Anders Lönnfeldt: On the Aesthetics of Photographing Watches

All images by Anders Lönnfeldt. Used with permission.

Photographer Anders Lönnfeldt wanted to try something new: photographing watches. Much different from the mountains and landscapes that he otherwise keeps to, the watch photography world is one that is attractive to him.

If there are any geeks that are more particular about details that photo geeks, it’s probably watch geeks and all those that freak out about them. And if you’re a watch geek, you’ve most likely noticed a very relatable and typical look when it comes to lifestyle imagery. It often involves a watch on a specific wrist, clothing that says a bit about the person wearing it, and a background where someone can imagine themselves. It’s typical and relatable due to the fact that it transports viewers to a specific place.

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Phoblographer: Where did the inspiration for this photography come from?

Anders: The inspiration came from Instagram, which I have been using actively for a couple of years. I have seen a lot of interesting photos of watches on Instagram, and this was a big part in forming the idea for this photo shoot.

Phoblographer: What made you choose the backgrounds and scenes and the wardrobes? How do these creative choices all work and mesh together in your head?

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Anders: During the years I have lived in Helsinki I have always kept my eyes open for great photo and film locations. Every time I see a nice location I snap a photo of it and save it to my “Great locations” folder. When it was time to do this shoot I scrolled through my “Great locations” folder and found several locations for the shoot. I chose the backgrounds having in mind that these backgrounds need to work as stand alones. The backgrounds should work as great photos even if there wasn’t a watch in the image.

The wardrobe was a piece of cake. I got one shirt from the watch brand, and the rest was just what I found in my closet.

I never really see it as something I mesh together in my head. I simply systemically think step by step about all the aspects, trying to figure out what could work and what wouldn’t. It feels a bit like problem solving for me.

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Phoblographer: What details do you think are the most important things for watch photographers to pay attention to? What does the audience really want to see?

Anders: I think the most important is to be close enough to the watch, so the audience will see the details in the watch. What I found really hard was not to get too much glare in the glass. A little bit of glare looks good, but if there is too much it will just not work and the details will not be as clear.
But it is also important to give the audience a sense of what it would be like wearing the watches, which has less to do with technical stuff and more to do with the idea and concept.

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Phoblographer: Is this at all trying to simulate what people actually see when they check their watch and therefore make people relate the images more?

Anders: I have always been a fan of first person view images, but I had never produced any before. So yes, I wanted to show people what it could look like when they wear the watches on different locations. But most of all, it was simply about creating something that stands out.

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Phoblographer: What made you want to photograph watches?

Anders: I am old school in many ways. I make notes on paper rather than on my computer. And I have always liked wearing a watch. Not only because it’s practical, but also because watches look good. I tend to approach companies that do or create stuff that I enjoy. And since I enjoy watches I naturally want to photograph them as well.

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