Photographer Lukas Renlund talks to ArtRebels about upcoming projects with Urban Outfitters, his dream dinner party, views on x-ray vision, top photography tips and natural killer reflexes.
You’ve got a lot of exciting things coming up – tell us about it.
I’ve got some stuff cooking that I’m really excited about. For starters, I’ve teamed up with Urban Outfitters Copenhagen to deliver a one of a kind in-store exhibition in conjunction with CPH Fashion Week SS13 (8-12 August). I’m exhibiting 12 photographs printed onto large format aluminum plates. They´re pure eye-candy! The show will be on for at least 4-6 weeks and will transform as time passes. The official opening is going to be on the 8th of August at 6pm. It will be open for everyone. Come down and enjoy a cold beer whilst you’re at it.
The second bit of news I’d like to share with you is about an outdoor art-installation that I will be organizing soon in the heart of Copenhagen. Quite literally, I will be inviting passers-by to STEAL MY PHOTOGRAPHS – in exchange for a picture taken of where they decided to hang the photograph they stole. My photographs will all be hanged, framed and made in limited editions. In total there will be about 40 or so of them. Anyone with the balls to steal a state of the art photograph may do so – provided that they honor our little agreement.
More detailed info about where and when this event is taking place will be announced on my Facebook page. All I can say is, get there early for first bids!
You do both art and advertising photography – What do you prefer doing?
As you said I’ve got two interests. I’m an artist & photographer first and an ad-man & entrepreneur, second. I work part-time at a global advertising agency in downtown Copenhagen.
My goal is to become a full-time artist doing what I love: fashion-inspired photography with a surrealistic twist. There are lots of interesting opportunities out there if you have the right entrepreneurial instincts. I am exploring a few of these opportunities more closely as we speak. There is something big brewing, I can feel it – and it for sure ain’t my coffee maker. Haha!
How many cameras do you own? Favourite one?
Four, five or so. But only one of them is a digital SLR. It’s a Canon 5D Mark II. It’s my camera of choice for most projects. I also have a few lenses that I juggle back and forth. But one’s tools [camera equipment] aren’t all that important. What is important – is ones imagination, self-confidence and ones ability to steal ideas and reinvent them in an original manner or context. That’s the truth. That’s what ‘inspiration’ really looks like.
How did you get into photography? How old were you?
I got into photography relatively late in life. Not until I had turned 18 as a matter of fact. Back then I was serving a 9-month mandatory military service in Dragsvik, a Finnish army base. Fortunately I had been assigned a desk-job and so I didn’t have to do much combat training or camping out in the forests. My schedule was flexible and allowed for some free time alongside my duties. I used to take walks around the base taking photographs of interesting stuff going on around me with a camera I had borrowed. It was fun and it kept me busy – making the 270 days pass more quickly.
When I finally got out of the army I decided to pursue a career in photography and was later accepted onto a photography diploma course. It went from there. I graduated from the London College of Fashion in 2008 and moved to Copenhagen shortly thereafter.
What’s your typical day like, and is there anything you would change to make it better?
I start my mornings with a coffee and sandwich at the advertising agency, where I spend a fair time working on art direction and photography -related projects. The work sometimes gets repetitive but my colleagues are awesome and the pay is alright.
I like to think I am a naturally curious person. You can learn a lot about any professional industry merely by being observant and asking questions. I promised myself to explore the advertising industry for as long as it challenged me and stimulated me creatively. I’ve learned a lot in the past two years but I’ve also come to a decision-making point where I want to start building something for myself.
In your wildest dreams, where are you going to be in 5 years?
Well, alive and healthy for starters and successful in my business as an artist, photographer and entrepreneur. I’ll have the freedom to handpick my projects and work with talented people by my side: via professional representation. I’ll have a nice big studio and a house by then, preferably an Earthship (a sustainable green building) in some place warm. If I can have all that and someone special to share it with, I’d be the happiest man alive.
Your studio is burning down – what do you save first?
My back-up hard-drives.
You’re holding a tea party and can invite 5 people – who’s coming (dead or alive)?
The Gallagher brothers, that’s for sure. And to make things interesting I’d invite John Lennon along too. I know Liam especially would appreciate his company. I can imagine it’s tricky business when you’ve got rock stars over for tea and biscuits. These guys get restless and will need some entertainment to keep them in their seats. So I’d have to give Marilyn Monroe and Courtney Love a seat at the table also. Hell! That’d be something to tell the grandkids about.
If you could have a secret super hero power, what would it be?
X-ray vision. For obvious reasons.
Do you have any secret talents up your sleeve?
Yes – killer reflexes. One time I collided with a car when riding my bicycle. I was steering the bike with one hand and eating an ice cream with the other. The force of the collision sent me airborne. I somersaulted onto the hood of the car landing almost perfectly in a squat-like position. Still holding the ice cream in my hand. Not a scratch on me. The car wasn’t as lucky.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be up to? Any regrets?
As a kid I wanted to be a pizza-baker, then a musician and then an economist or investor. Eventually, I decided neither of the above really felt like ‘me’. I cannot picture myself doing anything but what I am doing right now. Whatever decision you make in life, that is the only one you can make. Otherwise you would make a different one. Everything we do we choose. I have no regrets.
See more from Lukas on his official website here.