In 2009 Swedish still life photographer Fabian Öhrn took a vacation to Hong Kong where through mutual friends he first met David Ericsson, founder of VOID Watches. At the time VOID was just a year old and had recently launched its analogue V02 watches along with its second iteration of the digital V01. Though the young company was able to grow its headquarters from David’s apartment and into a Sheung Wan shop front it didn’t have the visuals to accompany the product photos.
Following the introduction Fabian headed back to Sweden with a handful of square watches in his suitcase. There was no brief but an interest to simply photograph the watches.
Ten days after Fabian stepped foot in his Stockholm studio, VOID’s first campaign image emerged with said watches floating amongst a paper matrix. Since then the photographer has photographed two more sets of images for VOID, which, like all of his still life work is playfully technical.
Photographing anything from handbags, beauty products to Absolut bottles, his portfolio consistently explores new ways to skew light and reinvent the use of everyday materials.
In slew of publishing his third campaign with VOID, Fabian shares his truths about the creative process; a process that is never linear but an ongoing collection of personal developments, research, multiple mental notes in the shower and perseverance.
Hi Fabian, tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you originally from and where are you now?
Hi! I’m a still-life photographer living in NYC. Originally from a small island outside of Stockholm, Sweden. Right now I’m sitting in my office in the West Village, in a minor mess of Pelican cases, C-Stands rolled up gels.
When did your interest in photography begin?
I don’t know really, I think it’s one of those things that’s always been there. I don’t have these “when my uncle gave me a camera” or anything. I have always liked to depict things, to shape things, to build things. Photography just became my tool.
What format(s) do you shoot in?
FFF. Hasselblad’s own raw format. Megapixel is a hoax – you can shoot beautiful images with anything. But it helps to have a proper setup if you want to blow your image up on a billboard.
How many years have you been in the photography industry? What was one of your most memorable shoots?
Eight years now. And it’s been a lot of memorable shoots, but one special was the first shoot I did here in NYC for a magazine called DuJour. That’s a story for later, though.
Your work focuses on photographing products quite creatively – often floating, with ephemeral reflections, geometric spotlights and shot amongst everyday materials. What let you into such a direction and how did you come to have such a strong emphasis on products?
Well, what I do is a craft and the product is what I sell. But how I got to my style is mostly just imagination and hard work. I always liked ballet dance, it’s one of these things that seem completely effortless, when it’s done properly. But there’s so much time and effort put into that initial talent, rehearsing, fine tuning every step and every movement. I always want to create that same feeling in my photography, a directness. The hours spent planning, researching, rigging, and working on that one image should never show. I’m not completely sure it answered your questions, but maybe.
You’re responsible for VOID Watches’s first campaign where you’ve photographed our V01s and V02s floating amongst a paper matrix, there’s a sense of calm vertigo. How did you come up with this concept and how long did it take you to photograph and edit the main group shot?
Haha, well, like I just said it is a bit of a process and at the same time, not. Working in a creative field, you always have multiple tracks going in your mind at once. And you kinda cross between them. For me it has never really worked to sit down with a blank piece of paper, trying to come up with stuff. I have to just put down a mental note to start looking for this idea, then go on with my normal life and all of a sudden it just pops up. The hard thing is to recognise when it does, and then executing it. Most of the time I come up with ideas in the shower actually. After that, you just have to figure out how to actually make this new idea work. This particular image took about ten days from when I set foot in the studio, to when I delivered the file.
In the most recent series that you’ve shot for us you’ve photographed our V01MKIIs, V02MKIIs, and V03Ms within a deconstructed white landscape. Can you share your thought process behind this shoot?
I’ve been really into 3D rendering, CGI and that kind of thing lately. I think it was from there these polygon shapes just kept popping up in my head. But I wanted to build them for real.
What does a ‘usual’ day in the studio look like for you?
Open Spotify, press play, coffee, emails, phone calls, proof-checking, coffee, red and green arrows, curves one percent left or right, coffee, dog walk, emails, retouching, researching different type of wood, more arrows, obsessing over a new shade of white, coffee, dog walk, press pause. Repeat.
If you weren’t a photographer what would you be?
A dog walker.
What’s your relationship to time?
What’s your favourite time of day?
If you had two more hours every day, how would you invest it?
Make 6.30am two hours longer.
What would you say are your weaknesses?
I actually never really know when to stop. People sometimes say that, but it has become a real problem for me. I once had a assistant who dragged me from the camera to show that everyone had left the studio, suggesting it might be time to call it a day.
Is there anything you’d like to recommend?
The Last Magazine, best publication in New York. And lemon pasta.
Any last words?
Thanks for your attention!
See more of Fabian's work:
• By placing an order on www.voidwatches.com you agree and accept to the terms and conditions below.
• While VOID Watches offers free worldwide shipping, customers are responsible for paying for any local charges such as sales taxes, VAT, customs duty and any handling fees placed by their country of purchase and/or delivery.
• Your card information is transmitted over a secure SSL encryption and is not stored.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
1. VOID provides free worldwide shipping for all online orders.
All cart orders of 165USD AND ABOVE are shipped using FedEx Express. The shipping time for these deliveries are approximately 3-5 working days and are fully trackable.
All cart orders BELOW 165USD are shipped using registered airmail. Shipping time for these deliveries are approximately 3-4 weeks and have limited tracking.
Should you require faster delivery, upgrade to express shipping at checkout for an additional 15USD.
2. If you wish to expedite your shipment in less than 3 days please contact us on email@example.com, and we will try to arrange a faster shipping method at an additional cost if possible.
3. It takes between 1-3 days to process each order. Once processed, a shipping confirmation email will be sent out along with a tracking reference number. Please refer to your shipping confirmation email for details regarding our shipment.
4. While we provide free shipping, we are not responsible for local charges (sales tax / VAT, customs duty, handling fees) that may occur. These charges are at the customers own expense. Since duties and taxes vary by country we are not able to supply an estimated cost. Please refer to your local customs office for more information. Shipping fees and taxes will not be refunded for packages that are refused due to VAT/duties.
5. Please note that our office hours are as followed: Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm. Orders placed between Friday and Sunday will be dispatched the following working day.
Also note that during 2017 no shipments will be sent during the following public Hong Kong holidays:
Tuesday, April 04 / Ching Ming Festival
Friday, April 14 / Good Friday
Saturday, April 15 / Post Good Friday
Monday, April 17 / Easter Monday
Monday, May 01 / Labour Day
Wednesday, May 03 / The Buddha's Birthday
Tuesday, May 30 / Dragon Boat Festival
Saturday, July 01 / Special Administration Region (SAR) Day
Sunday, October 01 / National Day
Monday, October 02 / National Day Holiday
Thursday, October 05 / Day After Mid Autumn Festival
Saturday, October 28 / Chung Yeung Festival
Monday, December 25 / Christmas Day
Tuesday, December 26 / Boxing Day
6. All products are shipped out from our head office:
VOID Watches LTD
Unit 1204, Hollywood Centre,
233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
7. As delays are inevitable, this may be due to custom clearance at destination, and VOID therefore holds no liability over delays. However, all shipments are insured at the expense of VOID Watches.
8. Unclaimed orders - If our courier is unable to successfully deliver your package to you we will have to charge you for the shipping and handling back to us. Remember that you will receive a tracking number and tracking information in your Shipping Confirmation.
1. We want all our customers to be happy with their purchases. If our products do not meet your expectations and you would like to exchange or return your purchase, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org within 14 working days from receiving the goods. Goods must be returned to:
VOID Watches LTD,
Unit 1204, Hollywood Centre,
233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
2. All goods must be returned in the condition in which they were received and with the original packaging intact. Only the amount paid for the product(s) will be refunded in the manner in which you originally paid (For example, PayPal will be returned via your PayPal account).
3. At this time we do not provide pre-made shipping labels for returned and exchanged items.
4. For the return and exchange of VOID products purchased from other retailers, please contact them directly for their returning policy.
1. All our timepieces and cufflinks are covered by a two-year worldwide warranty, from the date of purchase. Excluding select items where otherwise stated such as discontinued products or certain sale items.
2. The warranty covers any and all parts of the watch that may need repair due to defects in materials or workmanship under normal use. VOID Watches’s obligations hereunder are limited to repair or replacement at its option. The warranty may be rejected on products showing evidence of extreme use such as a broken crystal or dented case.
3. The warranty excludes straps or bracelets and excessive wear or damages to the case, crystal or strap of a timepiece. VOID Watches is not liable for any consequential or incidental damages, and any recovery may not exceed the amount paid for the timepiece.
4. The warranty excludes batteries, due to time spent in warehousing and shipping, may be partially run down by the time of sale. All watches go through 100% battery check before dispatch.
5. The buyer is required to produce a proof of purchase upon request.
6. For warranty issues, please contact VOID Watches at email@example.com.