Ami Elsius – A Deeper Development
BY STEPHANIE CAJUCOM
A photographer with a thirst for life, Ami Elsius uses her camera as the key to unlocking the curiosities of the world. Born in Sweden, she’s lived on four different continents and is now based in Taormina, Sicily but continues to follow her accurate intuitions around the globe.
She’s a magnet for adventures and manages to capture the intensity and drama of her surroundings with ninja-like stealth, never missing the moment or disrupting the scene. Depth and movement abound in her stills centralized around destinations and people as fine art resonates throughout each piece.
Her latest works still echo with the Elsius touch but have moved toward fashion and advertising. Truly developing (quite literally) a lifelong passion Ami aims to discover what she did not believe existed and we’re lucky enough to celebrate her precious findings.
Have you always enjoyed watching and interpreting the world around you?
Yes, I have always been an observer but, I would say in a more kinesthetic than visual way. And more so than interpreting the world as is, I pick out my favorite pieces, mix and match and invent my own versions. I love spotting, capturing and creating beauty; may it be tangible, a feeling or a concept...and then sharing it... creating a photographic window where the observer can dive into.
What made you start photography?
I got my first camera when I was just 5 years old and it was love at first sight. I started taking photos of everything around me but soon discovered that I mainly like shooting people. At the age of 14 my dad...who is a keen amateur photographer, just like his dad was...helped me set up a darkroom in our basement. A year later I started an apprenticeship with 3 press photographers and the ball kept rolling. Photography has always been a part of my life.
How would you describe your artistic style?
Graphic, clean lines, a lot of feeling, harmonic light, mostly with people in focus and with an artistic touch to it.
Is there a creative process before a story, and if so describe it to us?
Apart from some type of initial inspiration ( that can be just about anything that gets my attention), getting an overview of what the photos should portray, identifying possible challenges and sorting out the practical details...I plan as little as possible. Planning a shoot is more of a backup for me than something I am obliged to follow. I like to be open and ready for the unexpected.
In your images you go beyond what the eyes see, and you capture the soul of your object, whats the hardest moment in this process?
The at times very time consuming process of creating a platform of trust, where the models feel comfortable to let their masks fall and let me into their world.
You have done so many different types of photography, editorial, fashion, portrait, advertising, documentary, fine art and travel photography, which is your favorite style?
It can often be hard to label my photos as I tend to interweave different disciplines. My personal style shines through regardless of what I shoot. Big challenging projects with lots of people involved and a dynamic creative team, would be my preference. It's the combination of the place, light, people and styling that I get off on, rather than a particular discipline of photography.
Do you consider yourself an artist, a story teller of history, or a medium of communication?
First and foremost I am an artist; the drive and passion to create is in my genes...stranded on a deserted island I would make sand sculptures and collages with leaves. Being a medium of communication and sharing my images is crucial to my work but, its secondary to the act of creating them. And yes I am a storyteller, but not of history.
Describe your strengths and weaknesses as an artist and a creator?
My biggest weakness from a career point of view would be that I am driven by curiosity of constantly trying new styles, angles, mediums and ideas... instead of just sticking to one style that I keep perfecting year after year. I am not driven by the need to prove anything, become famous or win any prices...I just love taking photos and feel very fortunate to be able to make a living from my passion and that people appreciate and get inspired from my work. That is quite a rare attitude in this field of work, and can at times be frowned upon.
I guess my main strengths would be: that I have a natural eye for capturing the innate beauty of a person, place, thing or concept; I am very inventive (a family trait that I have inherited from my father, that is a prominent inventor) often original; I always find a way to execute even the trickiest of projects.
-- Interview by Anna Maria Sandegren