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March - Kay Berg.

This photographer was inspired by another Norwegian, Morten Krogvold, who incidentally was a Hasselblad Master in 2002. Berg became his assistant and went on from there. The portraits in the calendar are from Mali.

Kay Berg remembers an exhibition he saw in 1992 in Bergen, on the west coast of Norway. It was a collection of portraits by his fellow countryman Morten Krogvold – a Hasselblad Master in 2002 – and it was this event that started Kay Berg towards his career in photography. From then on, no other occupation was up for discussion.
After three years of studies, Kay attended a workshop given by Morten Krogvold and followed that by becoming his assistant. He then ventured out on his own with portraits and advertising as his chosen fields.


Naming a few photographic sources of inspiration, Kay mentions Richard Avedon, Irving Penn. These choices perhaps set the scene for his way of portraying the world. But behind the imagery is an intention to not only develop as a photographer but also to inspire others which he intends to do through the medium of books. He has two publications to his name already, and others are being planned. One of his books – ‘Infected’ – is no lightweight as it deals with people stricken with HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Kenya. It portrays people coming to terms with the massive changes that inevitably must take place if their communities are to continue. Despite the inevitable pain and loss, not least felt by all the orphans, hope is also illustrated. Income from the book goes towards helping these people.

In his other book  – ‘European Portraits’ – he takes on a different subject matter. This time it is portraits of people and personalities involved in cultural activities in some way, selected from nine cities in Europe. The project itself would have been an exercise in logistics, but Kay Berg succeeded quite obviously. He contacted the people involved and let them choose the place where they could meet and be photographed. The result is a collection of portraits varying from classic to informal where practically all the sitters look straight at the camera; a recognisable trait in Kay Berg’s work.

 


So, when out in the world, what camera is Kay’s choice? The answer is a Hasselblad 501C together with a Zeiss Planar CFE 2.8 / 80 mm and a Zeiss Makro-Planar CFE 4 / 120 mm lens. Assurance and quality are the reasons that he gives when asked why. As Kay has portraiture as one of his main interests, he takes up a point of interest regarding the way he works. He feels there is an intense communication between the photographer and those being photographed and this shouldn’t be masked off in any way. Consequently he prefers to work with a Hasselblad, as opposed to a 35 mm camera, to be able to maintain the contact and compose within the viewfinder.

By the very nature of Kay’s projects, finance it is not a straightforward matter. Therefore various other commercial photographic assignments are taken on to fill half his time leaving the rest for personal projects. This process is not straightforward and he feels humility and patience go a long way to achieving goals. Commitment to photography has to be an element too as well as a willingness to work continuously. And regarding that last point it is obvious that that is how Kay sees his career. He doesn’t see a distinction between his work and his leisure time; commitment diverting most of his energies towards his projects.


Kay Berg has already acquired some interesting additions to his CurriculumVitae. He has had several one-man exhibitions in Norway, France, Finland and Iceland. He has received six grants from various sources to continue his work. Two books have been published and three photographic prizes awarded. If things continue in this manner then we should expect to see much more from Kay Berg in the future.