Kristian Lau Jespersen
Would you mind introducing yourself? Hey, my name is Lau, I'm a 22-year-old guy. I live in Aarhus, a Danish city by the ocean. I’ve spent more than half my life here, and I’ll probably end up staying here for a couple of years since I’m studying computer engineering here.
Lau’s Instagram - @laukvalitet
How would you describe your style of photography? I’d describe my photography as surreal, quite minimalistic and with bright colours. But the surreal part has really been the main focus for the past couple of years. I mostly try to take photos, that incorporate some type of illusion. The gimmick is that I don’t allow myself to do any compository editing to create the illusions, except for cropping and rotating. In other words, the photos have to be real. Feel free to ask me for a screenshot of any of my raw files, if you want to see what came out of the camera originally.
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? I believe I bought my first DSLR when I was 16, I’m still using that same one camera. I didn’t really get into it until a year later or so, I don’t think I had a plan with buying it originally. But at some point, I started doing photography for 4-5 hours multiple times a week instead of doing my high school homework. Apparently I really needed a hobby.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? In general, I get a decent adrenalin rush whenever I take a picture, where the timing and everything is just right, the rare ones. The first time I really experienced that satisfaction was when I took one certain pic, the one where it looks like a man is balancing on electrical wires, where he, in reality, is standing on the ground. It also kind of steered me towards the style with all the illusions and weirdness. Less specifically I have loads of good memories of me travelling around with my camera.
What inspires your photography? When I first got into taking pictures I wasn’t really a fanboy of anyone, but I did buy a book on photographic composition. I think it might have inspired me, that I realized how most of the pics in that one book were really boring. I think I wanted to take photos more impressive than those. I obviously sucked at first, but I did get the obsession with composition back then. Apart from that, it really motivates me and makes me happy, whenever I get a confused reaction by showing my pics to someone.
What kind of camera do you use? I use a pretty basic setup, a Canon Eos 600d and a Tamron 70-300 for the most part. I haven’t bought any gear for 3 years+, because I really like working with that combination. Even though gear is nice, I think some people drop too much on it, way more satisfying to spend those dollars on a trip and just put in all the time you have to take pics. And you might even have money left to buy a friend a beer. I probably should upgrade soon though…
What's your editing process like? The editing is definitely the hard part for me, given that I am quite colour blind. To spot unwanted colour casts I try to look at my pics with different light conditions around me, different rooms, different times of the day etc. Photoshop’s colour sampler tool has also been a great help, so a grey doesn’t turn out pink without me noticing for example. I usually try to make my pics appear natural but still with saturated colours, adding just a bit to the surrealism in the pics. But I might have gone completely off the rails on some of them without noticing, with these eyes I wouldn’t know.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? I guess my best advice would be to put in a huge amount of time, since occurrences where you can fit shapes together or so are very rare. I also try to seek out good fields of view by imagining how stuff would look from a particular angle.
Who are some of your favourite photographers? The first photographer, whose work I really became a fan of, is Franco Fontana. If you don’t know him, do yourself a favour and search him up, his photos are really hard not to like. His pics are saturated in a very special way I think. At the same time, they are a good example of using minimalism to the right extent. The minimalism makes it pleasing to look at, but it isn’t simplified enough to be boring. I think minimalism is best when it’s not just done for the sake of minimalism, but rather used to highlight something interesting.
Are there any photographers here on Instagram that you wish more people knew about? One of my favourite photographers on Instagram is @inter_disciplinary, especially her more surreal stuff. Another really cool photographer is @wingsinmotion. As the name implies, the theme is birds. I don’t think I follow any other wildlife photographers, it’s pretty far from what I enjoy to photograph myself, but those pictures are just amazing. @toscanology, @sophiamurlowski and @brandonlavender are also worth mentioning for sure.
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? A lot of my pictures are taken in really dull places, like suburbs of large cities, I usually walk right out of the city center to have less clutter and more space for zooming. Photography wise, I think it is really hard to predict where I will find my next good one. But I really want to go to Japan or South America, if not for photography then just for the trip.
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? Winter in Denmark is really dark and quite cold as well, so I hardly ever take pics then, I just edit what I’ve taken through the other seasons. I think the obvious choice of summer will be my answer, it’s just way nicer to be able to do it for 7 hours straight.
The coolest place you've ever been? I haven’t really been to any extreme places, but one of my best memories from this year is camping in a rented VW Golf in the Romanian mountains for a couple of days. Hitchhiking through Bosnia also brought me through some beautiful scenery. The nature in Kazakhstan is an honourable mention as well. I didn’t really take pictures any of those places though, I just enjoyed being in the wild as a contrast to taking pics in the city.
Do you have any upcoming photography trips/sessions that you would like to share? I do have a lot of unpublished material at the moment. I’ll post most of it in different series, that all have themes. I.e. some will have “impossible shapes” as the theme. I also have an oddly specific series centred around bollards, as well as a bunch of pics where objects are camouflaged in the city. I have other new stuff coming as well, so just take a look at my IG from to time to time, if it sounds interesting.