When gray becomes color

By: Mats Alfredsson | September, 2022

Fotograf Patrik Wennerlund interview SPART
Dreamy Ocean by Patrik Wennerlund

Think of the worst weather you can imagine.

Rain, wind, hail, storming snow and fog.


Then double it!


Then you have the absolute best weather Patrik Wennerlund can ask for when he challenges nature with his camera.

I meet up with Patrik one morning at a café in his hometown of Borås, Sweden. He’s sipping on a latte and that is how the story begins. When I ask him why he photographs it is like opening a faucet.


–  Images and photography are amazing, Patrik exclaims and his whole face lights up. Nothing compares to catching the world in an image. Everything looks different. Accentuated. I reflect my own feeling of the moment.

Patrik has been involved with images for as long as he can remember. In principle he was born into it. It is in his DNA. Already as a four or five year old he worked as a model in mail-order catalogues. His dad worked as an advertising executive and at 14 Patrik had made up his mind. He would also work in advertising.


And so it was! Art Director and Graphic Designer have been the titles on his business cards. Today he can add celebrated nature photographer.

‘The first camera ended up at the bottom of a glacier’

–  I got my first camera at 15, but it disappeared in a glacier in the Alps, Patrik exclaims with a laugh. Not a big loss, developing the film was expensive and the roll of film only contained party pictures of me and my mates.


Perhaps that was when he was inspired to experience dramatic nature experiences?


Being in the world of advertising the interest in images grew. Patrik would think of anything and everything with images in mind. He wanted to create his own images and the first step was macro photography.


– Did you know that the world is hairy? It’s really hairy, furry even. This is what I saw through the lens and then there was no turning back. All people saw of me was my ass up in the air, crawling on the ground.


Patrik asked himself, what would I want up on my own wall. He started printing his own images. Large images!


– It was a magic feeling.


Fotograf Patrik Wennerlund
Photographer Patrik Wennerlund
SPART Photo Art by Patrik Wennerlund in Dolomiterna
Coming up, Dolomiterna


‘Nature photography isn’t simple,
It only appears to be’

He was caught. Met up with other nature photographers. Participated in workshops. He photographed, spoke about photography with everyone, crawled in the mud, grilled hot dogs and was consumed by life as a photographer.


– At first glance one can easily view nature photography as simple, Patrik comments. Nature doesn’t run away, it’s just there. But nothing could be more wrong!


The sun, the clouds, the waves, the wind, the rain. Everything is ephemeral and changes constantly. What you see in one moment is gone in the next.


– I have a little island in the lake where I live outside Borås, Patrik tells me, I can’t stop photographing it and each image is unique. One can’t get tired of the transformation, that you can not know what happens next.


We look through the window of the café where we sit. The Viskan river flows amiably by as well as people on their way. Although the foundation is the same, the picture changes from one instant to the next. One just needs to learn how to see.


– I use instinct when I photograph. Experience has taught me to predict what may happen. The light changes in a hundredth of a second. Suddenly it starts to rain. The fog takes over. You can never know.

‘–  I love really shitty weather, that’s when I’m most at home’

SPART Interview Patrik Wennerlund
Moody III | Moody Collection

Patrik’s eyes light up when he tells of the perfect conditions for his style of photography.


–  I love really shitty weather. I find the essence in it. I seek out such places and opportunities. The gray weather transformes into my color images. If the sun is shining it almost always becomes black & white.

Look into Patrik’s portfolio and you will see it. A really good Wennerlund is dramatic. Gloomy. Wet. It is almost as if I can feel the wetness through my garb.


–  I have used this style of photography when photographing nature for about ten years. But it is only in the last five to six years that I finally see what I want. And these days I am very particular of what gets through.

‘­Mom’s funeral was a sign from above’

Patrik describes what he calls a hallelujah moment. A paradox of an experience.

He was supposed to have a meeting with the reverend before his mother’s funeral. Just before he had met up with the estate agent to sell his mother’s home. There was an hour between the two meetings. So not so much of a perfect day for creative inspiration. Then he saw it, how the almost unbelievable fog rolled in over the landscape.


–  I threw myself into the car and drove straight towards nowhere. Suddenly I see the sun trying to push through the gray. Yet it can’t. But the light that does come through is magical. There were images everywhere.


Patrik parks the car by the side of the road. Takes out the camera. He photographs nearly maniacally. The images are like a sign from above, a regard. One can see them in his portfolio under “Moody”.

‘My son may have saved my life’

It happens that Patrik is drawn to the urban drama of large cities. Hong Kong is a favorite. Images that he has put on display. One can be considered to be from one of his most dramatic moments, a close call.


–  I had my son Linus with me who was 16 at the time. We were in Soho and all of my attention was on the skinniest sky scraper I had ever seen. I took a step into the street, totally in my own bubble and had shut out the rest of the world when Linus brutally grabs my backpack and pulls me backwards. That perhaps saved my life.


A car driving at high speed with no intention of stopping broke the spell.


–  It was really close Patrik says with a sigh. But that’s the way it is. Sometimes the lens gives you a sense of invincibility…

Hong Kong Patrik Wennerlund
Smallest Skyscraper in Hong Kong

‘In the footsteps of James Bond’

We turn our conversation towards dream images, images he yearns to be able to photograph. The don’t exist he declares. Then again, there are many dream places.


Scotland is one of those places.


–  I spent some time in Glencoe, where they filmed Skyfall the Bond movie. It was really muddy and I walked straight towards the ocean. Suddenly I heard someone yell at me, loudly!


The tide was coming in and our beloved photographer from Borås was on his way to be surrounded by the ocean flowing in. Trapped by the tide. Again, that notorious bubble that one can so easily get caught in with the camera in hand.


–  Other fantastic places are Lofoten in Norway and the Faroe Islands. The weather there is almost always shitty Patrik laughs aloud and his eyes shine yet again.


His travels take him next to the outer Hebrides, 220 kilometers of islands on the west coast of Scotland.

‘–  I understand why the Scots drink whiskey’

–  I can choose Scotland at any moment in time. The food isn’t that tasty, but the Whiskey is all the better! And that goes a long way Patrik says with a smile.


Patrik chooses not to read up on new places. He wants to arrive with fresh eyes. His own drive is enough and so far, that has worked well!


–  I have an angry old man on my shoulder, he hits me and whispers in my ear; “You can do better”. I am extremely self-critical! But I primarily photograph for my own pleasure, not for loads of likes on social media.


All of us do well with a pat on the back every now and then. When I leave him after an hour and a half at the café in Borås he most certainly has received one from me. It won’t be the last.  

Photo by Patrik Wennerlund
Glencoe Scottland

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