His Story: David Thomsson

Tell us a bit more about yourself?

I’m a 16-year-old Stockholm-based photographer and I’ve been shooting for 2 years. I’ve been working with brands like Daniel Wellington, Visit Copenhagen and others. My main focus is architecture and street photography but there are times where I shoot portraits and commercial photos too. 

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Do you have any quirky habits?

Not really, something that you may be able to see by looking at my feed is that I’m a perfectionist and have a little OCD. Everything HAS to be perfect. All photos must look good together and every photo has to be perfect. Not good but perfect

What are 2 aspects of yourself that you consider to be very bad at?

Being patient and relaxed. My patience is terrible; I never stay at a location to wait for a shot for more than 30 minutes. The longest I’ve waited for a shot was 40 minutes. I wanted a subway station (one of the busiest one in Stockholm) to be completely empty. I think my patience is so bad because I’m stressed all the time. I hate to relax and sleep as I want to do something all the time. If you’re hanging out with me, don’t go expecting to meet at a café for coffee. 

Given that you’re 16, what are you currently studying and what are your future plans regarding photography as a career?

In Sweden we have “Grundskola” which is Grade 1-9. After which, it’s Gymnasium which is Grade 1-3 (or 10-12) and after that it’s Universitet. I just finished the “Grundskola” which is obligatory for all kids in Sweden. Now I’m moving on to Gymnasium where I’ll be studying Economy. I could study photography but I think it’s important to keep my hobby and school apart as photography provides a form of an escape from my normal boring life. Furthermore, I don’t want to fight to have photography as a job. If I’m able to do it for a living I’ll just let that happen in due course, I won’t rush it.

What is the one guilty pleasure that you enjoy too much to give up?

Subway sandwiches, I love them. Every time I’m out shooting that’s what I eat. Everyone talks about a varied diet but I only eat subway sandwiches and I just can’t stop. It’s quick, cheap and tastes good.

What would you suggest as a compulsory travel essential for someone travelling to Sweden?

A subway card. If you visit Sweden, you simply can’t not visit the subway. It’s crazy.  

What can we expect when we visit Sweden?

Nice people and small cities far away from each other. Oh, and tons of forest.

What made you venture into photography?

It all started when some friends and I started to do some videos (funny videos in our opinion). After a while we got tired of that and started to get into photography. Overtime, I took my photography to Instagram and built my interest further from there. 

Why did you want to do so?

I just loved to show off the world the way I see it because that’s really what my photography is all about - a recreation of what I see through my eyes.

Who are the photographers who have given you inspiration for your current style of photography? 

My main inspiration is @trashhand. He’s by far the best photographer out there. You can see that my work is inspired by him. He visited Stockholm last spring and I was lucky enough to meet him. @meetjulian has also been a huge inspiration to me. He was one of the first people I met on Instagram and we are really close friends.

When it comes to photography, what usually catches your eye? Why?

Dark and gritty places because these areas fit my style well. Furthermore, people don’t normally shoot those kinds of places.

How do you want your work to influence others?

Aside from wanting to inspire others to shoot, I also hope that through my photos I can also inspire others to visit Stockholm.

What equipment do you use to shoot?

I use a Canon 6D with a 17-40mm L lens and a 50mm lens.

What other styles of photography do you plan to venture into next?

Portraits. That’s a whole other game. It’s way more difficult than architecture and I’d love to get good at it.

Would you ever want to make photography as your full time career?

Both yes and no. I would love to make a living out of it but I also want to have something as a backup plan. I’ll probably be working at a “normal” job and do photography on the side. I think it’s important to keep photography and money apart from each other. It’s difficult though, to not make photography about money but make money from photography.

Why are you so captivated by architecture? 

It’s just something about it. Maybe it’s because it’s so relatively easy to shoot. It doesn’t move like people do. There’s also tons of different ways to shoot the same building and everyone sees the world in a different way.

Which is your favourite architectural shot that you have done this year?

This one. I shot it during my trip to Copenhagen which was the first sponsored trip I’ve been on. That church is in the outskirts of the city and it’s crazy. It’s almost always completely empty plus the lighting is perfect and it looks so cool. 

Could you share with us an interesting story behind some of your photographs you have sent us?

The one with the rainbow was a crazy moment. I was on my way home from a failed day of shooting. I hadn’t got a single good photo and it started raining so I headed home. I decided to take an alternative route than the one I normally take and I saw that rainbow. The rain was pouring and the light was just crazy. After I took that photo I started to run around the city to all my favorite locations to capture them in that crazy lighting. 

Have you met any photographers on Instagram?

I’ve met tons of photographers thanks to Instagram and all of them are good friends with me now, @trashhand@meetjulian@visualoptic@fint_@scottuzoho@petitmaitre@iamlofstrom@philthecabral and tons of other people. All of them are awesome and kind people who inspire me every day in one way or another. 

Moving onto the Stockholm underground tube, is it under a cave? Your photographs certainly make it look that way.

Sort of, I guess. All of those are far down under the ground and they have probably blown up the stone that were there before and that portrayed the look of a cave. A lot of them are formed like caves too. 

Your wide-angle lens must have played apart in capturing those shots; do you think you could have done so with a normal lens? What about with an iPhone?

Of course I could (with a normal lens) but it wouldn’t look as good. The wide angle really gives a dramatic effect and all the possibilities with a DSLR make it easy to shoot down there. It’s very dark in most stations so the photos from an iPhone wouldn’t turn out very great.

Where else in the world do you want to travel to in order to capture the beautiful city undergrounds?

NYC is my dream trip. I would love to shoot the subway in Moscow too (that looks crazy). I’m looking forward to going to London this summer. The subway is super cool and London has some rad architecture too. Paris and Chicago would be awesome too.

Why did you decide to shift from iPhonegraphy to producing DSLR images instead?

I felt like the iPhone started to limit me rather than help me. I wanted to try new kinds of photography that just wasn’t possible with an iPhone. 

What made you take the plunge? (Do you have any photo that you shoot with your iPhone that we can show our audience to allow them to see the difference.)

This was shot with my iPhone.

This was shot with my iPhone.

This is the same location shot with my DSLR.

This is the same location shot with my DSLR.

Playing with long exposures, attempting to shoot in dark locations and trying out different lenses were some of the benefits that a DSLR provided me with.

When you started out on Instagram around one and a half years ago, have you ever thought that you would hit 20k followers? What was your objective then and how has it change now?  

No. Not whatsoever. Of course I was dreaming about it but I never really thought that it would become reality, now here I am. It’s insane really. 20k is more than I can even imagine. My goal is the same as it was back than and as it will always be - to make my next photo better than the one I shot before it. I’m always trying to get a perfect photo, but honestly, I think that the day I think I’ve shot the perfect photo I’ll probably stop photography. Striving for the perfect photo is what keeps me going.

Lastly to sum everything up, what are your plans for the future?

I’m just going to keep doing better and bigger things. Meet new people, take better photos, get more jobs and get more followers. And keep getting closer to the perfect photo.