The Global FlyFisher
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Fishy photos: Soren Skarby
Danish photojournalist Soren Skarby only recently started photographing his favorite pastime: fishing. Before that he kept work and pleasure strictly separated.
Soren Skarby is a Danish fly-fisher and photo journalist and a good friend of mine. He takes part in the small fishing report site where we share fishing stories and images. Oddly enough, Soren doesn't contribute many images. he actually rarely brings a camera when fishing. He does take fishing photos, but as a professional for magazines.
I asked Soren the usual row of questions and he replied as follows.
a) How did you start photographing and what made you choose fishing related photos in particular?
Until I was 17, I was completely convinced that I was going to be freshwater biologist. I fished as a madman, and only with the fly. I biked many miles every week, getting out to the water.
Then I "unfortunately" got my fingers caught in a camera. It started out as pictures of birds, but soon the whole world around me. The passion was so great that I decided to become a professional photojournalist. For many years I avoided photographing when I was fishing. I was simply afraid to turn my second passion into work.
b) Do you have a particular subject, region or a style of pictures that you mainly shoot or are you more all-round?
Since photography is my daytime job, I shoot almost everything, even fashion and product shots. First and foremost I'm a photojournalist in the classic sense. That also means that I write a lot.
I have traveled a lot with the camera and photographed everything from strange burial rituals in Madagascar to the war in Iraq. The latter has affected me tremendously, and when it becomes too much, it helps to take a trip with a fly rod.
The last few years I have started working professionally with fishing. I have written and photographed portraits of prominent Danish fly-fishing profiles. They have been made based on a simple question: "What on earth makes you spend fortunes, endless amounts of time, leave the family, and voluntarily jump into cold water?"
This has resulted in some very intriguing replies.
One of the portraits was of a former military general. His answer on how to deal with bad memories of war was nothing less than amazing: "My daughter says I have to meditate. Why? I go fishing."
c) Where are your photos used? Books, magazines, brochures, ads, web sites, prints, gallery exhibits or other places?
My images and articles are used virtually everywhere. Previously I worked a lot for newspapers, but in the recent years it has been magazines.
Many of my images are being used on the web for all kinds of purposes.
My articles about fly fishing can mainly be found in the Danish magazine "Sportsfiskeren". I have written articles where talented fly tiers tell their stories, pattern descriptions and much more for that magazine.
I have yet to do a book about fly fishing, but some years ago I wrote about and photographed falconry for a children's book. Falconry is the unknown cousin of fly fishing. When Dame Julia wrote her famous "A treatyse about flyfishing" in "Boke of Saint Albans," she also wrote about falconry.
d) Is photography your main source of income - if at all a source of income - and do you do other jobs as a supplement?
I have been a freelance photojournalist for 25 years. Most of my income comes from articles and pictures, but I also teach and give lectures on photography and journalism. It hasn't been easy, but I have survived until now.
e) Can people buy your pictures and if so, then in which form and where?
Of course my pictures are for sale!
The easiest way is to inquire directly to me at email@example.com
Everybody is welcome to browse past my website http://skarby.cc
There aren't many pictures of fly fishing. I'd better get some ready...
I'm also happy to accept orders for pictures. The best images often come from collaboration and when you listen properly to customer needs.
f) Where do you currently live and work?
I live in the middle of Denmark in the southern part of the island of Funen (Fyn) in the city Svendborg. It's just a short drive before I can park by some of the finest salt water fishing this country has to offer.
g) What's in your bag? Preferred cameras, bodies, lenses and other gear?
In essence it's not the gear, but the ability to use it, which is crucial.
I have used Nikon for many years. A few bodies and too many lenses. Currently I shoot with a Nikon D4 and an assortment of good lenses. My absolute favorite is my 105mm macro. It is invaluable when photographing something small like flies. Furthermore it's wonderfully sharp and has a very nice bokeh. It's also excellent for landscapes.
I borrow the really long and bright (and expensive) telephoto lenses when I need them, in particular when photographing fashion.