All images and words by Mads Peter Iversen. Used with permission.
Danish photographer Mads Peter Iversen may have eased into photography from commercial videography, but you can say taking his sweet time enabled him to discover the kind of work that resonates with him. In between juggling his time in Aarhus and Silkeborg, he’s jumping from one breathtaking location to the other to create his beautiful fine art landscape snaps. In this submission, he shares with us the beauty and grandeur of nature that motivates him to do artful landscape photography.
Why did you get into photography?
Getting into photography was a gradual process. I started out with video editing back in the early 2000s editing fan trailers for blockbuster movies. Over time, I got my own camera and started filming a bit, but since it was a DSLR, it was natural to also photograph. When I discovered RAW files and how much I could influence the tone of the photo in post processing I was hooked!
What photographers are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences in photography has changed over time. Starting out with Joel Grimes and Peter Hurley, I thought I was in the direction of portrait photography. Even though I became pretty good at it I always preferred working on my own in nature. After a three week, self-drive trip to Iceland in October 2015, I knew that was the path for me. Since then my biggest influences has changed mostly in the direction of photographers such as Michael Shainblum, Ted Gore, Ryan Dyar, Mark Adamus, and Alexandre Deschaumes.
How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been photographing since 2012, but focusing on landscape photography since late 2015. Over this period I’ve experimented with a lot of different visual styles and I’m arguably photographing a bit east and west, but the common theme in my photography must be “epic”. I want to my photos to have that “wow” factor. I’m drawn to everything big, beautiful and “out of this world.” Being a child of the 90s, growing up with fantasy novels, Hollywood blockbuster movies, computer games and epic music from the trailer music industry and soundtracks, have formed me into who I am and how I perceive the world around me. In many ways, I am that classic nerd from the 90’s who have just grown up.
Why is photography and shooting so important to you?
It gives me an immense satisfaction to witness all these special natural features on Earth during the most special times of day and night. Standing in a location visualizing the potential for a photograph, my brain releases a huge amount of dopamine! I get another shot of that when I finish a photograph and I look at what I have created.
Do you feel that you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why?
My images are my children. This makes me more of a creator than a documenter. Even though nature is special, I’m not afraid of using all the tools in the tool box to get exactly what I want. Over the years – with experience and practice – I’ve become better at visualizing on location what I want from a certain photograph. Sometimes though, I go in a completely different direction when I’m in front of the computer. Realism has never been a goal of mine, but I do want to make my photos seamless without technical flaws.
What’s typically going through your mind when you create images? Tell us about your processes both mentally and mechanically? Want to walk us through your processing techniques?
If I already have an idea for the direction, I want to go with a photo I go straight for that. I always start in CameraRaw and ends up in Photoshop. I use a lot of masking, especially luminosity masking and local adjustments to emphasize the part of the photos I want focus on and vice versa with the parts that I don’t want to draw attention to.
Tell us about the project that you’re pitching, or your portfolio.
Right now, my main project is my YouTube channel, where I make inspirational landscape photography adventurous videos. Over the past year, I’ve made more than 50 videos from a lot of different more or less iconic landscape photography locations in Iceland, The US, The Faroe Islands, UK and continental Europe. I’m an educated school teacher with a master in educational philosophy so inspiring and teaching people is very close to me. Owing most of my photography knowledge and motivation to YouTube videos, I found it to be the perfect medium to work with. Here I can also combine it with my skills in video editing, which comes in very handy.
What motivates you to shoot?
This entire creative process from planning a photography journey, executing it and editing the photos and in the end see them come “alive” and inspiring others to do so is what motivates me the most. I’d describe myself as a hedonist – which is a school of thought that argues that pleasure and happiness are the primary or most important intrinsic goods and the proper aim of human life. I want to be happy and I want to spread happiness. I have found a path in my life where those two criteria’s are fulfilled and I feel I can be true to myself.
I believe I can inspire other people to get out there and photograph and I believe I can teach them something. Even though my style of photography is not for everyone, I believe through my photography people can also find out what they prefer themselves.
Tell us a bit about the gear that you use and how you feel it helps you achieve your creative vision.
I don’t believe your gear or brand makes the huge difference unless you specifically need a light sensitive camera/lens to do a certain type of photography such as astro, sports, or wildlife photography. I’ve mainly used Canon gear — 5Dm3, 5Dm2 and now a 5Ds with the lenses that cover the focal length from 16mm to 200mm with a dedicated Sigma 20mm f/1.4 ART for night photography. For video and vlogging I’ve mainly switched to Sony. My RX100IV and a6000 have been faithful companions the past 2-3 years.
To sum up, I want to be happy and do what makes me happy. I feel happy creating visually pleasing and aesthetic photos with a wow-factor and sharing those experiences. If I can spread that happiness, I believe I have added a bit to making the world a better place. It sounds simple and it really is, but why else do anything if it does not amount to feeling joy?