It is not everyday you get to meet a world artist, an icon … I was lucky to have done so last week when I met former ABBA singer Agnetha Fältskog.
Agnetha was in London promoting her new album ‘A’ which is released today. I was assigned to take the portraits by Swedish picture agency Scanpix and their media agency TT Spektra who flew out their journalist Sara Ullberg to conduct the interview.
I was slightly nervous before the meeting – not because I was photographing Agnetha but because of how the interview was set up. We were given 30 minutes which included both the Interview & photography … it was the normal situation, however they had requested that the photography should be first followed by the interview, hence my apprehension.
It is incredibly difficult to walk into a room for the first time and to be instantly creative and find good angles and photograph somebody all within 5 minutes … also knowing that some 175 Swedish provincial newspapers were going to publish your images. No pressure.
The normal interview situation is where the photographer takes the portraits in the last 5 minutes of the interview, which is no time at all but it works only because you have 20 minutes to walk around, look for angles, look for good light and above all find some inspiration for what to do and be ready to go.
I was lucky. On arriving at the location the Langham Hotel on Portland Place I was told that Agnetha was having a radio interview in another room and we could wait in the room where our interview was to take place. Perfect, I had the 20 minutes I needed.
The room was fine and full of wonderful soft light that flooded through the large windows. I noticed a large purple coloured chair by a window which I thought would be good but walking back across the room I noticed the reflection of the flower vase on the table … I felt this would work and set up an off camera flash and test photographed reporter Sarah sitting in the chair. I also chose to use natural daylight and have Agnetha stand in front of the curtains – which as it happened matched the colour of her clothing and the vertical lines in the curtains and her blouse also matched very well.
Agnetha entered the room, we shook hands and the photography began. She was wonderful and very professional. 5 minutes later I left the room happy.