Inside this issue
Bill Ferngren is a Swedish photo enthusiast who lives in Nynäshamn, a few miles south of Stockholm. Currently he is most interested in capturing the quieter, smaller scenes in nature; he also enjoys abstract and ICM photography. Over many years he has become familiar with the local forests and follows the tracks in the nearby reserves on long photowalks. His income comes from his own business, where he provides services as a carpenter; there’s also minor income as a musician. Photography is also baked into the business but suffers mostly from expenses; Bill settles for payment in the form of enriched experiences.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
This is the first time I’ve researched an interview while listening to the subject’s music… Bill Ferngren is a talented guy, indeed. Undoubtedly his family has played a part in nourishing his creativity, but he seems especially good at applying this to new things and enjoys a challenge. We talk about the overlap between musical and photographic composition and production and touch on the life of Sweden’s forests which have provided him with much of his inspiration thus far.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, what your early interests were, and what that led you to do?
Sure, I was born in Sweden, in Huddinge, a suburb that is located south of the capital of Stockholm. At the age of six, my parents got the idea that my 4 years older sister and I would be better off growing up in a small town with a safer, calmer and less stressful life than the big city offered. We moved south, 50 miles closer to the continent, to a small village in Oskarström, a place located 2 miles northeast of Halmstad municipality. I finished my compulsory schooling and then studied for three years to become a carpenter. At the age of nineteen, I decided to move back to my roots in Stockholm, and this is still what I like to call home.
My father has always played the guitar, keyboard and harmonica. My grandma and grandpa have been active fiddlers for as long as I can remember (they are no longer with us). So music came to me quite early. At the age of 12, my father gave me my first drums. Even today, music is a great passion. My curiosity drove me to try and learn new instruments. A few years ago, I was given the opportunity and the question if I wanted to make a living from my music. I was back then producing music for a global music tech company and got paid by the number of completed tracks. I then realised that the joy would quickly disappear when I start chasing myself with deadlines, and I understood that sooner or later, I would kill my creativity in making music. So I kept it as a side project, but I still make a small income from it, just scaled my contributions down at the time. A great way for me to get into the music industry!