In this new “Focus on” we discover the great street work from the Swedish photographer Mats Alfredsson.


Q Mats, you’ve been taking photos on the streets for many years. What has changed during this time? I mean, how has the life of a street photographer in relation to the people you photograph evolved?

A Basically not much. People still live in what I call the theater of the street. They live their lives, hang out with their friends and interact in the environment they move in. My job is to see and capture all these little details that most people just pass by. Nothing has changed there. However, it may happen that vigilance and curiosity have increased, especially when we are talking about young people. It happens more often today that I have to inform about what the law regarding photography in a public environment looks like. And not least about how important it is that we document our times for the future. Without arranging pictures. But usually I take the picture quickly and move on without anyone reacting.

Q What leads you to take a photo?

A I train my mind to discover small deviant details, or different connections in an environment. It can be different things that are in several layers. Repetition of colors, lines or any detail that “lifts” a little extra. I also look extra for human characters that can contribute to a complete scene. I try to avoid people who only walk towards me on the street, unless there is something else that causes the incident to grow. Some detail that perhaps shouldn’t be there, i.e. something that “disrupts” the environment.

Q You have a diverse portfolio, and I noticed that many photos are taken in cities around the world. Do you plan your trips based on the photos you would like to take, or do you simply enjoy traveling and never forget to bring your camera along?

A I like that to travel and the camera are always with me. But on location, I always look for environments that are a little rawer, more genuine and not so polished. I think it creates the conditions for more interesting and authentic images. I also like to come back to a place on several occasions, at different times of the day and not least in different weather. Even if the place is the same, the people never are. And events never repeat themselves.

Q What has been the city where you have enjoyed taking photos the most? And among the cities you haven’t visited yet, which one would you like to shoot in?

A I have several favorites. Mainly Chicago, London and Melbourne. There are fantastic environments and nice, open people. On my list going forward are New Orleans and Nashville. Not least because my other interest is music.


Q What is photography to you? And what does it mean to you in your life?

A Street photography has totally changed my life. I got to meet people I would never have gotten close to otherwise. Visit places where I have never set foot before. Photography makes me see things in a new way, be more attentive and appreciate the small details in life. With the photography, I want to tell the story of life and to me unknown people and not least convey the beauty of a completely ordinary moment.

Q Can you tell me about a photographer who has inspired you or whom you particularly like?

A You must never be so inspired that you try to copy. However, I think it is important to study other photographers. It gives you ideas and challenges you to think outside your own box. It makes you evolve. Some such photographers are Gabi Ben Avraham, Pau Buscato and Anders Petersen.

Mats Alfredsson links :

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