Short profile

Per Appelgren, born 1984, is a German-Swedish fashion photographer living between Cologne and Berlin. He has worked for brands such as Gucci, Baldessarini and Douglas and his photographs have appeared in magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar. Recently, his work was on display in the solo exhibition “VIVID” in Cologne - supported by WhiteWall. In a book of the same name, he also shows a cross-section of his works.

In this interview, he talks about how he got into photography via a business degree, what inspires him, and his favorite camera to use.

portrait of Per Appelgren.


Can you tell us how you got into photography?

Rather in a roundabout way. Since my youth there has been a basic interest in cameras, fashion, and taking pictures in my free time. However, it took me until the middle of my Business & Politics Studies that I really got to work intensively with my entry-level DSLR, to understand how it really works, what possibilities it offers with its individual functions, etc.

In the end, it was something like an "awakening" for me and magically captivated me from one second to the next, so that I paused my studies for the time being (and later completed them) to dedicate myself 24/7 to the camera and photography. As a result, I initially photographed everything and everyone to practice, learn, and educate myself, which eventually resulted in various assistantships as well as a mentorship over 3 years & led me into professional photography.

bold lip makeup with red and orange asymmetric lines outside the natural line, lip biting.

Photo: Per Appelgren

Please share something about your images. What is your special interest?

My special interest is primarily people & the fashion or makeup they wear, focusing on the beautiful, special & rather unusual features and attributes that make a person stand out. I love to build an aura of trust through an intense connection to my counterpart in which we both (or the entire team) can develop completely free creatively and thus come to spectacular results. I like to play a lot with perspective, the constant movement of my subject, and usually very wide-angle focal lengths to get to my vision of the subject which is further enhanced by very intense, bold colors.  

on the left: person with light pink hair and make-up holding finger in front of mouth, on the right: person walking down the street.

Photo: Per Appelgren

How do you choose the colors, composition, themes etc.?

I would describe all my photography as "vivid" - through the choice of colors, compositions, perspectives, and movements, a dynamic is created, something very lively through which I want to draw the viewer into my image world and give a feeling of joy of life, beauty, and aesthetics. But also the feeling of being right there in the action, to feel the intensity and to perceive the photographed person very closely, which is possible through the use of ultra-wide angle lenses. The person in front of the camera cannot hide behind anything, it is a very direct way of communication of model and photographer.  

silhouette of a person with dark skin and bright orange lip make-up.

Photo: Per Appelgren

How do you get inspired? And what inspires you the most? This could be films, books or magazines or anything that surrounds you.

On the one hand, I feel very inspired by silence. Be it while meditating, a train ride with a view out of the window or at the sea and also in the woods. As soon as my mind experiences tranquility, an incredible number of ideas bubble up that I immediately put on paper (or voicemail ;)).  

But I'm also inspired by a visit to the museum, browsing through coffee table books or current fashion magazines as well as those from the 90s/2000s. I also always find pop culture to be an influence & inspiration on me and my work. 

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