Øyvind Hjelmen

Øyvind Hjelmen

MIFA 2021 Winner, 1st Place in Book (Professional) – “Moments Reflected

Living and working on the island of Stord off the west coast of Norway, Øyvind Hjelmen started working at the local shipyard as a mailboy when he was 16 years old. He continued as an offset printer and archivist, and eventually became the in-house photographer, documenting the many offshore-installations that were built at the yard by then. Later he went to university for a BA in modern art and aesthetics, and has now been working independently as a professional artist and photographer for almost 30 years.

Q: Do you remember the first time you held a camera? 
I remember as a child I was given a plastic camera, possibly a Diana, at least similar. In my youth I was fascinated with how photography works, and played with it for a couple of years, developing contact prints in my room. Only at 35 did photography become a life- changing passion when I finally discovered the almost unlimited possibilities of expression.

Q: Tell us a bit more about your winning project and what inspired you to do it? 
I see «Moments Reflected» as part of an ongoing project that has been going for ten years or more, how our adult life is based on our childhood and youth, how we relate to ourselves, the world and people around us. The inspiration for doing it, I think, is a need to explore it.

Q: What type of photos do you like to take in your free time? 
I do not think I have anything called “free time”, I spend my time on photography, making pictures, exhibiting and teaching. This is what feels right for me, at least so far.

Q: What genre of photography is new to you that you would like to explore?
I don´t know, I am very happy exploring what I do, and what has been done for years. But I very much enjoy when students or talented people at portfolio reviews show me something I have not seen before. That genuinely makes me happy. But I do not normally feel a need to explore it for myself, I feel I have so much exploring yet to do in my own genre. There is so much to learn.

Q: Besides a camera, what do you think are the three most important tools of a
photographer?
Light, eyes and heart.

Q: How do you know when a body of work is completed?
For me, that is when it feels ready. When I feel nothing is missing. Feeling is such a useless measure when trying to explain, but it is not a matter of numbers..

Q: If it could be anything at all, what would your photography dream project be?
My project is already about life, I can include anything and everything there. It is full of happiness, sadness, frustrations, joys and challenges. What more could I wish for?

Q: If you could take one last photo in your life, what would it be?
Eventually I will take my last photo, I don´t know what it will be. I don´t want to know.

Q: Who/what is your biggest source of inspiration?
When I started my two biggest inspirations were Andrej Tarkovskij and Josef Sudek. They still remain my inspirations. But nothing inspires me more than seeing works by talented people, whether young or old masters.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
1. Work.
2. Attend workshops taught by people whose work speaks to you.
3. Be good to people you meet, respect and kindness will take you a long way.
4. Remember that the best thing about good advice is that you do not have to follow it.

View Øyvind Hjelmen’s winning work.