Interview & Esa Kapila

GMARO Magazine MAY 2019 ISSUE #03 & #15 Cover photographed by Esa Kapila.

Photographer:Esa Kapila

Cover Model:Mattias Nordlund

Styling:Esa Kapila

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Where are you from Originally?

I was born and raised in a creative family in a city called Espoo next to Helsinki in Finland. I initially studied and got a degree in interior architecture before continuing my studies in the field of photography. My design studies and work took me to Japan and Indonesia where I fell more and more in love with cultures and photography. After returning to Finland in 2015 I decided to switch to photography full time and been shooting ever since.

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How does your background affect your work?

I love working with people and capturing the beauty of human beings - that led me to fashion and portrait photography. My background as an interior architect has given me a point of view when it comes to light, textures and overall visual concepts. I have always been very interested in different cultures and people from various backgrounds. These elements are very present in my body or work.

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What is your creative Mantra? Like what do you live by to stay on the cusp as a creative image maker?

My mantra or question to myself is very simple: do I find the final image aesthetically compelling? When selecting the final frames, I'm constantly looking for the perfect balance of light, shape, and texture that matches the mood and expression I’m building. In my images, I'm always inspired to play around and try new things when it comes to styling and creating the concepts.

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How important are early references to fashion, music and other culture to your creative process?

I'm very strongly influenced by cultures and their different visual appearances. I am also easily inspired by the models I'm shooting. Working a lot with non-professional models and street casting unique looking people to jump starts my thought process. How do I portray this person or what kind of character could I create based on this person? The same thing can happen with clothing, finding an interesting piece can grow into a whole concept for a photoshoot.

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Who’s work inspires you to push the envelope creatively and why?

I love the painterly images by Zhang Jingna or Sun Jun. They have really developed a style of their own and I love how they add cultural elements into their work. I am also highly inspired by Wong Kar Wai’s movies and his aesthetics. I'm not trying to push my work in that direction, but every time I see what they have done, I feel like picking up my camera and simply creating.

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What is the single most important outcome of an image when creating a campaign or editorial story for a client?

When creating an image for a client, the most important thing is to deliver the best results you can for that specific project. You are hired for your point of viewpoint, but listening to the needs and wishes of the client is vital. No matter how much more you like your own idea if it's not what the client wishes, it’s a missed shot. That being said, there are situations where you might have to sell or show your own ideas to a client presenting them with something they couldn't even have imagined. These moments are the most rewarding ones.

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In your free time, what kind of pictures do you like to shoot and which ones do you avoid?

I actually do still lifes! I think it is a great way to try out new ways of using light and really get into the details. When shooting people, its constant movement and really capturing the moments, but when it comes to still lifes, everything slows down. You can really micro study the surfaces and proportions. This is like having my own mini-laboratory where I can study wilted flowers, teapots, gemstones or anything I think might be worth investigating.

Even though I am the son of a documentary filmmaker, I’m very bad at living situations and documentation. Having the design background, I'm more comfortable creating situations and capturing them rather than walking into the action and trying to see it through my camera. It's something I definitely should work on.

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What are some of your favorite magazines to shoot for and why?

I just finished a photo series for London based JÓN magazine. I love their quirky themes and a black and white approach to men's fashion. The magazine is a great platform for collaborating with models I've been interested to work with and in general, for me, it is so rewarding to be allowed to freely compose the editorials within the given themes.

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What are some of your favorite magazines to shoot for and why?

I just finished a photo series for London based JÓN magazine. I love their quirky themes and a black and white approach to men's fashion. The magazine is a great platform for collaborating with models I've been interested to work with and in general, for me, it is so rewarding to be allowed to freely compose the editorials within the given themes.

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