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Photographer Spotlight: Swedish Sweetheart Matilda Kahl

Posted on 16th February 2013 | Photographers

Creativity and the arts flow naturally through the hearts and minds of this photographer and her family. Today she works as an events and behind-the-scenes photographer, capturing those intimate moments and final details before a show gets on the road!

FashionTV discuss life, inspirations, and dreams with Swedish sweetheart Matilda Kahl.

Country of origin: Sweden
Photographic style: Instinctive and impulsive

How did you break into the arts?

By the age of 13, my family and I had moved no less than 11 times. One of the places we lived was a big warehouse where I rode my bike to the bathroom and during the weekends, breakfast was served by lowering a basket out of the window to a donut factory downstairs. My parents’ artistic and open minds led me down a creative path that soon made me discover film and photography. I left Sweden for San Francisco to study advertising, but soon moved to New York to give my true passion a chance. And here I am.

How would you describe your photographic style?

I often cover events and behind-the-scenes, so I rarely ask people to pose or act. For me it’s more about making sure I’m in the right place at the right time. When I rely on my instincts and impulses, I tend to produce the best work. Once I was filming people waiting in line for the bathroom when a 60-year-old lady started rapping a 50 Cent song -- one of my greatest moments.

Photo: Matilda KahlPhoto: Matilda Kahl

Who inspires you & how do you find inspiration for your photo shoots?

Music is definitely my number one source of inspiration for all my work. Especially artists with lifestyles and experiences very different from mine, like Paul Kalkbrenner or Azealia Banks. I'm always crushing on things I'm unfamiliar with or things that I can’t do. Sometimes I'm almost provoked by other people’s skill and talent in a positive and inspiring kind of way. It's what helps me come up with ideas or new ways of seeing and portraying things that at first glance seems ordinary.

Name the celebrity or model that you would most like to work with?

Sixto Rodriguez. He has the most spectacular life story. It would be my dream to work with him, hopefully making a music video. His talent is raw and unique and on top of that he seems to be a humble and genuinely good human being: The kind of guy I’d like to take a walk with.

Photo: Matilda KahlPhoto: Matilda Kahl

What is your opinion about the model/photographer relationship on set?

My experience is that the outcome always turns out better if you know the person in front of the camera. Even just a little. Chat, grab a coffee together or talk about something embarrassing you did yesterday. Opening up makes us both comfortable and brings a relaxed vibe to the shoot as well as the end result.

Tell us about a project you have worked on that was very special to you

When I was still very new in the business I did a shoot in New York for Bjorn Borg featuring him and John McEnroe. I was fully responsible for everything, still photography as well as moving images, and nervous like a 6-year-old on their first day at school. Thanks to them both being so generous and professional, everything went great. And as soon as we wrapped up, they played each other at John’s tennis academy on Long Island.

Photo: Matilda KahlPhoto: Matilda Kahl

What will be your next project?

My next stop is Los Angeles where we’ll be shooting on location for the Swedish fashion brand Monki. We’ve done a lot of work together in the past and they’re such talented and lovely people; always making sure everyone has a great time on set. Their overarching theme for this campaign is ‘Time,’ which I’m looking forward to bend in new creative ways.


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