I’m super excited to share this month’s featured photographer interview with the talented Swedish photographer Tobias Hägg, better known as Airpixels. Tobias’ work has inspired me for years and I’m confident you’re going to enjoy this one too.
Can you start by telling the readers who you are and how you got started with photography?
My name is Tobias Hägg and I’m a photographer & videographer from Sweden, maybe more commonly known as Airpixels on Social media.
I’ve been doing photography professionally for around 6 years now but been playing around with the medium as a hobby for almost 20.
My journey within photography started a long time ago but it wasn’t really photography that I found interesting back in the days. In fact, I think photography is the last medium that I started practicing.
I was way more into film, Visual Effects & Graphic Design when I was younger and sort of picked up photography along the way when I shooting timelapse was something I really wanted to become better at.
What’s the story behind your alias Airpixels?
When I think back on it it’s quite funny actually. After dreaming of getting into the skies for many years I got myself a drone as soon as they hit the market. The reason I got one was to shoot videos straight down.
At the time I had no clue what social media or Instagram was about so I just started an account to keep my videos collected in one place. I knew I was going to use the account mainly for aerials when I started it, so my idea was to find a fitting name that I could hide behind.
That’s how Airpixels was born.
You’re a master of capturing mood and atmosphere. Take us through some of the processes of capturing these images.
Haha, thank you for that but Im not sure I would call myself a master of anything!
But as you say, the mood and atmosphere I’m trying to capture in my images are essential for me together with many other factors. It’s a way for me to try to express what I’m capturing, a way for the viewer to hopefully feel and see what I see when taking these pictures.
Giving the places I shoot some sort of justice in relation to what I see and capturing those moments is the hard part.
Knowing what I want is a big key to start with. Next is planning and composing the image as close to “perfection” as I possibly can. From the aerial perspective, it’s crucial for me to be at the perfect altitude in relation to the scene I’m shooting. I think this is what differs aerial photographers from each other; we all see the altitude differently.
You’re perhaps most known for your incredible drone/aerial photography. What is it about this genre that you’re most drawn to?
The aerial perspective has for some unexplained reason always fascinated me more than any other. I remember watching big production movies back in the days and it was always the helicopter or aerial scenes that put my mind to question and I really enjoyed that.
Over the years I’ve heard many things about aerial photography like “It doesn’t have any soul” or that “it’s easy”.
People saying this has, in my opinion, no clue what the perspective is all about. For me the world can be explained through aerial photography, we can understand how people live and move, if they are rich or poor.
Aerial photography can show many things at once.
What’s your advice for someone wanting to capture beautiful images using a drone?
The same advice as I would give to anyone trying to take better photos in general:
- Be yourself and explore the things you want to see.
- Do it often.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Stay curious.
How has having a strong online presence helped shape your career as a photographer?
My online presence and Social Media in general is the only reason why I’m able to do this as a professional today. People wouldn’t have known I was even interested in doing any of these things before since I always kept everything to myself and only did it because I truly enjoyed it.
So, I would lie if I didn’t say that.
The colors in your images are always consistent and ‘clean’. Is this color scheme something you look for when out shooting or is it also something that takes place in post-processing?
I’d say my color schemes always differ from each other depending on how it actually looks like when I’m out shooting and what it is I’m chasing.
But yes, I have an image in my head for most scenarios I encounter while I’m out. I enjoy a clean image even though I’m very passionate about dramatic scenes.
You’re a monthly donator for reforestation & towards critical ocean projects and solutions around the globe. How important is it for landscape photographers to contribute to environmental causes?
I think it’s important for everyone to contribute no matter who you are or what stage in life you’re at. We have to be aware that this is happening right now and contribute in the ways we can.
For myself, as a father, I’m thinking a lot about the future for my two sons and I want them to be able to experience nature and wilderness the same way I’ve had the privilege to be able to.
Do you have any exciting projects or plans in the near future?
The timing of this question could have been better as the Coronavirus is upon us and as we all know, it hit our industry among many others very hard.
Most of the jobs and plans I had got canceled or put on hold but I’m looking forward to the future and to get past this sooner than later.
My plan for now is to wait this out and hopefully be ready to hit new grounds as soon as it feels safe again. I want to continue my work in the Swedish Lapland as it feels like I’ve just begun to scratch the surface and I truly enjoy it.
I also have a trip to Siberia on my mind that I want to fulfill. Hopefully, I can show you in a couple of months.
Who and/or what inspire you?
I’d say I can get inspired by pretty much anything. I can’t call out any specific single person that inspires me in the work I do but there’s plenty.
I also use other genres of photography and film to find inspiration and exhibitions have always been a great way for me to be motivated by others.
What are your top 3 tips to someone who’s just getting started with landscape photography?
- First of all, you have to enjoy it; find out what you enjoy and keep practicing.
- The more time you spend outside chasing for something, the bigger the chance is you’ll come home with something you really enjoy.
- Do the mistakes and learn from them
Thank you again, Tobias, for taking the time to answer these questions. Make sure to view more of his work over on his website or Instagram.
Looking for more inspiration? Make sure to have a look at previous ‘Photographer of the Month’ interviews here.