Written by Sam Kohn
Freelance travel photographers Frida and Leo talk to us about their most memorable trips, the challenges posed by lockdown, and their Land Rover adventures on Somewhere Wilder.
Can you tell us a little about how you got into photography?
Frida: I studied photography at uni and – ironically – hated it. My course leaned more towards fine-art, which I’ve never really been interested in shooting. It was only when I did my final project (revisiting a family cabin in the Norwegian mountains) that I realised being out in the sticks is what I love most about photography.
Leo: I studied architecture, so I spent a lot of time videoing buildings for my degree. Videography naturally
Do you have any favourite photographers that have influenced your work?
Frida: We find most of our favourite photographers on Instagram. Tom Hegen (@tomhegen.de) is one of the best for interesting textures and colours – he takes aerial photos of rivers, salt lakes, and manmade landscapes that lookcompletely alien.
Leo: One of my favourites is Reuben Wu (@itsreuben). He attaches neon lights to moving drones and captures them withslow shutter speed cameras to create surreal, dream-like images. I’m always keen on photographers who incorporate videography into their work.
We can see from your Instagrams that you’ve been all over the world, from Bali and Sri Lanka to the Southern Alps of New Zealand – what’s been your favourite place to photograph so far?
Frida: Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand isone of the most breath-taking places we’ve ever seen. We’ve been back four or five times now and we’re just blown away every time – it’s especially amazing at sunrise, when the morning light hits the mountaintops.
Leo: Mount Cook also holds a special place in our hearts because it was the first place we were ever sent ‘on assignment’ by a brand. It was the first time it clicked for usthat photography could be something serious and not just a hobby.
You’ve got some awesome drone shots on your socials – what’s the process like for getting these?
Frida: Drones are actually a ton of work, especially when it comes to the legality of it all. Most tourist hotspots have banned them, so we always have to research local drone laws before taking them anywhere. It’s also difficult to know what’ll photograph well until you’re up in the air, so we spend a lot of time on Google Earth to see what might look coolfrom above.
Leo: Drone photography is mostly Frida’s thing. When she’s flying the drone, her eyes are literally glued to the screen, so I’ll keep an eye out for trees and tall buildings to help her not to crash. So far, we’ve had zero incidents, except for the time I had to canoe full-speed through a glacial lake to save it from drowning when the motor died.
Do you have a particular photo or project that you’re especially proud of?
Frida: The project I’m most proud of is my aerial study of Lake Lefroy in Western Australia. I studied the salt lakes at length when I was at uni, but I never thought I’d actually get to visit them in person… cut to 2019 and we’re chartering a private plane across the lakes with a drone in tow. Nothing can prepare you for the scale of it from up there – the ethereal, skin-like textures look like abstract paintings coming to life.You can see the full project here: https://www.fridaberg.
As people who love (and live!) to travel, what was lockdown like for you?
Leo: In the two years before lockdown, we spent almost 16 months living out of backpacks (in other countries), so lockdown was definitely a strange time. It’s been a little boring, but we’ve definitely benefitted from slowing down and taking a break from always thinking about the next ‘big trip’.
Frida: Yeah. We’ve actually
You set up Somewhere Wilder last year to show off your Land Rover adventures. Can you tell us more about that?
Frida: Somewhere Wilder started as a way for us to keep our families up-to-date with our travels, but it’s grown into something bigger over the past year – it’s essentially become a platform for us to share more candid stories and photos with our followers from our time on the road.
Leo: Yeah. It’s nice to have an account where we can post content that’s free from the constraints and expectations of ‘professional’ photography… pictures of the car, pictures of Henry… that sort of thing. It’s like a behind-the-scenes look at life in a Land Rover – whatever that means.
We also noticed that you’ve started selling illustrated prints on Etsy. How do you go about making these?
Leo: The first illustration either of us did was a drawing of Berlin Frida gave me a surprise card (we were going there for my birthday). A year later, we found the card in a drawer and thought hey, that looks pretty good! I played around with digital illustrations for a few hours and posted a drawing of a bike on my Instagram – a couple hours later, a friend messaged asking where he could buy one. We realised then that there was could be a market for digital illustrations.
Frida: We started by looking back over our archives and figuring out what would look good as a drawing. We’ve got about 35 illustrations up on Etsy now, with more to come (as soon as we can get back on the road!). During lockdown, weended up sketching places from our bucket list since we ran out of content – living vicariously through our posters, if you will.
Do you have anything exciting on the horizon you can tell us about?
Frida: My photography is being featured in an upcoming book: Accidentally Wes Anderson. It’s a collection of photography that looks like stills from Wes Anderson movies. Wes actually wrote the foreword, so I’m beside myself that he’s actually have seen my work with his own eyes!
Leo: We’ve also got a few trips lined up around the UK over the next few months – we’ll be taking the Landy and the drone, so for the most part, it’s business as usual. You can expect more photography and blogs from us while we wait for the COVID storm to pass.
Finally, do you have any advice for any budding travel photographers out there?
Leo: Take as many photos as you can.
Frida: Exactly. There’s this idea that it takes about 10,000 hours to become a professional in any field – the same is probably true for photography. 10,000 photos is a good place to start.
Leo: People forget that our Instagrams are highlight reels. We have literally terabytes of photos that aren’t good enough to be posted anywhere… but who knows, maybe they’ll make good drawings someday.
Head over to Frida and Leo’s Instagram page @somewherewilder to check out more of their amazing work.