Artist Spotlight: Photographer Jon Bjarni Hjartarson

I’m a photographer based in Copenhagen studying literature and cultural studies at the University of Copenhagen. I started photographing when I was a kid and have always loved the way it’s possible to explore moods and surroundings through a lens.

As a teenager, I was fascinated by photographing skateboarding. It was a huge part of my life at the time. I began studying photography at 16; my teacher emphasized the importance of studying the work of both classic and contemporary photographers. I didn’t comprehend the importance of this until years later when I realized much this early inspiration influenced my own approach.

Early on, I was fascinated by the classic Danish and Swedish black & white documentarists, as well as more conceptual explorations of depicting space, particularly urban spaces. Street photography has therefore always been a part of my work.

For the past year I have been increasingly active on Instagram, evolving my street photography in particular. The instant response from all over the world has been a great motivator for me to produce a continuous flow of work. [Ed. Note: It’s not only Jon’s images that are powerful, it’s also the humanising stories with which he often captions his images on his Instagram]

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To me, Instagram is a very productive form of procrastination. The positivity of the Instagram community is fantastic and it helps me reflect on my own work. It’s a privilege to be able to gather inspiration from so much great talent.

The Instagram platform has some inherent challenges, though, such as navigating in the massive amount of content. It forces users to produce more and more content in order to be noticed. The result is that incredible work often has a very short lifecycle. If you post regularly on Instagram, it is easy to fixate on the response you get but I think it is important to keep in mind what your personal preferences are and try not to let the amount of “likes” and comments be you primary guide.

Here on Scandinavia Standard, I’ll be showcasing some of my work and thoughts about photography. The first couple of articles will revolve around my street photography. Later on, I’ll be presenting my other work in thematic instalments. I hope you’ll follow along!


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See more of Jon Bjarni Hjartarson’s work. And be sure to check out more street photography on his Instagram