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Alumni Spotlight Erika Lidén

Photographer at Fotograf Erika Lidén

#AlumniSpotlight The Creative Circus graduates the most sought after creatives in the industry. Take a moment to read about the lives, careers & personal stories of some of our fantastic alumni.

Erika Lidén – Photographer at Fotograf Erika Lidén
Creative Circus Alumna – Photography (2001)

erika liden photographer school

Advice to the Graduating Class:

Work as hard as you can on your portfolio. Use all opportunities to show your book to professionals visiting the school and try to set up appointments with people at agencies. Be a good listener and don’t take critique personal, instead use it to perfect your portfolio. As long as you are a student its OK to have a book ”in progress” but when you’re graduated you’re a professional and compete on equal terms with other professionals.
And after graduating make sure you keep on developing yourself and your book. Be creative and dare to experiment. Don’t get stuck doing the same thing all over or at a job that is boring, always continue to move forward.

Advice to the Incoming Class:

Make sure to use the years at the Circus visely. Build your book and relationships. They are equally important to land a job or an assignment. Team up with people, get involved in as many projects you can.

What do you wish you knew while in school?:

That you learn the most from your mistakes (but that doesn’t mean you should show them in your book, unless they’re good of course). I wish I had allowed myself some more mistakes. After school you’re not allowed to make them.
I also wish I hadn´t stressed so much about classes and the assignments. Maybe I shouldn’t say this, cause classes are really, really good and important. And I learned a lot from them, especially technique and how to act as a professional. But I already knew what direction my photography was heading so some classes just weren’t for me. And I did some of my best work in classes were we focused on our own projects.

What does The Circus mean to you?:

I had such a great time at the Circus. I met so many good people there and it also turned me into a professional. I had been working as a photographer a few years before I came to the Circus, but felt I lacked some skills and wasn’t able to move forward until I got them under control. At the Circus I first filled my blanks and then started to think as an image creator: the photography was my way of creating the images I had in my head, and when I knew how to master the technique I was able to create them irl.

Describe a monumental, light bulb moment for yourself while you were at Circus:

I attended the Circus at the time when digital photography entered the field. We still shot film, but scanned and worked on the images in Photoshop. So I learned a lot of my photoshop skills at the Circus, which of course was a milestone. I also understood the importance of styling, something I hadn’t really grasped before.

Favorite project you’ve ever worked on:

I have done many books, but there is this one book about truffle (the mushroom kind) that I so much loved working on. This project took me places and I learned so much about things I knew nothing about before. I had some of my best taste experiences and got to know some really nice people. And as a bonus the book turned out really nice.

Best advice you’ve ever been given:

Kill your darlings! Especially when you’re building your portfolio. It is really hard in the beginning, since you often don’t have that many images to replace them with. But honestly, you don’t want to bore your potential client by showing the same image from different angles or done with different filters in photoshop. If you don’t have more than at least 10-15 unique images to show, you should wait and work some more on your portfolio.

What do you love most about being a photographer:

There are many steps included in the process when creating an image and I enjoy them all; coming up with the idea, the preparation, the shoot, the refining (such as the retouching and image editing) and finally having the image exposed. And they are all equally important when creating an image.

For someone who doesn’t have a clue about what a photographer does, well, what does a photographer actually do?

This is actually a tricky question. I believe there are two kind of photographers: one that waits for the right moment (or the decisive moment, if you wish) and the other who creates that moment in front of the camera. Both kind needs a lot of patience, but since I belong to the second category I would say a photographer creates the image by making choices; at the scene (lighting, composition, subject matter, camera angle, etc) and later in front of the computer when fixing the colors, the contrast, the retouching etc.

What advice would you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps and be a photographer:

Be prepared to work hard! Also making a living as a photographer is as much about building relations as making good pictures. Make sure to get inspiration from whatever inspires you, it doesn’t necessarily have to be photography.

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