a photographer or just a human being loving life, photography, people, or all of the above. Enjoy. 

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1. When and how did you ‘fall into’ the photography business? I started my photography business after I decided to leave my job as an advertising copywriter. I was sick of working with big corporations and wanted to get back to serving real people and telling real stories.

2. Photography is a very personal matter – what do you believe wedding photography should be about? Oh, I can talk about this for hours and at the workshop I will most likely do exactly that. But in short I believe in people’s individuality and connection. Everyone loves differently and everyone’s story deserves to be told. I try to tell the story I’m presented, not faking things, but instead seeing the beauty in everyone and shooting my story that way.

3. Have the process of creating your own unique style, been a lot of compromise, or have you always held on to your beliefs in your art? No compromise ever, I believe I have a strong voice because of it.

4. When did you decide to do weddings – and was there ever a question not to shoot weddings? Yes and no. I started shooting wedding because I thought wedding photography was awful, I wanted to see if I could do it differently. And that was always my compass. When the word of “my style” spread it more and more became norm, but the world is a big place and cultures are different. I always adapt, but I stay true to what I believe in.

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5. What do you love about weddings? People. I love observing the human condition, what people want me to see and what people don’t want me to see. I try to capture all of it and present it back to people in a way they didn’t expect.

6. How would you describe your style in five words? Story, story, story, connection and intimacy.

7. What is your favorite moment during a wedding? Usually when I get to seperate the wedding couple from the mayhem and give them some time to themselves for portraits. I don’t force anything, I simply capture what happens then.

8. Which moment do you think is the most ‘valuable moment’ to capture during a wedding day? None of the expected ones. It can be a glance from the bride’s mother during the first dance, generally reaction from people there. The cliche moments are there for people to react to, so I try to focus on both.

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9. Do you ever get emotional shooting a wedding? All the time, I cry when my couples cry, I live and feel with them.

10. What is your strength being you – the way you see it? I immerse myself into to story of the wedding I’m telling, which means I need to be included into the group as one of them. When I do that successfully magic happens. Apart from that my biggest strength is me and how I see the world, it’s what sets us all apart.

11. What makes your heart skip a beat – both professionally and private? Love and passion. I live and love deeply and I look for that in everything, art, life, food, connections.

12. What is your ambition and your goals in the long run, personal and professional? To live a rich life and affect the people around me in a positive way.

13. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I try not to, I focus on living in the present, it’s all we have.

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14. What is your most important lesson to give to fellow peers in biz and life? Do everything with passion and kindness.

15. In Scandinavia many envy the natural light and nature from more warmer and exotic sides of the world during weddings. What do you as an international photographer see as beautiful and ‘frameworthy’ in Norway, and Scandinavia? The grass is always greener, Scandinavia has amazing light and nature. I tend to shoot a lot of grand vistas, mountains, oceans and forests and Scandinavia has that in abundance. In fact, the most beautiful place I’ve been to in the world is Lofoten. I visited there many years ago and was blown away by its beauty.

16. If you could choose a fantasy celebrity wedding – who would it be, and why? I have shot quite a few celebrity weddings, some I’m not allowed to talk about and for me it’s always about connection and inclusion. If I’m treated like a friend or family member I will have a good time, if I’m treated like a servant, I will not. And if I’m going to spend time away from friends and family I need my couples to become my new friends and family, otherwise what’s the point?

17. Who or what makes you laugh really hard? Good standup comedy and fail videos.

18. What do you take away from the weddings you shoot? The connections with people I meet and capture.

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19. Who is your inspiration in life – professionally and private? I’m not inspired by anyone in particular. People who live fully, enjoying the world around them inspire me immensely.

20. How important is marketing in photography? Extremely important.

21. The website and the design tell a lot about the photographer we think. Your sites has always been simple, where your images and words do ‘the talk’, why did you choose your design, and is it important for you? For exactly those reasons.

22. If you were to give the Scandinavian brides and couples one piece of advise – what would it be? Let your photography capture your whole day, from start to end. You’re not going to care about the set up portraits outside the church, you will remember the photos and moments when your friends and family had fun around you. Let your photographer capture all of it.

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23. Coffee or Tea – Beer or Wine? All of it.

24. What motivates you in your work? To tell better stories, to treat people with love and respect.

25. What do you want your couples to take away from their wedding photos and the experience – and how to you get them at ease? I try to be myself, I have a pretty calming presence. I want my couple to feel I’ve captured THEM, not some sort of made up version of their day and who they are.

26. Describe you in 3 words? Driven, passionate and a hopeless romantic.

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27. What is the most beautiful destination you’ve ever shot a wedding? I have a thing for islands, I have shot some amazing weddings on islands around the world, Lipari in Italy, Harbour Island in the Bahamas, Bali in Indonesia. I’m born by the ocean and have a strong connection to it.

28. When did you decide to do your kind of weddings, or were there ever a question not, to shoot your distinctive style? I went into wedding photography to shoot the exact type of wedding photography I’m doing.

29. Do you see the world as your market, or are you focusing on specific parts of the world? Are there any places you have yet to see? I shoot everywhere and I love to travel.

30. Who is your style icon of all time – in photography and life? I really don’t have one.

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31. What do you love about life? The more you love it and live it, the more you get out of it.

32. We know you have a good heart by what you share and write, but what really brings you to tears? The quiet ones. The same as with everything else, human connection, fathers and sons, love and passion.

33. Do you ever feel like following the ‘crowd’ – or trends in the industry? No, but I’m naturally drawn to change, if I want to change, I will, but I will dictate when and how. Be the trend, don’t follow it.

34. Would you or/and have you ever said no to a wedding that you didn’t feel was a match for your photography style? No, I believe all stories deserve to be told.

35. Any tip on how to attract the dream clients? Show the type of work you want to sell, nothing else.

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36. Who or what makes you really happy and content? When I can create something beautiful for people around me, be it a good dinner or a great wedding slideshow. I live to love and serve.

37. If you were to choreograph your dream wedding, what would it look like? Focus on the important, the connection, the place, the people and worry less about details.

38. Do you pay attention to other wedding photographers work? No, I stopped looking at wedding photography six months after I shot my first wedding, I don’t want my vision to be corrupted by others.

39. If you could choose any wedding photographer first hand to have in front of your camera, who would you do a portrait session of? Myself, because self portraits are difficult and extremely revealing.

40. What is your definition of love? Love is literally everything, it’s the guiding force. God is Love, Love is God.

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41. Do you shoot digital or analog, or hybrid? And what do you love about each. I shoot mainly digital, but all my personal work is film. I rarely shoot hybrid, but I love film with a passion.

42. Your number one song of all time? Impossible to answer for me, music is in everything I do.

43. If you you weren’t a photographer – what would you do for a living? I’d tell stories, that’s all i’ve ever done. Probably as a writer or film maker.

44. Will you ever move back to Scandinavia? Probably not, but never say never.

45. What is the one life lesson you hope to teach your children? Follow your heart and be kind to people.

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46. Who is your typical client? Usually they are very interested in photography and most often very much in love with my work. Apart from that just passionate people with a love for a good day or emotion and fun.

47. What season is the one you feel most at home with and why? Since I left Sweden in 2004 I have traveled the world, but I’m fond of the changes between the seasons, it always feels like a new start.

48. Who would you choose as your photographer for any choice of session with yourself in front of the camera? Sally Mann or Swedish photographer Anders Petersen.

49. Favourite quote: “You will never regret being kind.”

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50. What’s on top of your bucket list? Havana, Cuba. And doing a workshop in Lofoten.

51. Deep conversations or small talk? Deep, deep, deeeeeeep conversations.

52. Where is your happy place? At a great dinner with the person i love, sharing good food and wine.

53. Most important thing at a dinner table? The people around it.

54. Which personal photo is the one you treasure the most? Too difficult to answer briefly.

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55. What do you love most about hosting workshops, and what inspires you to do them? I want to make a difference and I love inspiring people, making them see their full potential.


To read more about the workshop in Lofoten with Jonas Peterson, click your way over HERE.