Marcus Cederberg gives us an insider look on how he finds inspiration for his amazing architectural and minimalist photography.
Your artistic style as a photographer is grounded in minimalism, and seems to be a distinct result of the fast paced information driven culture we currently live in. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Yes, we are all living in an era of distractions; we are surrounded by a punishing drumbeat of constant input 24 hours a day and everything goes faster and faster. So for me looking at a minimalistic picture is actually a calming moment, to explore the peacefulness of a picture with minimal content calms me down. That is a fact that several cultures have known for ages, for example the way a Japanese garden is constructed for calming and meditation, often with a minimalistic design.
So why not become a minimalist, it’s the least you can do!
Were your photographs in the past different – pre-internet, pre-smartphone, pre-social media?
Yes, my minimalist way of taking photos has to do with the influence from Instagram and other photography social medias, and it was the minimalist touch that got my interest for photography to take off. Prior to that I was mainly taking more or less ordinary random pictures.
What are some of your artistic influences? Are there any particular minimalist artists that you admire or that stimulate your creative process?
I was influenced in so many ways; of course I am influenced from other artists but also from daily life. I spot motives everywhere I go and the ”radar” is more or less always on. The artists I get inspiration from are a mix of architecture photographers and the ones having a more strict minimalistic touch, several of the ones that inspire me the most are often taking both architectural but also other pics. For example Daniel Rueda (@drcuerda on Instagram) Dirk Bakker (@macenzo) and Nicanor Garcia ( @nicanorgarcia) or Sebastian Weiss ( @le__blanc) I also get inspiration from more classic painters like Monet and Matisse.
There’s a beautiful juxtaposition of color, light, shadow and negative space in many of your images, as well as a tendency toward pattern and repetition. How do you use these elements to convey the sense of calm you seek to generate in your work?
Thank you, for me a lot of negative space is the calmness I am trying to achieve. But there has to be a contrast, something that happens in the picture, otherwise it’s just getting boring. A picture of a large empty wall is often just dull and boring, but if you try to add in a small element like shadows or people to get the perspective, the picture gets a whole new life. I also love the effect a repeated pattern can do with a picture. A facade with 2 balconies may not be that exciting but if you have let’s say 50 of them it´s both much more effective and also a more random picture.
And color, I love colors! I try to present a variety on my Instagram feed when it comes to color but it’s sometimes hard to find the right motive with the right color. Even if you can elaborate with the colors in the editing process, it’s not the same thing. I also like contrast colors, opposite colors on the color scheme (like purple and light green) that often makes an excellent combination put together. Here in Scandinavia it’s very popular with black and white photo art right now, so I am trying to think more black and white when taking and editing my pictures.
You seem to have an interest in architecture. Do you shoot at a particular time of day or look for certain light and weather conditions that might be useful to those types of images? Do you find an endless amount of options locally in central Sweden, or do you travel far and wide to capture your images?
Yes architecture has always been an interest of mine, but it really took off when starting with Instagram a couple of years back. To be able to view amazing pictures of fantastic buildings all over the world really opened my eyes in the endless ways you can photograph a building. Interesting you ask about the light and weather conditions. Previously, I have been relying on pure luck when it comes to light but I just recently downloaded an app that seems to be pretty cool where you can spot the light and shadows conditions all over the world all year around.
When it comes to options, there are a lot of minimalistic options locally in Sweden where I live but when it comes to state of the art architecture etc. you have to travel. I love to travel with my camera and coming to a new city is always very exciting. I loved being in both New York and Dubai, I want to go back again! And my list of cities where I want to go is very long.
What type of equipment do you use? Do you work with any particular software on post-production? Is there a particular print size that seems to work best in terms of capturing the feel of your work?
I mainly use my Canon 750D with various lenses; my favorite one is my 70-300mm lens. I run almost every picture through several editing software. My favorite ones are Pixelmator for Mac and Affinity Photo, both are pretty easy to use. Recently I have started to use Adobe Lightroom for some pictures, I like what you can do with the lighting with that software. When it comes to print size, I think I´m stuck in Instagram thinking with 2/3 as a preferable print size. I have seen some of my pictures in very large sizes and that is such a cool feeling! I ended a project last week seeing my pictures on a huge billboard in downtown Los Angeles and that was so cool!
Lastly, are you ever drawn to photographing busy street scenes, intimate portraits of people or chaotic moments, a counterpoint to your usual spacious style? Or are you totally enraptured by minimalism?
Haha great question! I’m actually drawn to that kind of photography, I read photography magazines and I often get very inspired to try that kind of photography. I have been trying some of it on a hobby level, and I will definitely try to develop that kind of skill! Minimalism and architectural photography will always be an important part of my work, but I like the thought of mixing it up with some other stuff in the future.