An Interview with Black & White Photographer Marius Rustad

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Black and white photo by Marius Rustad

Close to Home – Eight Birds

It’s a common frustration ­- even a complaint – from photographers that the place they live in is not visually interesting, at least not interesting enough to build up a comprehensive body of  work. It’s a frustration I share myself, and for me the solution has always been to travel to more interesting and photogenic places.

Some photographers though are lucky enough to live somewhere with a wealth of potential subject matter close by. Marius Rustad is one of them. He lives in Norway, and his project Close to Home resulted in a series of beautiful black and white prints taken close to where he lives.

One advantage of taking photos close to where you live is that you get to know the area well, over an extended period of time, and through all four seasons. Photography – especially landscape photography – relies on the weather conditions being just right. Sometimes you’ll turn up to a good location but be unable to take the photos you want because of the light. If the location is near to where you live, it’s easy to return when the light is better.

Marius is receiving recognition for his work. He was just featured in Black and White Photography magazine and received an honourable mention in the Fine Art – Landscape category in the 2010 International Photography Awards. Prints of his photos are available (contact details are below the interview).

Interview

How would you describe your photographic vision? What kind of feeling are you trying to create in your photos?

I’m not sure I have a specific vision in that sense, but I do have driving force in the back of my mind that seems to give all my photographs some sort of common expression. Kind of like a subconscious signature. I shoot first and foremost for myself. The pictures that I choose to keep all evoke feelings and emotions and act as little containers of memories or stories. If someone else really feels something by looking at my photos too, well.. I couldn’t really ask for more.

I see certain themes in your landscape work, such as loneliness and tranquility. Why are you drawn to exploring these ideas?

I honestly don’t know. I’m sort of a loner… a single child. I’ve always been drawn to the more melancholic side of things, be it music, art or whatever. I guess minimalistic landscape images in black & white aren’t your best platform for happy shots either.

Why do you work in black and white rather than colour?

My landscape work is all 6×6 black & white. I like the format and black & white helps me accentuate lines and form which are important elements in my photographs. It’s graphical to a certain degree. I don’t want it to be sterile, but.. yeah.. clean and pure are two words that comes to mind. I actually shoot a lot of coloor too, but that’s a whole different story… that’s the other Marius. He likes clean and pure too, but does it all handheld in 35mm color with a certain passion for classic cars and filthy motels… If you’d see one you’d go.. Is this the same guy??

What cameras and film do you use? Why do you prefer using film to digital?

I’m a total gearhead. I’ll run you down my weapons of choice this one time. I’ve got three main rigs, a Hassleblad, a Mamiya and a Leica. Hassleblad 503CW sporting a PM45 with 50mm CFI, 80mm CFE, 120mm CFI and the SWC/M. That’s what I use most of the time. Then I have the Mamiya 6 with all three lenses. I usually bring this on trips when I don’t want to bring my Swedish friends. I shoot Fuji Acros 90% of the time. If I can’t get it I’ll shoot Kodak T-Max 100. I do the occasional Tri-X as well. The Leica is a M6 with a 35 and a 50. I load her with Kodak Portra 160NC. A killer combo that Neal Casal got me hooked on. Then again…one of my all time favorite photos taken by myself was shot with a Holga, handheld on Ilford 3200… I have too much stuff.

I prefer film because it has a certain look that I am too fed up trying to explain to people… it just has a look that I like. Digital is too perfect. I also enjoy the physical aspect of it and that when your hard drive fails, I still have my negatives.

What do the landscape and the sea mean to you?

I just like the open landscape. It relaxes me. There are way to many hills and trees where I live. Too much clutter. I really enjoy being alone by the sea with just the empty horizon in front of me… or an endless road that seems to go on forever. The “Close to Home” series was actually quite the challenge. Some of those places are quite bland and dull looking… I had to wait for just the right weather conditions for them to bloom into beauty. It’s all mother nature… I just press the button.

Name three photographers you like and why.

That’s hard. There are so many great photographers out there. Okay, I’ll give it a shot.

Josef Hoflehner: He actually makes me want to quit altogether. Perfection. I’d love to do a day in the life with that guy. Damn.

William Eggleston: What can I say.. he’s a legend, a true star. He’s killing it at over 70. Seems like such a cool guy.

Last one. I’ll throw a curveball and say Annie Leibovitz. She has had a real impact on me through the years. I’m not that into her recent stuff, but American Music is incredible.

Where is your photography going? What future photographic projects are you excited about?

I’m not sure where it’ll take me. I just take it one day at a time. The only thing I’m sure of is that I’ll keep taking photographs for as long as I’m alive.

Contact

Website: www.marius-rustad.com

All of Marius Rustad’s pictures are for sale and if anyone wants to buy a print, ask a question or just send a drunken rant, feel free to do so here: m[at]marius-rustad[dot]com.

Photo Gallery

Here is a selection of photos by Marius Rustad. Note the techniques he’s using to create his images. The composition is very strong, but minimal. He also uses slow shutter speeds a lot. This creates a contrast between the still and moving parts of the landscape. It also helps create mood.

Close to Home

Black and white photo by Marius RustadMiniature Trees

Black and white photo by Marius RustadFloater

Black and white photo by Marius RustadDiving Tower Study I

Black and white photo by Marius RustadDiving Tower Study II

Black and white photo by Marius RustadBuoy

Black and white photo by Marius RustadInto the Ocean

Hvaler Gallery

Black and white photo by Marius RustadOld Log

Black and white photo by Marius RustadLighthouse

Black and white photo by Marius RustadTidal Pool

All photos Copyright Marius Rustad. Please contact the photographer for permission to use in any way.

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2 Responses to “An Interview with Black & White Photographer Marius Rustad”

  1. Bishop says:

    What, no comments? Nice interview Andrew and thank you for introducing me to Marius’ work…I really enjoyed all of the images but especially Tidal Pool and Miniature Trees.

    Best regards — Bishop

  2. prashant says:

    good to know about Marius. very great B&W work out there.

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