Niklas Blomkvist is the Creative and Photography Director at IMS Vintage Photos.
His remarkable knowledge of photography is what makes him a key team player at IMS.
When we asked about where his passion for photography in particular started, he answered:
“My grandmother subscribed to fashion- and culture magazines and she always passed these on to me - I hungrily digested every page. When I became more aware of culture I was around 16-17 years old and that was in the 1980s, and post-modernism was ruling, meaning plenty of discussions in media on photography, context and so on. Also, a lot of my interest in photography is rooted in movies, especially Ingmar Bergman, Pasolini, Fellini and horror movies”.
As a 20-year-old he went to art school, studied painting and also started working at an art museum. Before that, he took evening courses in art history. Things developed from there.
His first job within the photo industry was actually at IMS Picture Agency.
He and CEO Gauti met in the office of NordicPhotos in Sweden during the mid-2000s and have been working closely since then:
“I applied as a “stand-in” for an employee leaving for maternity leave. We have been together in many situations and phases of the company, ups, and downs, and I think we complete each other in a good way” said Niklas.
Niklas has been part of the team since the beginning of the company that used to sell usage licenses in the picture agency.
“This is our life,” said Niklas when asked about why people should trust IMS Vintage Photos. “We are rooted in the photo industry since the beginning; we have been selling usage licenses in the picture agency industry, we have sold art photography in the photo gallery business and we have sold photographer services within the photo agency business”
The company had a very innovative approach and adjusted to the changes in the photography business. Initially hesitant, Niklas admits to now like the democratic aspect that, for a modest amount of money, anyone can get a unique photograph from former times. At first, he thought the unique photos should be stored in museums. However, since the files are now saved digitally for the future, which may otherwise not have happened to all of the archived photographs, selling them gives an opportunity to the people to own a piece of history.
The company is growing at a steady rate:
“I see very good potential in our business since it's really unique. The idea is simple and useful but difficult to execute without the combination of technical- and photo industry- know-how that is available within our company”.
Niklas is in contact with a lot of clients and his favorite aspects in his everyday job are that he gets to be surrounded by these totally fantastical, fascinating photographs all the time.
In fact, he is a collector himself:
“You’re a true collector when you feel a certain thrill going through your collected achievements” he explained, “I don't have a particular collecting thing going on. I have found out that documentary photography is one of my absolute favorite art forms. But I randomly invest in pieces I can't imagine living without. It can be a photo, a painting, a drawing, many times books”.
Niklas could go on for hours while naming all his favorite photographers: Cindy Sherman, Dafydd Jones, Lord Snowdon, Sally Mann, Cecil Beaton, Viviann Sassen, Nina Korhonen, Lars Wallsten, Eve Arnold, and Weegee - are just a few.
Niklas, as a private person, is dedicated to his partner, his work as an artist (since the end of the 1980s) reading and consuming culture in big portions, as well as fitness and exercising.
Working with pictures of such a high historical and artistic value require a very trained eye: “A photograph has that ability to directly go to your guts” he said, “ Probably because photography is a democratic and common medium there is no hierarchic obstacle, so a photo can immediately touch you, or not”. That is why, for Niklas, the greatest value is not just linked to the more materialistic values such as a photographer's signature, a numbered edition, and so on.
The value stands also in the accessibility and that ability to speak directly to the audience.
IMS Vintage Photos has a very dynamic team, and Niklas is proud to be part of it. He enjoys the unconventional approach and how things happen and develop. He wishes that people in the future will remember the company and how it actually made it possible for the average consumer to achieve a rare product with historical value to it.
Follow Niklas on LinkedIn!