Lens On: Kari Sverriss

Get to know the Icelandic image maker.

Hailing from Iceland’s capital Reykjavík, Kari Sverriss is fast establishing himself as a beauty and fashion photographer to watch. Following completion of his master’s degree in Fashion Photography at London’s College of Fashion back in 2014, the image maker has since put his lens to a plethora of high end publications and projects worldwide – Wonderland amongst them.

Tell us about how you first got involved in photography.

I bought my first camera in 2005, I was working as a visual merchandiser in a big fashion company at the time; I felt like I wanted to do something more creative so I decided photography could be the right path. I started experimenting with my camera and within a year I started working for a magazine taking all kinds of pictures: portraits, food, interior, and then I moved into fashion a few months later. I shot my first fashion story in 2007, and I felt I was definitely on the right path. I worked part time as a photographer for a few years until I decided in 2012 I wanted to work full time (as a photographer). I moved to London and did a master’s degree in Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion. I graduated in 2014 and I’ve been working full time as a fashion and beauty photographer since then.

What do you enjoy shooting the most?

I really like fashion editorials. There is something about when everything comes together in one shoot, the clothes, the makeup, the light, the hair and when I manage to capture a really nice moment. It’s like magic for me.

And what’s the most exciting shoot you’ve ever done?

I think it’s when I shot with models.com icon/ top model, Meghan Collison. She’s been on my list to work with for a long time. We were shooting a cover story for Glamour Iceland – the shoot took place in Iceland, we flew in a stylist from London and a makeup artist from London, and the rest of the team was also from Iceland. We had two shooting days and we had a storm, wind, rain, snow, the weather was really extreme; Meghan was so nice to work with and she didn’t complain once. Even if it was work we had a lot of fun on set and we were all very happy with the outcome.

Which photographers inspire you?

Mario Testino, Oliviero Toscani, Steven Meisel and Corrine Day.

You shoot in both Iceland and the UK, what’s it like to shoot in these two different landscapes.

I travel a lot between Germany, UK and Iceland. These countries all have different scenarios which I really like. What I really like about London is the urban feeling, industrial areas and busy streets. In Iceland we have so many different landscapes, you can drive around for a day and see 5-10 very different landscapes, which is great for shooting a fashion story. Germany is kind of a mix of both, and I love shooting in the countryside, it feels like going back 50 years in time.

Studio or location: which do you prefer and why?

I love shooting on location, I really like natural light and when I shoot on location I only use a reflector and daylight. I prefer this because for me it feels more natural, and the outcome often feels more like a story than something shot in a studio.

When I shoot beauty, I tend to shoot only in studio because I have more control and it’s easier for everyone to work in a studio when focusing on makeup and hair.

What are you hoping to achieve as a photographer?

I would like to travel more and be successful worldwide, shoot big campaigns, and have freedom to create concepts and editorials for high end magazines all around the world. I also have a passion for documentary photography, I would love to be able to combine my passion for fashion and documentary photography in the near future. My final major project was about using fashion photography to raise awareness of social issues and that’s something that I would love to be able to do, first I want to earn enough money to be able to take time off to focus on projects related to social issues and combine it with fashion photography.


Kàri Sverriss
Ryan Cahill
Lens On: Kari Sverriss

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