In a recent interview with the artist, readers are presented with the opportunity to step into the mind of one of the most innovative artists of this era. Originally from Sweden, Fredrik came to America to study in the late 1980s and emerged as a photographer in 1992. Nearly twenty years later, Mr. Brodén has solidified his reputation as a brilliant and unparalleled conceptual photographer. Intending to gain insight as to what it takes to succeed in honing one's craft of idea-making, we asked Fredrik the following questions:
RR&Co: First of all, people are so amazed at the amount of quality ideas and concepts you create. To get things started, how do you do it? Walk us through "a day in the life" of Fredrik Broden, professionally speaking.
FB: I collect a lot of concepts in my mind and sketchbook that I want to shoot. From recreating scenarios in real life, to things that organically pop up in mymind. Often times I get an assignment that I can match with a pre-existing idea, or perhaps it has to be tweaked a little. Other times I can struggle with a concept for days, and then have to let it go for a while. Usually it comes to me after spending some time not thinking about it.
RR: When is your favorite time to sketch?
RR: What are you usually drinking when you sketch?
RR: Once a job is confirmed, how do you begin the process?
FB: My approach usually starts with identifying what kind of overall [aesthetic] I want the photo to have. It might be related to the job, or it could just be what I am in the mood to try next. From there, I start sketching up some loose ideas that I then send off to the client [to evaluate], and then we hopefully move forward with that idea.
RR: Where is your favorite place to be when you sketch?
FB: At home.
RR: Do you need the house to be quiet or do you like background noise?
FB: Music is on.
RR: What kind of environment is necessary for you to produce your best work? How do you keep yourself motivated and focused?
FB: I think my biggest thing is to do nothing as much as possible. I try to get away as much and for as long as possible. I always come back from trips and vacations with new ideas and motivation. As far as the day to day, it's always different. Sometimes its a quiet small production, and sometimes it's a packed studio.
RR: Does it matter to you if you're alone or with company?
RR: Do you have a muse?
FB: Yes, Lauren.
RR: Do you have any heroes?
FB: There are a lot of people whose work I admire. Helmut Newton, Amish Kapoor, Damien Hirst, Tom Frieman, Irving Penn, Olafur Eliasson, Henri Cartier Bresson, Jean Luc Goddard...Okay maybe that's enough.
RR: What inspires you?
FB: People, places, movies. Specifically, as far as travel goes, my favorite destinations include Northern Italy, Sweden and Southern France. Travel and seeing new things is definitely what inspires me the most. Some situations or scenarios [that I encounter] might end up in my work. I think travel opens your eyes and pushes you forward.
For your viewing pleasure, a sampler of Fredrik's ability to visualize concepts:
Shot for Conde Nast Traveler, this image graphically represents the percentage of readers who believe travel companies should be held responsible for protecting the environment.
Shot for personal use.
Shot for a promo piece announcing Fredrik's new website redesign. The outlined tree shape is an actual piece of foam core that he took to a parking lot, where he then took this photo.
Shot for the cover of American Lawyer for a story about lone wolf lawyers who have broken away from large firms to start their own.
To view more of Fredrik's work, take a look at the Renee Rhyner & Co. Image Library.