Artist + Designer Spotlight: Kalle Gustafsson

July 18, 2014 | Alex

If Kalle Gustafsson rings a bell, it's likely because the Swedish photographer is a big name on the fashion photography circuit. Although I admired his work within that genre one I'm not generally enamored with I don't think I grasped his range and unique editorial perspective until I stumbled into a deep internet hole and landed on his personal portfolio. 


Gustafsson's recent personal project, Archipelago, is a love story (or perhaps a lust story) told frame-by-frame against the Stockholm archipelago, a network of nearly 30,000 islands of the east coast of Sweden in the Baltic Sea. But beneath the construct of the love triangle, the series is really a love letter from Gustafsson to the landscape. The craggy, choppy watered and densely forested backdrop.

Gustafsson's background as an editorial photographer is evident in his commitment to quite narrative story telling, but compared to his commercial work, his personal portfolio has a nostalgic quality to it that feels more, well, personal. He captures summer pastimes the way we tend to remember them. Sun-dappled, slightly hazy. Although the leggy subjects seem lifted from a glossy September issue, you can see in his portraiture an effort to capture the flip side of summer's lightness. Snippets of solitude and quiet reflection.


In August, I'll spend three days exploring the archipelago on my own. Which is why, I imagine, these quieter images are resonating at a higher frequency with me. My plan is to island hop, stopping along the way to hike, snack, swim and kayak in search of golden eagles. With a fair amount of sun-spattered daydreaming, I suspect.


All images by Kalle Gustaffson.