Swedish Fashion Photographer
"Bättre lyss till den sträng som brast än aldrig spänna en båge" - Swedish Proverb
Loosely translated"You'd Better try it, or you will regret it all your life"
Hello there, my name is Per Zennstrom and I'm a swedish fashion photographer based primarily in Berlin & Stockholm. On this page I'll try to decipher a few aspects about swedish fashion and swedish photography.
I have lived and worked in the creative hubs New York, Paris, Stockholm and currently Berlin and while I have always managed to blend in and assimilate I do also carry with me a big chunk of "Swedishness" and here I'll try to tell you more about this.
While I'm still identifying as being Swedish there are also a few "Swedish" things that I realise I'm struggling with.
There is a certain homogeneity in ideas, expressions and style that, at least for me as a Swedish person, becomes almost suffocating, and I realise that I thrive in environments which offer more contrasts and diversity.
Well, more on this a bit further down, enjoy!
About Being Swedish
There are many things to say about that "typical" Swedish look in photography & fashion - it's a cool, somewhat detached and a bit minimalistic look. You hardly ever find any embellishments and in this campaign for Velour, a swedish youth- and "anti-fashion" brand, this rawness becomes very clear. In our "Broken Glass" campaign we put the focus on and celebrated slackers everywhere, doing what kids do best - nothing…
A typical swedish lake - warm beer and music on crappy radios. It’s 10 in the evening but it feels like in the afternoon (You’ve heard about the midnight sun, right?)
This project was very important to me since during these two days I completely learned to throw away all my preconceived ideas about how and what to shoot. I simply pointed the camera and snapped away without thinking too much and this was new to me since earlier I often tried to control things too much. This time around I just let people , feelings and situation in and just "rolled with it".
sweden - darkly romantic
Even if my work has taken me all over the world, new York, Paris and currently Berlin, I maintain a very strong emotional connection to Sweden. There are certain "swedish" things that I'll never ever will get out of my head. The impossibly magical summer nights when the sun dips below the horizon for a few short moments, the clear still waters in forgotten and dark wooden lakes...
No one has better captured this slightly melancholic, mysterious and utterly swedish feeling than John Bauer - especially in this painting depicting the beautiful Princess Tuvstarr gently sleeping while the Moose prince Skutt keeps a watchful eye over her.
Since I always try to look forwards and attempt to stay modern and relevant, (somehow I believe I have gotten better at "killing my darlings") I also appreciate the complete opposite of all this. There is no wonder that the success of new Swedish fashion brand like Altewai Saome is due thanks to their diametrically opposite approach.
What is it about that typical Swedish look?
This project was an editorial shooting for Conde Nast's Air France Madame. Me and my team traveled to, for them, exotic Stockholm and was greeted by picture perfect blue sky and powdery white snow. Our inspiration for the looks was a mix of iconic swedish film director Ingmar Bergman's heroines like Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson and the modernist works of world renowned architect Gunnar Asplund.
Berlin + Stockholm
My personal project Berlin+Stockholm has very little to do with the physicality - as in infrastructure - of these two cities and much more with the feeling and look of the people and objects there, as seen by me - a fashion photographer. The fact that I am mainly occupied in the luxury and fashion segments is very important for this project because I didn't want to go too deep but rather stay on the surface and explore the looks of the two cities
"What is the connection between these two cities? I see a minimalistic and raw - but still poetic - look - both on the people as well as in the streets - of both these places. This is an attempt to capture this very special feeling..."
This project started out as a fashion photography workshop with students from Fotoskolan STHLM and quickly took on a life of it's own.
Swedish Innovation & Design
There are a few swedish brands that have achieved a remarkable level of innovative thinking and action taking. Just the other day Fashion giant H&M announced a major shift in their over all strategy and announced that by 20130 they will be 100% sustainable.
Another major global player, ACNE Studios seem to turn anything they touch into gold and on a much smaller scale independant brands like perfumer Stora Skuggan (a swedish perfumer - really?) dive into industries like scent emboldened by their digital and innovative thinking.
Fashion In Sweden
The list of influential swedish fashion labels is growing larger as I write this and this is astonishing taken into account the small size of the country - only 9 million people as of 2017.
Some time ago people started talking about something called the Swedish 'fashion wonder'. There are a lot of different opinions about what this really refer to. Do they mean Acne's meteoric rise to prominence on the fashion scene?, or is it the mind boggling commercial success of H&M?
What is Swedish fashion?
'Less is more' is a pretty straightforward and accurate description on the looks usually produced by swedish labels. There's a fondness for discreet colours and a pared-down, refined appearance.
Here a comprehensive list of the brands that set the tone for global fashion.
My Clients, Awards & Press
ABSOLUT VODKA, ALTEWAI.SAOME, BENTLEY, Biba Paris, Bon Magazine, DIOR, Elle (French/German/Swedish), GALLERIE LAFAYETTE PARIS, GUY LAROCHE, HAHNEMÜHLE, H&M, LEICA, Marie Claire, MICHAEL SONTAG, Madame, MARC AUREL, MARC O’POLO, NINA RICCI, PORSCHE DESIGN, Qvest, Rolling Stone, SCHWARZKOPF, S:T EMILE, TOM TAILOR, TONI & GUY, Tush,
Shows & Exhibitions
Per Zennstrom Photography, Bornholmerstrasse 88, 10439 Berlin