We sat down with our photographer Niklas Porter to talk analogue photography, why he’s not looking for the “perfect” motifs & which camera he prefers.
“I was a perfectionist when I was younger. I’ve outgrown that now and feel that perfect is quite boring and impersonal. It is in the “imperfect” that you find what’s interesting.” Niklas Porter is the modest observer who finds beauty in even the most casual of scenarios, moments others would pass by without a second glance. With his Leica M2 slung over his shoulder everywhere he goes, Niklas lets the scene come to him rather than looking for the perfect shot.
He was born in Sweden but grew up in Vail, a small ski resort in Colorado, USA, and later moved back to Falun, Sweden, during his teens. Today, he splits his time between the two countries, working as a photographer and graphic designer. His interest in photography developed after he sought an emotional outlet for his creativity and emotions. This is exactly what Niklas strives to capture in his photography: true feeling. However, if you ask the photographer himself, the meaning of art really resides in the viewer. Each individual interpreting it in their own way.
When I look objectively at my own pictures, I think it’s possible to detect a certain “style” but that’s nothing I’m thinking of or will attempt to describe.
– Niklas Porter
How would you describe your style?
When I look objectively at my own pictures, I think it’s possible to detect a certain “style” but that’s nothing I’m thinking of or will attempt to describe. I don’t want to limit myself or be fixed to one particular style. I take pictures of what’s happening around me. Then maybe I’m drawn to melancholy but it’s no style in itself.
Can you describe the solitude one can distinguish in your pictures?
I connect solitude to a personal level because I’m almost always with myself when I’m shooting, but also the visual expression in the pictures. When I take pictures, I am always drawn to people or objects that demonstrate some form of solitude. I’m devoting some thought to the difference between solitude and loneliness. Where solitude is a state you chose without being alone. Whereas loneliness is a state of isolation. I find myself drawn exploring that grey-zone between the two terms with my photography.
When we met you for the first time, we got the impression that you bring the camera to the grocery store?
I have my camera with me almost everywhere. I realize more and more that life is happening right now and it’s the everyday moments I want to capture whether I’m on Manhattan or at the grocery store in Sweden. I don’t want to look for the perfect picture but rather try to capture scenes from everyday life to describe a certain place, time, feeling or memory.
To not have the immediate gratification we are used to today is another reason why I prefer analogue.
– Niklas Porter
Can you ever turn off the “photography eye” or do you see everything as a photo opportunity?
I want to say that the way I see the world is the same as I capture with the camera. I don’t think it’s a matter of relaxing or “shutting off” but simply my way of looking and capturing what’s happening around me.
Why do you prefer to photograph analogically in front of digital?
I started to shoot digitally but ended up editing all the pictures with an “analogue feeling”. Then I decided quite fast to buy an analogue camera instead and completely fell in love with the way of shooting. I love the process that it entails, from shooting to developing and the actual print. Shooting analogue forces me to trust myself, to take the picture and then move on. To not have the immediate gratification we are used to today is another reason why I prefer analogue.
Which camera do you use?
I recently got the opportunity to buy my dream camera, which is a Leica M2 and it’s only the one I’m using right now with both a 35mm and 50mm lens. I’ve also photographed some medium formats but sold my Pentax 67, which I regret a little. Perhaps I will buy a new medium format camera in the future.
What are your goals with your photography?
Right now, my goal is to just keep taking pictures and see where it’s going. In the future it would be fun to participate in more exhibits and eventually a book.
And lastly, can you describe your collection on Moutife?
My collection on Moutife currently consists of photos from a photo series called Chinatown, Manhattan and a selection of motifs from both Sweden and the US. One can say that it is a collection of photographs with everything from everyday objects to whole scenes that caught my interest in one way or another.