My name is Johan Jehlbo and I am a photographer from southern Sweden. Originally from Malmö but now living in the countryside with my family. I am one of the founding members of the international photography collective Full Frontal (Flash).
I’ve always had a camera in one form or another but didn’t take photography seriously until my son was born. I used to make music but when I couldn’t make any noise at night I needed a quieter outlet for my creativity.
I picked up my camera and shortly thereafter I stumbled upon the term Street Photography and realized that almost all the photos I liked could be defined by this term. I spent the next couple of years learning everything about the genre that I could.
Even when I don’t do street photography I still shoot in the same way and use the same style that I always have. I owe everything to street photography in that sense. My main focus has always been people and the use of flash. I started using flash to be able to zone focus on smaller apertures even in the darker months in Sweden but when light came back in spring I was hooked on the aesthetics that the flash gave my photos.
When I first started with street photography I spent all of my free time walking with a camera ready, looking for that candid moment. More focused on the single photo. But after a while I found myself thinking more in terms of projects and series. To build a body of work rather than looking for that one single photo. The projects I work on are usually planned around events, even though I don’t shoot the event in itself.
In whatever context I take a photo I feel the importance to shoot in the same kind of way, same ratio, same lightroom edit, same style – to be able to combine photos afterward in different series or projects. I just have two presets in Lightroom, one film simulation for color and one for black and white.
I still try to walk around with my camera whenever time and the weather permits. I try to always have a camera with me or laying around in the house. My family finds me a bit annoying at times, using them as subjects for my photos.
I usually take a walk in the morning, when I drop my son off at school. Usually in the cities of Malmö or Lund but I also like to take a drive in the countryside looking for something different. During the pandemic I did a lot more of this, using the car window to frame scenes.
When it comes to projects I’ve been working on both long and short term projects and the one that lasted the longest is from the fairs and markets in rural southern Sweden. Every summer huge traveling outdoor marketplaces go from one place to the other in the countryside. It used to be the happening of the year before the world got smaller and more easy to access, but it’s still a big deal when it comes to town. In 2020 the market circuit was cancelled for the first time and I decided it was a suitable end to a first part of the project, with photos from 2014-2020. My aim is to get it published in book form in one way or another.
As mentioned, my family is often used in my photos as well. I like to shoot what I know or where I know. I love to travel to take photos as well, but I often end up with tourist photos or photos of my photography friends taking photos. Even so, I still dream of that epic photographic road trip.
When I travel as a photographer, it’s more about socializing with other photographers at festivals or teaching workshops with Full Frontal, which I have done a few.
I’m not a documentary photographer, I’m not objective–my photos are more about me and how I see the world. I have the need to do something creative and to feel that I have accomplished something that will last. I love photography, taking photos, looking at them, editing and sequencing them–I love photography almost as much as I love music, and that’s a lot!