Q&A: Albert Elm


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? I don’t know if I live by any life philosophy. I try to slow down and live as simple as possible. Just generally trying to find the balance in life. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? That we are all so self-centred. “The age of the selfie”. – If they don’t become worse.. Are you aware of any conspiracies? I love conspiracies. I don’t talk about them often though. People often think you are over the top and crazy when you are too exited about conspiracy theories. What is it that interests you about photography? That it turn realities into phenomenons. A picture becomes a metaphor much bigger than what it depicts. And it gives you an excuse to be exited about things you maybe would take for granted otherwise. What is the worst thing about city life? The stressfull phase. There is so much going on all the time. And yet everyday easily seem like the one the day before. Everything becomes trivial when you see the same things everyday. What part of the planet would you like to explore? All the Jungles. And the native people who live there. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? I like the idea that we have a soul. And that it leaves our bodies when we die. It’s amazing that so many people that have died (and woken up again) and people with near death experiences, have similar experiences. The white light, seeing them selfs from above etc. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Maybe a tribe chief. Not sure what tribe though. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Cosmology. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? Cant think of one specific situation. It happens all the time. It’s like I see more pictures when I don’t have a camera with me. But thats just a part of the process.

Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Maybe work in a picture archive. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. Not sure. I have my favourite photographers that I love looking at who’s important for different reasons. But the most important photo I can think of now is Robert Capa’s pictures from D-Day. Unbelievable that he was among the first allied soldiers on the beach. You can really sense the chaos in the pictures. It put things in perspective when people risk their lives to document the course of history. How often do you take other people’s advice? When I think it sounds like they know what they are talking about. Which living person do you most admire? Daido Moriyama, Julian Assange. On what occasion do you lie? I like to think that i mostly lie to avoid unnecessary disappointment. If I loose a gift someone gave me I might not tell them right away. What was the last crime you witnessed? Shoplifting. What is the best way to educate yourself? To make mistakes. – “Ever tried, ever failed. No matter. Try Again, fail again, fail better”. And to challenge ones own discipline. Ultimate camera? I think its important to change camera sometimes. But the cameras i’ve been using the longest without feeling bored or feeling limited is the Contax cameras. I guess there is an ultimate camera for every purpose. But could i only keep one camera i think I would keep my Contax T3. Most used camera? Contax T3 And Contax G1. What object do you want? A good film scanner. What object do you need? The key’s for my apartment. I’m tired of locking myself out.

How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? That its like a telegraph. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? Yes I feel fit enough. I could be stronger. But I don’t think its worth the effort. Describe a cheap thrill. Jumping a freight train. Anything can happen. Even though your destination might be unknown, and that you are more or less powerless. You get a great feeling of freedom and that you are in control of your own life. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. Would love to join the first persons to fly. But if it has to be within a century I would join Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the first trip to the moon. Are impulses more important than consequences? I think you are more likely to be confronted with any kind consequence when you are impulsive. And I think impulsive is something you are. Its not something you become. I’m a very impulsive person myself, and I was even more impulsive when I was younger. It has brought my on great adventures and into great trouble. Without impulsiveness a lot less adventure in my life, but without consequence I wouldn’t have been able to learn from my mistakes and straightened up when being on a wrong course. Couldn’t say whats more important. Maybe its a bit like yin & yang. Which talent would you most like to have? I would love to be good at card tricks. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Scanning films. I got 75 film processed recently. Films that I had lying around. Hopefully there is some surprises.

Albert Elm – From the series ‘What Sort of Life is this’. For more of Albert’s work head to his website here.