VGXW: Will you tell our readers a few things about yourself?
LARS V. ANDERSEN: My name is Lars and I´m a 37 year old photographer and picture maker. I love (and make) dark beauty, fine art and heavy metal photography.
I live with my girlfriend and our 2 months old son. I work as an occupational therapist in the field of psychiatry and I do my photography and visual art at the side of that.
VGXW: How long have you been creating fine art and heavy metal photography?
LARS V. ANDERSEN: I bought my first DSLR in 2011 and started out taking pictures of everything possible. In the last 2-3 years I have found my niche in the dark art, e.g. my dark portraits. Now that is my main thing but I still do what was the main reason I bought a camera: shoot heavy metal bands on stage, backstage, promos, albums etc.
VGXW: You mentioned that you are a self-taught photographer. Will you tell us how you’ve learned to master your craft?
LARS V. ANDERSEN: Yes, that is correct. I started out by reading books about photography, you know: what does ISO, aperture and shutter speed mean and so on. Then I bought a DSLR and just started shooting. I found knowledge on the internet, mostly by watching hundreds of tutorials on YouTube. I guess that 90% of my know-how is found on YouTube and by creating ideas, shooting, doing post and so on over and over again.
VGXW: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned/figured out so far?
LARS V. ANDERSEN: Be true to yourself. Make the kind of pictures (or art in general) YOU want and own that. Just do it. Don´t be afraid of what other people might or might not think about your pictures and style. If you like it, do it. Also: Start today if you have an idea or a dream, no matter how impossible it seem. Don´t sit at home thinking “at some point I´m going to do this and that.” Start today. In reality there is only one person holding you back and that is you.
VGXW: How do you usually approach your work? Do you plan everything in advance, or do you start with a general idea then go with the flow?
LARS V. ANDERSEN: I am a planner! I often think about an idea for weeks and months, before the actual shoot. BUT, as I said earlier, start today with the process once the idea pops into mind. I write down notes about themes, locations and so on every day – I am not a fast creator, but I always have 5 – 10 ideas waiting to be planned further into details. I like to have a lot of ideas spinning in my head. It keeps me motivated and I always urge to make a better picture than the last one.
With that said, it is not a rare thing that my plan A at my shoot, turns out to be pretty shitty and the plan B, C or D, which I make on the spot, ends up being much better. I guess I could try do work on being more loose and unprepared!?
VGXW: Other than creating dark portraits, you also specialize in photographing rock musicians. Do you remember your first shoot with a rock band? What was it like?
LARS V. ANDERSEN: I actually don´t remember my first band shoot. But I do remember the first concert I did for a web heavy metal magazine. It was the first shoot I did for others than myself. The magazine called me up and said: “Hey, do you wanna shoot Slayer and Megadeth live?” That´s two of the biggest heavy metal bands in the world. I said yes, but I was so nervous thinking about not producing quality pictures with my beginner DSLR, so I actually bought a new camera before the show, haha.
When the show started and Dave Mustaine, Megadeth frontman, came out on stage, he stood 3 meters from me and I was so shaky that the first 30-40 pictures were totally blurred and looked like they were shot while sitting on a mechanic bull at full speed! The nerves got under control, though.
VGXW: What’s the most amusing thing that ever happened during your photo shoots so far?
LARS V. ANDERSEN: I always aim to have fun during my shoots, especially when I shoot with others than myself! One photoshoot comes to mind: I shot a girl outside a castle and suddenly 50-60 American tourists from a big cruise ship showed up with a guide and all. The guide kept talking about the castle but all the tourists began to film and take pictures of our photo session instead of the castle. It was quite fun and a little awkward. But we all had a good laugh about it.
VGXW: If you can any kind of image you want and featuring any person you want, what can we expect to see?
LARS V. ANDERSEN: The number one person I would love to make a portrait of, is Metallica frontman James Hetfield. I love that guy. So if I could do a dark portrait with him, I would be over the moon. All though I probably would be star-struck as never seen before. I guess it could be something with him wearing giant black angel wings or something like that. Who knows, maybe one day!
See some of the images on print
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