Back in 2013, an image of skier Jacob Wester spraying powder at sunset lit up the Image Quest – that image was shot by Daniel Rönnbäck. They return to the Image Quest 2019, but this time both are in front of the lens! The image, captured by Lifestyle semi-finalist Sofia Sjöberg takes us behind the scenes of the things we love – adventure and action sports, and photography!
Sofia has been on our radar for most of the year, as she also made the Top 25 of the Best of Instagram by SanDisk Category back in February. We wanted to know more, check out the interview below!
Now you’re a semi-finalist, describe what the ‘Lifestyle’ Category means to you…
I find that athletes in the action sport community tend to let their sports define their entire lives in a way that seems unique to them. It provides them an identity as well as a social context. The Lifestyle category for me is not only about portraying the way of life of the athletes, photographers and cinematographers by capturing the moments around the action and the moments that show their dedication and level of commitment but also the relationship between the individuals in the community.
How would you describe your Lifestyle?
Unlike the athletes, I have not chosen a specific sport to live my life through. I have rather chosen my lifestyle around being outdoors and experiencing nature through my camera. Due to this, my lifestyle is pretty much based on the seasons. During winter it is very focused on skiing and being out in the mountains, spring is all about camping and ski touring, summer time is computer time and, in the autumn, I focus on documenting surfing somewhere in the world.
Is your lifestyle visible in your photography?
I sure hope it is. I try to capture as many moments as possible of my life. I find that the most difficult part of capturing the lifestyle is that during the less good times it is hard to see the beauty in what you are doing. It is so much more work behind the action than just the performance of the athletes. I have spent weeks in a campervan in Iceland, looking for a decent wave, only to have found stormy oceans with pouring rain. I've spent days in my campervan in Northern Norway, not being able to be outside because of winds and snow, waiting for a potentially sunny window so we can show that specific line or jump. How do you show that in an interesting way and how do you find the inspiration to pick up your camera, when the dream of capturing that specific shot is slowly fading away due to difficult weather?
In your words, what type of photographer are you?
I'm a lifestyle action sport photographer with a passion for camping and raw scenery.
What’s more important in photography, action or emotion?
It is all about the light if you ask me, haha, but if I have to choose I pick action. If you have a powerful action shot it will most likely bring forth emotions in the viewer.
Do you always have your camera with you?
Yes, I always have a camera with me. I have different cameras for different situations. I use a DSLR and a drone for work. I don't really use my phone to take photos since I have noticed that I never look at them and they don't bring me any joy. Therefore, I got a small analog point and shoot camera from the late 90s for everyday situations like parties and lifestyle. Since I have to spend a bit of money on each frame, I just tend to plan the shot more, as well as treasure them more when they are developed. And it is always fun to see what got captured a month later or so.
How did you discover Red Bull Illume?
It was all over my social media feeds in 2016 ;)
You made it into the Top 25 of the Best of Instagram by SanDisk Category, did this give you confidence to enter the main contest?
It sure did. I have not worked that long as a photographer so when I entered the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category I wasn't sure if I had what it takes to compete with all the amazing photographers out there. When I made the top 25 I decided it was worth giving a shot and I'm so honored to have made the semi-finals with not one but two photos!
What’s next for you, and where can we find more of your work?
Winter is just around the corner so Chamonix, France is first up. Then ski touring in Iceland and Northern Norway. I put up some of my work on Instagram, other than that you can find them in ski magazines, so go pick one up and support this amazing community that works so hard to show what action sports is all about!
Follow Sofia on Instagram!