The Finnish fashion photographer Karoliina Bärlund, who received her BA from University for the Creative Arts (UCA) and her MA from London College of Fashion, is one to watch. She is based in London; however she’s learnt how to divide her busy schedule between London and her mother country as well. She has an impressive client list that includes Harvey Nichols, Vogue.it, 1883 Magazine, L’Officiel Italia and many more. Her youthful and natural aesthetics that clearly reflect upon the Nordic background make her work incredibly engaging. She is also the Creative Director of the biannual ALVAR magazine, which has just launched its second issue.
Volt Café: What made you want to become a fashion photographer? Did you always think that you could do it as a career path?
Karoliina Bärlund: I knew at the age of 12 that I wanted to become a photographer. For a long time I thought I wanted to be an art photographer, fashion came a lot later.
VC: Which photographer’s work did you admire while studying photography?
KB: I was always drawn to Paolo Roversi’s work, because he captures the static purity and the sense of nostalgia and absence.
VC: At what point did you start to develop your personal photography aesthetics?
KB: I think that it took me several years to develop a particularly defined style, although this process never ends.
VC: You seem to have a strong connection with Finland where you’re from. The ‘Personal’ photography section that features on your website mirrors that ideally…
KB: Yes, Finland and the Nordic aesthetics are something that comes through my work and I hope that it stays that way. A lot of my personal work exposes the idea of where one is and should be quite strongly.
VC: So do you find living in London more challenging, since you do not have such an easy access to the natural environment compared to Finland? After all, it seems to be an important source of inspiration for you.
KB: I don’t find it too challenging as I also shoot a lot in both studio and urban locations. I also like discovering the nature that surrounds London.
VC: Was there a deciding moment that pushed you to start your own magazine? Can you describe what it was like to strike out on your own in such a competitive world?
KB: I love magazines, and always wanted to have one. It’s just felt right at the time and I had many friends who wanted to be involved in this project.
VC: What message do you want to convey with ALVAR and who are its readers?
KB: Style, culture and thought with a Nordic feel, so anyone who is interested in those…
VC: Where do you find the motivation that keeps you going?
KB: In anything really… But I guess mainly from other people, culture or anything creative that captures my special attention.
VC: The fashion industry is very demanding… What do you do with your free time? Do you have any?
KB: If I’m in London, I love to spend time with my boyfriend and friends and enjoy what London has to offer. But what I most love to do is travel, and go either surfing, snowboarding or skiing.
VC: What has been your favourite shoot so far?
KB: I really like my last shoot that features in the Issue Two of ALVAR Magazine. The most amazing shoot experience though was two years ago when I shot a personal exhibition project in Iceland over five days.
Words by Kama Krystel
TagsKama Krystel, Karoliina Barlund,