CAPTURING WAVES WITH ADAM KLINGETEG
Adam is a Swedish emerging photographer with a good eye for waves and vibrant colors. Spektrum is fortunate enough to support him with sunglasses and goggles for his travels. So we sat down with him for a moment to learn more about his passion for photography and what you sacrifice when you are dedicated to capturing the best photos possible.
What drives you to take a photo?
- There’s a lot of things and feelings mixed up in all of this, but I feel like it’s an inner urge, deep down inside of me. It’s that feeling combined with my mind going, I have to shoot that photo cause the situation, the people or the light demands to be documented, it all comes together as one thing. That feeling of wanting that photo so much means a lot to me.
Is it the ”have to” that makes you bring your camera?
- That’s a part of it, I’m not sure about the ”have to”, if so it’s more like a calling. I want it so much that I can’t help myself. It’s kind of a way to challenge myself I would say. Like how good can I shoot this portrait
That’s kind of steadfast way of thinking, do you sacrifice a lot to shoot your photos?
- Yes, I do, everything from relations to expensive gear.
Give us an example?
- Last summer I was down in Biarritz, France to shoot surfing for a couple of days. I prefer to be in the water during a photo session and shoot from the waves but this time the whole scenery and the surrounding made me walk back up and shoot from the beach. I mounted my telephoto lens instead of my water house and stashed it all up in my little hideout when I shot a few photos. When I had the photos I wanted I walked back to my hideout and all the photo gear was gone. My guess is that someone who couldn’t see the difference from mine to his took it all including my newly bought water house. So I sacrificed all my gear to get that photo from the beach I wanted so bad, I guess…
Ouch, that’s heavy! Are you an active photographer who directs the scene or do you document the situation?
- It depends on what I’m shooting. When I’m in the waves I’m trying to be in the right spot at the right time and have a conversation with the surfer so I can get the posture right in the composition. When you’re working with a situation where you can plan more, like a snowy mountain and we’re shooting deep powder turns, there we can discuss where the turn will be and how it will be performed. Of course, every person you work with interprets the instructions in their way so nothing is carved out in stone.
You’ve shot skateboarding, mountain biking, skiing, surfing, and snowboarding. Which one of them is the hardest one to shoot?
It has to be surfing, no doubt! To get out in the waves and then back can be easy if you’re lucky and calculate the movement of the water and the current the right way. But if you’re timing it wrong you’re in for a long swim. It’s a mind game and a strength exercise, but I’m usually so committed to capturing my moment that I can’t think of anything else.
Did you compete in swimming when you were a kid or do train nowadays?
- Well, I might have few prices from swim school or something like that, bit nothing else. I do some endurance training, apart from that you need a forehead as thick as an old oak and the experience of knowing your own limitations.
When you are in the wave, do you follow your ”instinct” when you shoot or can you compose your image in a proper way?
- There’s always a thought of what I kind of photo I want to shoot when I swim out to the waves. I choose my focal length before I put my water house on, when I’m still at the beach. Then you discuss it with the surfer when you swim out so you can get the right composition for all of it.
You just released a photo book with your surf images from the last three years, can you tell us a bit about it?
- Yes, it’s a dream come true and it’s called ”Vågorna” (the Waves in Swedish). I released it together with a company called ”Surfakademin”. It all came together on a little bit of luck, to begin with. I met them on my first trip down to Biarritz, I was actually there for another photo mission but Swedes tend to find each other in the world. Shortly thereafter I went on my first photo trip with them and I was hooked on surf photography. After a couple of trips, we both felt that we should do something more with all the photos we had. That, in the end, became the book.
How was the feedback?
- Overwhelming, I never thought that a book with just my photos would reach out and touch so many people! We shipped orders to all over the world and all the love and positive feedback is so nice, I can live with that energy for a long time. That makes me push my creativity even more, and to have it presented in the national morning show on TV, nominated for awards, that’s more than I could ever dream of.
Which are your favorite images from the book?
- The first image with Anton Hoas Ströman in California, it’s so much more to me than just the image. It was with him I actually shot my first surf photos and he’s an amazing person who helped me quite a lot to make this happen! He’s also on of the most graceful surfers I know, that doesn’t hurt either.
- The other image is from a session when it all comes together. We had been talking about the ”style” of the photo and I had a thought on how I should shoot it. But to be in the right spot and have just the right amount of water on the lens is harder than you think. It all worked out here and Jens posture makes him more or less walk on water.
- The third image is a typical hip shot. I kinda had a feeling of what I wanted but Peter came so much closer than I had calculated and his fin is just a few centimeters from me. In that moment I pressed the trigger on the camera and in the end, we had a photo where you can feel the ”moment”. I felt it straight away that I had it. (See top of post)
So what’s up next for you Adam?
We’re heading out to the coast of Galicia in an old Land Rover in search of new waves and unknown brakes!
Where can we buy your book and what’s your favorite model from Spektrum?
To see more of Adam’s photography visit: