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Kim Jakobsen To & Hamish Wirgman

United Kingdom

I lived in small town and had to travel to see them. So, I kept a part of them with me in a scrapbook. That naive sentiment is something that has informed how I work and relate to photography.

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The portraits taken by London-based photographer Kim Jakobsen To often feel intimate and a little voyeuristic, at the same time. His subject are usually not models, but people who are part of modern-day communities that identify differently than the mainstream. They are letting you into their world, and it can seem a bit uncouth to stare.

He’s termed that precise moment a ‘vulnerable thereness’ before. “I try to find a moment that only exists because you are taking that portrait”, he explains. “ People that aren’t used to being photographed often feel vulnerable in a shoot setting but at the same time seen. The combination creates a moment that can be very pure and exposed. That pureness within a person is something I find very beautiful. It takes a special setting to experience that, as we often have our guards up.”

Growing up, Kim lived in a Norwegian town, where the type of individuals that interest him – with a more or less performative identity – were few and far between. “I started taking pictures in my teens of my friends”, he recalls. “I lived in small town and had to travel to see them. So, I kept a part of them with me in a scrapbook. That naive sentiment is something that has informed how I work and relate to photography.”

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He moved to London to study photography but also to explore the nightlife. He tells: “London’s queer clubs were very creative at that moment, in 2005, and I was dying to hang out at The Ghetto in Tottenham Court Road.”

Quite some time has passed since then, and Kim has developed a very personal way of photographing. “You have to be interested in your subject, and you have to be willing to communicate and give from yourself”, he says. “To open up and be present, as much as you want your subject to do the same.”

Together with the stylist Hamish Wirgman, Kim approached the Komono Signature Series as an unexpected document of time – the ‘wrong time’.

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“We both love historical costumes, and wanted to create this sort of 70’s hustler vibe, but in an English forest, in 2018. A bit of a mix-up. Its part humor, part fascination for the male, and part exploration.”
  It makes total sense when you think of Kim’s view on images. “Images are not so interesting straight away, but when time passes and the subject has changed and become something else, that document is interesting because it speaks of a moment that has passed.” He adds. “It’s a trace of time that can inform the present.”

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