Norwegian creative Linn Heidi Stokkedal (27) is a sunny soul who adores photography, dogs, mountains, and spending her summers in Finland. Born in Sandeid, she has lived and studied in places like Trondheim, Stavanger, Cape Town and Johannesburg, Paris, and Stockholm, before moving to her current home in Bergen. As well as gathering experience at galleries, model agencies, and international publications, she has worked as an associate producer for the internationally acclaimed movie “Violent” and released four photobooks in Paris, Montreal, London, and Berlin.
When did you start being interested in Photography?
My dad was crazy about gadgets. He must have noticed I had a fascination for it too, so he gave me my first camera when I was 8. He kept developing all of my pictures – no matter how they turned out (mostly blurry photos of farm animals). It is thanks to my dad that I ended up doing photography and that means a lot to me.
Do you think this experience is the reason why you prefer analog photography to digital?
I would like to think so. The whole process of taking analog photographs might have nostalgic reasons on a subconscious level, but I think in the end it was my friend Rune to whom I owe the credit. I remember the day he had bought himself a Hasselblad 500CM and I looked into that viewfinder for the first time and from that point on, digital seemed so redundant to me. I couldn’t stop thinking how cinematic and beautiful everything seemed through that camera. One year later I bought my own analogue camera in Los Angeles while I traveled through the US at the age of 18.
People tend to underestimate the impression that other creatives can have on our lives. How important was it having a mentor like Rune?
It definitely is very valuable to have someone to turn to with questions and for inspiration. He was there if I wanted to learn more about analog photography, or to help me out with photo assignments in school. He has also helped me to network and exhibit my work. Rune runs a successful gallery in New Jersey now. I also learned a few years ago that my power animal is the wolf, and that means I am a mentor type, and it felt good to have this confirmation. Now that I am older and I have more experience, it feels very natural for me to help others, especially younger kids, because I know how much it meant for me. I love doing this; it is such a special reward to have a creative influence on someone. I teach teenagers analog photography for the municipality and it is one of my favorite gigs to do.
What inspires you?
People’s mannerism, the way they move their mouth when they speak – or how they walk and express themselves… really small things. But it is also inspiring just to walk through Bergen, the town I live in! The light here never stops fascinating me. It is the light I grew up with: it is beautiful, enchanting, and frustrating at times. I almost moved to L.A. after my photo studies. Now I am glad I didn´t, because I fear my photos would have started looking like everyone else’s. I learned the value of special light conditions while taking photographs of my sisters in my hometown. I uploaded the images and people liked them. This location is so beautiful… I figured that shooting in Scandinavia, and especially of what I am familiar with and grew up with, is a powerful and beautiful aesthetic language in itself.
What would you like to catch on camera that you haven’t caught yet?
I just want to take pictures all the time; I will never feel like being done with anything. I believe this is what keeps my photographic spirit going.
What’s the recipe to follow your dreams?
It is very important to stay true to your aesthetics, try and specialize your expression and style to a point where people want to hire you for what YOU DO, and not what they want. That has been my goal all along, and it finally is starting to happen. My advice to others who work with photography is to do it a lot, and to prioritise. Make it your top passion, and be obsessed with it! Experiment with cameras and film to a point where you feel you have gathered all the factors you need, so that your photos express you as an artist.
What is success for you?
People often ask me why I do not take more professional well paid photo jobs. This is because I have one principle, which is: Whenever I grab my camera, I am going to have fun. It is important to stand behind everything you do. If you dare to publish everything you do on your website, then in my view, you are successful!
Interview: Victoria Trunova
Editing: James Hudson