THE WORLD's BEST photographer is Danish
Erik Refner catches your soul
He has an unusual ability far beyond the norm, to catch what lies behind the façade. Even the most unsympathetic politicians appear in the newspapers as 'real' people, with depth and vulnerability; caught in a split second- Refner’s split second, which is very different from yours and mine. Just as you’re mentally preparing for the shoot and trying to remember which side is your best, it’s a wrap.
With ambition, his heart in the right place and a charming awareness of his own talent, it just gets better day by day.
Whether it is photography or film he catches a purity in his subjects that is very moving. Refner loves Rockabillies as subjects for his art. His film ’Mother’ done as a campaign for a Danish jeans label was shot during the yearly Rockabilly gathering in Spain. The film brilliantly shows girls and guys describing their mothers – in a humorous as well as a very heartfelt way.
Refner was born on january 14. 1971 in Copenhagen and grew up north of the city. After the 10th grade he travelled the world and spent 3 months in Kibbutz in Israel. Upon his return, he became a sergeant in the Danish army.
Erik has worked for Berlingske Tidende, (the Danish Times) since 2002. He has received numerous prizes - Visa d'Or (2001). He has won Award of Excellence in "Picture of the Year" three times – twice in 2002, for Picture Issue Reporting and in Feature Picture Story category, and also in 2003 in Feature Picture category. He was named '"Photographer of the Year" in Denmark 2003/2004 and is represented by Ashley Woods Marketing and by Portfolio-CPH, commercial photography.
What is your biggest achivement?
My biggest achievement professionally is to have one of my photos named the world’s best press photo. This happened in 2001 and later I received 4 more prizes in the World Press Photo- no one has achieved that before, so it makes me very proud.
What’s the worst thing about you?
That I have no pedagogic skills, thanks to my dad. I clearly remember the nights he tried to teach me math and chemistry. Not pretty.
For this same reason, I have stopped teaching workshops in photography. I can’t stand listening to the various reasons and excuses for why things didn’t come out as planned- or why the technique didn’t work. I have no patience for people who are not passionate about what they do. Photography is all about very simple technique, insight and the will to do something unique- without passion, you should not enlist in one of my workshops.
Which living person do you admire the most?
Hard to say- would have liked to say Bonn Scott from AC/DC, but he’s passed away.
In which areas do you splurge?
I love architecture, design and to be surrounded by high quality things…so I’ll have to say, my home.
How are you feeling right now?
I finally feel good after 3 years, during which a divorce took up a lot of my energy.
What is your biggest fear?
To die young- I’m soon to be a dad.
What is the quality in other people you admire the most?
People with big hearts- people who are able to forgive. I guess because I often need forgiveness.:)
Who are your favorite artists?
I have a lot of favorites -Grand Master Flash, James Brown, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Michael Kvium, Carl de Keyzer, Martin Parr
When have you felt the happiest?
I feel very happy right now….I’m with a beautiful woman who is giving birth to my first child very soon.
Would you change anything about yourself?
-My nose- it’s huge!
Where would you like to live?
I want to live in Chile
How would you like to die?
I would love to die among the people I love- surrounded by midgets I don’t know.
What is your most significant characteristic?
Your motto, if any?
-Anything is possible if you believe in it.