Jacob Ammentorp’s magnificent photography struck us because of it’s sheer elegance and strength with its ability to retain a sense of simplicity. His images depict immense detail and as a result the small beautiful details you’d otherwise miss in daily situations. We got a chance to speak with him to share some insights into his secondary profession and hobby (you’ll never guess his first occupation though, you’ll have to read to the end to find out!).
Can you introduce yourself, where you’re based and explain a bit your journey into how you started selling your photos on Fotolia?
My name is Jacob Ammentorp and I’m a photographer currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The early seeds of my stock photography career were planted in 2007. I had just bought my first DSLR camera and I remember reading about stock photography. I took a few pictures and tried uploading them to Fotolia. I didn’t put a lot of effort into it – it was mostly snapshots. I just wanted to try it out.
I forgot about the images and stock photography for a while. Instead I did client work like portraits, weddings and event photography. While I enjoyed doing different kinds of hired jobs, the idea about shooting stock photography began to appeal more and more to me. What I found appealing was the freedom to shoot the pictures you want and whenever you want.
So in 2012 I took the decision to stop doing client work and commit myself 100% to stock photography. And since then I have just been working my a** off to make a career in the stock photography business. Today I’m fortunate to be working with a small team of talented people.
How would you describe your photographic style? What has influenced and shaped it?
To be honest I don’t see myself having a certain photographic style. Or at least I’m not aiming to have a specific style. I shoot what I instinctively feel looks good and I guess the result of that are what you can call my style.
What is it about your photos do you think that has made them so popular?
That’s a good question. Basically I think it’s a matter of the effort we put into our work. Making sure to make every single picture as good as possible. There is a lot of time and effort put into each single step of the workflow – planning, shooting, selecting final images, retouching, and key wording.
Has your photographic style developed since you started in the stock industry? If so, in what ways?
Yes it certainly has. In the beginning I was doing what everyone else was doing. I believed that the key to success was to shoot all the classic cliché stock images. But I discovered that I had a lot more success shooting concepts, models, and styles that I found interesting.
What, in your view, are the key ingredients to creating a fantastic photograph?
In terms of a fantastic stock photograph I think the key ingredient is to have a very clear and authentic concept. For example if you are shooting a fitness concept the image must give you the sense of the situation, as if you can almost smell the sweat from the model when you see the picture. If you are shooting a business concept the models must look like real business people in a real business environment doing real business.
Your images may not be considered typical ‘stock’ photos in that they portray some unique themes/characteristics and an original style. How do you come up with these and whom do you think they relate to the most in terms of clients?
As I mentioned before I shoot mostly what I feel like shooting. I try to avoid the clichés and come up with new ideas. When I search for inspiration I avoid looking at the images that are already being sold on the stock agencies. I think that’s very important in order to keep a fresh mind and not getting trapped shooting “what’s already there”.
What is your favorite piece of photographic equipment that you use?
The obvious answer to that question would be my camera. I’m shooting with a Canon 5D Mark II and it has been my reliable workhorse for several years now. I also want to point out the Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art lens. It’s the most fantastic lens I’ve ever worked with.
What are you favorite images from your Fotolia portfolio and why?
It’s very difficult to pick the favorites among almost 3000 images. I feel like I have a special relationship to every picture because I remember the story behind every image when I see them.
In terms of aesthetics – this image is one of my favorites. What I like about this image is the extraordinary look of her muscular back combined with the very feminine look of her face and hair. I also love how the highlights on the side of her body outline her body shape. This one really deserves to be viewed on a big screen or print.
In terms of concept – I think this image succeeded very well. It’s definitely a concept that’s seen before but I think we succeeded in making a version that’s original and authentic.
What places have you visited that are have photographic poignancy in your mind and what places are on your ‘wish list’ to photograph?
Most of the images in my portfolio are shot in the area where I live. I haven’t done a lot of travel photography. But I would love to have the opportunity to travel more with my camera. I recently visited South Africa and would love to go back there soon to shoot some pictures. It’s an amazing place!
If you hadn’t of become a photographer, what do you think you would have done instead?
Actually I have a job besides being a photographer. When I’m not working with photography I work as a police officer patrolling the streets of Copenhagen. It’s two very different jobs but I really enjoy the diversion. When I do photography I get the possibility to be creative and play around. When I work in the uniform I get the chance to meet a lot of different people and deal with “real world” problems.