Tonje Lilleås

A way of seeing

Photography is my way of seeing the world.

As a child I was given a camera that my parents had gotten as a freebie and a roll of film. I remember the excitement as I shot images of our neighbors and neighborhood (and the royals). I could hardly wait for the images to be developed, and when I first saw them I felt both really proud and really disappointed. Proud because these were my images that I had taken all by myself, and disappointed because they were all really blurry. Nevertheless I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to create more images.

Now you may think that I was one of those kids that spent all my time  with a camera in my hands from this day forward. That all my money was saved up for my first SLR, or that I went to school studying photography and was assistant to photographers learning the ropes. But that is not my story. I didn’t shoot my first SLR before it had become DSLRs and I’m all self taught. So what is it about photography that has kept its attraction since I got my first camera as a child?

A way of seeing

Looking through the lens makes the world easier to understand to me. It helps me declutter and focus on what’s important. Photographing a scene provides a way for me to shut out all the noise. In that I find beauty.

The world is so full of impressions. I can easily feel overwhelmed and stressed out by all of it. The sound, the light, the movement, the mood. What’s being said and done as well as what’s not being said but is still vibrating in the air. Taking it all in can feel a bit too much. Therefore having a tool that helps me kill the noise feels amazing.

Photography becomes a way of seeing the world in all its beauty. I believe that beauty can be found in every scene if you just know how to look for it, and to me the camera helps me get there.

A way of expression

Photography also helps me express myself. Now for those of you who know me in person, you would probably say that expressing myself is the least of my problems. However it’s not always easy to know if what I’m expressing is really me, right?

When photographing I feel that my images comes from a truer part of me. It’s not so much brain and logic, more heart. My hopes are that it’s the heart of the viewer my images reach as well. I think I would be really disappointed if I produced only images that spoke to the mind.

The important message of my images

But how many hearts can be touched by the kind of photography I do, you might ask. And my answer has to be that I don’t know. Having focused on landscapes and lifestyle, I can see that it might not be clear to everyone that I have a message. So what is my message?

You may say it’s love. Love nature, love freedom, love your neighbors and those you don’t know. Most of all I think it’s love the fact that you get to live.

One could also argue that it’s a call to see the beauty. However filled with madness, carelessness, selfishness and evil, the world is most of all beauty. It doesn’t matter if you focus on nature, man made things or man itself, it’s all beauty.

I however think the main message is a call to action. Through my images I’m asking the viewer to help preserve all the love and beauty of the world. A cliche maybe, but that doesn’t make it less important or real.

Why do I feel compelled to share though?

If I didn’t have a message, I wouldn’t share. I would still photograph as it is the only way for me to see the beauty myself. Nevertheless it would not be necessary to share, to be one in the millions of photographers out there posting images daily, if I didn’t have something I wanted to express.

If I’d like likes I’d share copies of images that everyone else is getting likes from. If I wanted repute I’d do fine art photography that I hardly understand myself. I’d shoot all my images on that blurry, old, plastic film camera I got as a child and tell you that the blur was a metaphor for something important and deep.

All I want is to share my version of beauty. And hope that I through it speak to a persons heart so message gets through. If you have seen the beauty, you will inevitably be concerned about preserving it.

If you liked this post and want to see more of my favorite images, check out the portfolio Personal Works. Also if you’d like to just see my latest images without having to read long blogposts, consider subscribing to my newsletter or following me on Instagram. I truly wish you all the very best of days and a happy Easter!



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.