He is and has always been, an artist soul. When he dared to listen to what others thought of him, he took the step to becoming a professional photographer. Anders E. Skånberg is the Stockholm photographer that touches you.
He has liked pictures, audio, film, and music. He has played guitar and performed for 30 years.
“I played for, and from, my own heart, and before I became a photographer, I worked for 25 years in the printing industry, with repro.”
The entertainer Anders, who played and sang for others, never really found his own voice. But when someone commented his photos and said, ’Oh my God, what great pictures,’ he began to listen, and dared to take in the praise.
“I discovered that my tone of voice was better channelized through images than through music.”
This discovery led him to take ‘baby steps’ toward becoming a photographer. He began to search for other angles, and that has paid off. Today, his photographs of Stockholm are spread worldwide.
When I came home after traveling abroad, I saw the beauty of Stockholm every time. And that’s the Stockholm I want to capture with the camera and show you.
For almost four years he has been a full-time freelance photographer, which means he was 45 years old before he took the plunge and made photography his career.
“I sell some of my photos through photo agencies, to virtually the entire world. I want to reach out and end up in serious places, even if the prices are low.”
Nowadays Stockholm pictures by Anders E. Skånberg are admired in California, Russia and Greece, and many more places.
“Many photographers have a day job in addition to photography, but I don’t have to. I’ve gone all the way through my love for Stockholm and I’ve been a full-time freelance photographer for four years. I produce calendars, photo books and prints with pictures of Stockholm.”
Today everyone can see his best photos. He publishes them on his website stockholmsfotografier.se.
“That’s where I put all of my best photos. There are many photos that people in general think are very good, but I reject myself, no matter how nice they are. The goal is to only present the best of the best on the website.”
A fun job was for the company Dream of Sweden in Jönköping that makes exclusive cookie jars in sheet metal – with Anders’ pictures printed on the sheet. They started to sell the jars before last Christmas, including Stockholm’s famous department store NK and the Vasa Museum.
“But the most fun jar will be put on the market soon. It’s a heart-shaped candy jar that Dream of Sweden has developed in collaboration with the famous Swedish artist Lasse Berghagen. It will be called ‘Stockholm in my heart’ (‘Stockholm i mitt hjärta’, a song by Berghagen) with the subtitle ‘A mix of sweet and salt’. To have a picture that represents that message feels better than when I was published in National Geographic.”
The best thing is to see my image being used. It’s much better than making a lot of money. I work from my own heart.
– Anders E. Skånberg –
For a period of time he also launched photos from other parts of Sweden, but since he began to focus on Stockholm the commercial interest has reached much further. To charge money for photos is a difficult chapter. In the beginning, he sold his pictures for a very low price.
“I sold my photos as prints too cheap during the first year. I did it to get them to spread, and I still believe in high reach rather than high prices.”
In the future, his pictures will be seen on trays and t-shirts, primarily because he thinks it’s fun.
“The best thing is to see my image being used. It’s much better than making a lot of money. I work from my own heart.”
Now his late career has begun to really take off, and the website works a bit like a ‘broker’ that takes his pictures out into the world.
Anders has been living on Lidingö (an island east of Stockholm) since birth, and he has never wanted to live anywhere else.
“I live closer to Stockholm City than most Stockholmers, and on the way home I can slide into a small town idyll, just a bridge away.”
He has had pictures published in National Geographic’s Spanish magazine, Viajes – and in New Zealand. It’s like he says, ‘it’s impossible to reach farther.’
Anders’ website stockholmsfotografier.se has a partnership with Sjöö & Sandström (an exclusive watch company). About 15 percent of their Instagram feed is now made up of his pictures.
“They want to strengthen their connection to Stockholm with exclusive pictures from the city.”
I ask Anders to tell me about an extraordinary image, one that he likes, and that people have appreciated.
“One of the most interesting photos was from Gärdet in Stockholm. When I came upon a hill I saw two elephants standing beneath me. At first, I didn’t notice that Cirkus Scott was there, so it really was an unexpected sight.”
He went down and took pictures of an African and an Indian elephant.
“I got an amazing picture of the African female, and many people think it was more like a portrait than an animal photo.”
At the time he didn’t know, but it was those elephants that were being tormented by their German trainer and became world news in 2013. As a result, the circus stopped using elephants.
“If you know what you are looking at, it’s easy to see the sorrow and pain in their eyes. Otherwise, it’s just a beautiful photo of an old female elephant. The picture touches me deeply. It has also been sold to several buyers in Africa, says Anders.”
Sometimes he has taken a really good photo and thought ‘Oh what a cool picture’, but then realized that not as many people reacted. Other times he publishes photos that he previously turned down, and suddenly people ‘see’ the image and what it says. This has made it difficult to know exactly what the audience wants. He says that he understands that the viewer sees his pictures in a different way than he does.
He has always been interested in history, even in school. Stockholm has a lot of history, and the city is one of the most beautiful cities he has visited.
“Before I became a photographer, I was too well-settled in the city and viewed it almost like I had blinders. But when I came home after traveling abroad, I saw the beauty of Stockholm every time. And that’s the Stockholm I want to capture with the camera and show you.”