CIB Photographer of the Month August: Anja Wettergren
Anja Wettergren is situated in Nottingham, UK.
Name: Anja Wettergren
Facebook: Anja Wettergren Photography
Location: Nottingham, UK
When did you first pick up a camera?
Well, I've always been fascinated with photography, some of my first memories are me on the living room floor for hours, pouring over my dad's photos from before I was born and just being mesmerized with how a single frame could tell such a story and evoke so much feeling, and I loved the light and the colors. Later, before mobile phones, I often wished I had a camera inside my eye as was always seeing images or compositions but I had nothing to capture them with, and they usually only last a moment before they're gone forever.
As a teenager, I learned the basics on my mum's old Canon SLR, and since then I've always had compact cameras and then phones, but to answer your question, it wasn't until 2017 that I finally had the money to buy my first, "real" camera for myself.
What inspired you to take up skatepark photography?
I had started shooting roller derby and one of my teammates, Georgina Mak, was always going to the skate park and it just seemed like such a cool thing to do and another way to practice photography and shooting women being free and fearless, or challenging their fears and doing cool stuff. And I was right!
Who are your biggest influences?
For skatepark photography, it's Marshall Garlington (FX Mixer). His work is super inspiring and it's always shot in these dreamy California locations with sunshine and palm trees, and I love his "skaters in the wild" project. Another photographer I absolutely love is Omar Z. Robles, he shoots ballet dancers in street settings and every image is just mind-blowing. I'd love to do something like that with park/derby skaters someday.
When it comes to skaters, I'm influenced and inspired by pretty much anyone who has the guts to strap on skates and just go for it. I've done it myself so I know how scary it can be at first! So it's the whole community really. And of course Lady Trample and Bomba Hache have been huge influences as I've shot their clinics at Eurocon for two years, and they're the skaters I've shot the most as well. Park skating is not massive in Nottingham (see also: UK weather) so I get most my practice at big events, as you can tell from my photos...
What do you enjoy the most about photography?
This is such a huge question. I enjoy being able to tell a story, to inspire others, to make people look at themselves in a positive way, but above all it's kinda like this urge or compulsion I have. I still constantly see images forming everywhere and managing to catch them gives me a buzz and a feeling of pure joy and definitely a moment of relief like everything is in harmony. And when you shoot and you get in the zone or enter the flow-state or whatever, you have to be 100% at the moment and be hyper-aware of that moment, everything else sort of melts away and you're just *here*.
And you know, I also just like taking cool pictures that hopefully other people like too, hahaha!
What has been your favorite session to date?
The Eurocon CIB meetup at Nevermind, Barcelona 2018 when Katja had light-up wheels (see cover photo)! I had been wanting to shoot light-up wheels using flash and a slow shutter speed ever since I figured out that style, so I was happily surprised she brought some, and that I just about managed to pull off the effect.
Favorite trick to capture?
Anything with a lot of air!
If you could only shoot one skatepark for the rest of your shooting days, which one and why?
Oh easy, Nevermind in Barcelona. It's a dingy, gritty dive bar with a mega gnarly little bowl in the back, and it's dirty and sweaty and awesome. The moment I first walked in I was like "I'm home".
Thank you, Anja, for sharing your words and images with us! We look forward to seeing what you capture next, wherever that may be!