Worldly Spotlight with Michael B. Rasmussen, A “Photographer upside down”
“To me, a good photo isn’t necessarily crystal clear or set up at that perfect time of day when the sun hits the horizon at the perfect angle. To me the good photo tells a story, or makes my viewer wonder and smile.”
Follow Michael B. Rasmussen on Worldly and it’s hard to know what you’ll discover next. He could take you for a journey to yesteryear and into a bustling viking village, or into the solitude of a nature walk in the Royal Hunting Grounds. One thing you can come to expect, however, is a journey into new experiences from Michael’s unique perspective.
With a no rules and no apology attitude to photographing his adventures, Michael gives us an authentic look into his experiences — whatever they may be. His appreciation for the small things (as well as the unexpected) uncovers new opportunities and inspires new possibilities.
A storyteller in the truest form, Michael takes us along for wonderful journeys into his point of view — one we’re grateful explore, and excited to share with you!
We had a chance to speak with Michael about his experiences and photography.
Worldly: Where did your interest in photography originate? And, how does that influence you now in your evolution as a photographer?
Michael: I think my interest for photography started a long time before I even got my first camera. I remember visiting my mom when I was about 13 - 14 years old, she was working as a journalist for a small newspaper at the time; she took me through the entire workflow of creating a newspaper article, including the workflow of a photojournalist. What stands out the most from that visit, is this old photographer and his darkroom with all the images hanging to dry, the red light and all the mystery. I think that was the trigger. But I didn’t get my own camera until I was much older. I was around 18 or 19, when my dad bought me a Pentax film SLR for my trip to Asia.
The most important thing to me and my photography, is to be myself and stay original. I spend many hours online scrolling through photos to get inspiration, but I always try to stay true to myself and be as original as possible. To me, a good photo isn’t necessarily crystal clear or set up at that perfect time of day when the sun hits the horizon at the perfect angle. To me the good photo tells a story, or makes my viewer wonder and smile.
My next step as a photographer? Wow, that’s a really tough one. I kind of take it as it comes, one step at a time. Dreaming big has never been my thing. Lets see what tomorrow brings.
One thing we notice and greatly appreciate is that your photos take people right into your experience with you - they work together to tell a story. Can you tell us a little about that?
As you already know, my interest for photography was brought to life by a photojournalist, so telling a story with photos is what I have always tried to accomplish.
Try to imagine my excitement when I was invited to Worldly and realised that I could tell my stories with very few words. It’s a dream place for people like me who have a story to tell but, absolutely no writing skills.
Worldly curators note: we beg to differ just a bit on the “no writing skills” part Michael ;)
Your experiences have great variety — from sustainable farming to the streets of Barcelona and everything in between. What types of experiences excite you or make for meaningful memories? What inspires you to take your camera along for the day?
My wife taught me to appreciate the little things in life, and I believe that every place has a story or a memory that deserves to be told and remembered. I don’t seek exciting places to visit, I just take it as it comes.
My trip to the farm was because my mom accidentally got involved in making a brochure for them, and happened to tell them that I was a good photographer and I surely wouldn’t mind taking some photos for them. So that was quite by chance.
A rainy day In Barcelona was on a christmas holiday with my wife. I remember after I had dragged her around in the rain all day. She told me, she didn’t know anyone else who could get that excited about a little rain and the reflections on the ground.
I bring my camera on any occasion I can. It seems meaningless to have a passion and the gear to support it, and not use it. You never know if you run into some interesting and unexplored places.
Your trusty companion is named Loki — are you a student of Norse mythology, or a trickster at heart?
Loki’s name was not chosen based on my interest in Norse mythology, or lack thereof. It was by chance, a suggestion from my sister-in-law.
I’m not sure if I’m a student of any kind to be honest. I almost didn’t finish middle school. My mind was always somewhere else than in the books. I do believe I’m trickster at heart, because I don’t like following normal rulesets, and I do hope that comes through in my photography.
You published your first book last year, congratulations! Perhaps you could tell us a little bit about your motivations behind the book.
As usual I didn’t plan on publishing a book. I had been photographing for many years, but I had reached a point where I was starting to question my own skills with a camera. I felt that I had reached my limit, and then I started blaming my my gear, lenses weren’t good enough, my camera wasn’t a full frame….etc.
Then one day out of the blue, I turned my camera to show previews in monochrome and just started shooting — it was a whole new world. I just loved it. Loki and I went out everyday all spring and summer, and at the end of July I had this entire series of black and white photos. I could actually see my own progress in them. It was then that I decided to put together a book to keep as inspiration, if I ever got stuck in that hole again.
You describe yourself as a “photographer looking at the world upside down.” What does that mean to you or how does it impact your perspective?
For me, it means everything now. In the beginning it just came because I had uploaded an avatar and accidently turned it upside down without noticing. Then this girl on Google+ wrote that I had the most “CRISP” looking profile she had ever seen hanging there upside down.
Then it hit me that it describes my vision on the world pretty well, and from then on, I have been trying to see things from a different perspective. To be able to see things from different perspectives, gives me the opportunity to take pictures of things that most people would not even glance at. I guess, it helps me grow and get better as a photographer, when “I look at the world upside down”.