In the profession of location environmental portrait photography, there are some universal challenges. One of the many challenges with photographing people on location is getting “good lighting” on the subject while at the same time, capturing the true essence of the location.
Joakim Eskildsen was born in Copenhagen in 1971 where he trained with the Royal Court photographer Rigmor Mydtskov. In 1994, he moved to Finland to learn the craft of photographic book-making with Pentti Sammallahti at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, graduating with an MA degree in photography in 1998. His publications include Nordic Signs (1995), Bluetide (1997), ChickenMoon (1999), which was awarded Best Foreign Title of 2000 in the Photo-Eye Books & Prints Annual Awards, and the portfolio al-Madina (2002), which was made in collaboration with Kristoffer Albrecht and Pentti Sammallahti.
I used to have to sneak TV when I was growing up… radiation, the flicker rate, sub-par programming, destruction of attention span… whatever the reason, I wasn’t allowed to watch it, and so I’d smuggle a couple of shows when my parents left the house. Of course I would always get caught… mom would touch her hand to the back of our ancient set (the kind with knobs, not buttons) and if it was warm, I was busted.
But my folks were kind enough to alleviate the temptation in a unique way, at least unique in this day and age: hundreds of 7″ x 10″ bound yellow magazines, the National Geographic! They lined our shelves, practically floor to ceiling, and dated back decades. I had them chronologically organized and knew the precise location of all my favorites: the holographic covers of an eagle and the earth… the giant coal mining pickup trucks… the titanic resting on the ocean floor… the enormous redwoods of California… and yes, even the half-naked tribal woman. I would spread them out on the carpeted floor and float for hours on a sea of yellow chaos. There were so many pictures… so many powerful images of adventure, survival, desperation… just peeling open the glossy pages would instantly transport me to unfamiliar lands among spellbinding people… I was there, in my mind, so very far away.
I have no doubt those pages helped shape me into who I am today… my dreams and passions are a direct result of the individual photographers and writers who showed me the planet earth as they witnessed it. I have put myself on a path to hopefully follow in their footsteps; I didn’t have a choice, because I couldn’t see it any other way. It is on this path that you find me… walking, studying, searching, witnessing… I feel that I am still close to the trailhead, at the base of a huge mountain, having just begun my journey.
After studying film at the College of Santa Fe, I finished my formal education at Brooks Institute of Photography. I began my career by assisting for some of the best shooters in the business… their wisdom offered was an invaluable gain. After heading out on my own in 2008, I discovered a talent for interpreting the lit location portrait; it is the challenge of assembling a bunch of random elements and creating an engaging, story-telling image that drives my portrait passion.
I’ve worked around the world and next door. I shoot for magazines, advertising agencies, music labels, corporations, universities, non-profits, ngo’s, and even mom-and-pop shops. Please holler at me, let’s talk about your project, and allow me to be a catalyst for your project’s vision.
2011 – Asheville, North Carolina.