Rikard Landberg Finds Humor in Street Photography

the piercing man

the piercing man

All photographs are copyrighted Rikard Landberg and used with permission.

Rikard Landberg is a Swedish street photographer who unintentionally finds humor in the everyday. With a Leica M4-P in hand, he takes to the streets of Sweden to document life around him, and he’s been doing this for several years. His Flickr stream is a lighthearted delight. Humor comes from discrepancy, from the unexpected, and in Landberg’s photography there is plenty of that, though he doesn’t actively seek it.

For more of Landberg’s street photography, check out his Flickr.

Phoblographer: How did you get your start in photography?

Rikard: I have always been interested in cameras. When I was little and on family vacations I always wanted to carry the family’s old bulky analog canon point and shoot. I got a film SLR in early high school, just before the digital SLR breakthrough. I loved staying in the school’s own dark room and see my pictures magically emerge on an empty paper. At first it was more about the process than taking photos. Like everyone else who liked to take pictures, I later switched to digital. Canon 5D with a 50mm f1.4 was my best friend for many years, until I picked up an old Leica M2 almost three years ago. It was love at first sight. I sold all my digital equipment and started to photograph exclusively with film.

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Phoblographer: What is it about film photography that works for you over digital?

Rikard: I’ll be honest, I switched back from digital to film because it was so much cooler, at least at first. In the beginning it was so frustrating to only have manual controls without the ability to see the pictures in the camera. I missed the P-mode, AV-mode and so on. But the more I trusted my camera and my eyes the better became my pictures. What first made me frustrated now became a release. Suddenly it was all about taking pictures. When I photographed digitally, it was more about image processing and cool effects. Film photography taught me that it doesn’t matter how good you are at Photoshop, if the picture is not interesting from the start, it will not become more interesting just because i know my way around Photoshop. Film photography makes me think about what I’m doing before I do it. A roll of film holds 36 moments and every moment is going to cost me money. It forces me to choose the moments I want to capture.

another way to dress

another way to dress

Phoblographer: There is a quiet humor in many of your images, particularly with “The piercing man” and “Another way to dress.” How did you develop your eye for these moments?

Rikard: It is not something I am looking for. It’s only moments that I manage to capture. I believe that the mood of the day affects my pictures pretty much. But it sure is fun with a bit of humor!

Phoblographer: Who influences you?

Rikard: My biggest influences are Junku Nishimura and Charlie Kirk. I think that they both have a unique style that i really like!

Phoblographer: Many of your photographs have great light even in unlikely environments. What’s your technique and gear setup? Do you use flash at all?

Rikard: I often see the light before i see the picture. Because i shoot mainly in black and white with a small aperture i need to separate the subjects from the background with light and composition. A lot of photographers do the opposite and separate their subjects with bokeh. But that is not for me.

I mainly use film Leica M with a Zeiss 35mm 2.8. I currently use a Leica M4-p and a Digital Ricoh GR. No flash or artificial light.

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Phoblographer: Where do you see your photography going?

Rikard: As we speak I’m getting ready for a trip to New York where i will try to shoot with a digital camera for the first time in almost three years. I want to try color and for that i think digital is the right choice for me. I will not stop shooting with black and white film, I’m just gonna try something ”new” for a while.

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