Lisa is a world-class photographer and a self-described "young soul", travelling the world and catching moments. Her work takes her to places many of us could only dream of experiencing, endless mountain ranges, wild oceans and acres of untouched lands- not to mention stumbling across plenty of wildlife. Vamp caught up with Lisa Paarvio to find out more about her nomadic lifestyle in combination with her passion for photography.
When did your artistic journey begin?
I started later than many might think. It’s not one of those textbook photographer love stories that many can tell. I can’t say that my love for photography started when my grandpa gave me a camera when I was a little girl. My story is a little different. I ended up being a photographer by complete chance. When I was 19, halfway through my studies to be a sports physiotherapist, I found myself feeling lost; I had to quit studying from one day to another, due to a chronic skin disease.
At this point, I had lost the one thing I loved doing the most, and I didn’t know what to do or in what direction to head next. But there was a hidden talent and a burning passion inside of me, one I had neglected over the years, my creativity. I have this budding creative talent deep inside of me; drawing, painting, or even creating sculptures. I feel it is something I am blessed to have.
On the path to adulthood, my creativity became lost along the way, until the moment I found myself searching for the next step after leaving that first course. So, I wouldn’t have to wait for another year I began looking at other options quite hastily. That’s the moment when my mother came to me and said: “just get back to what you can do best girl. Use your creative talents. Be creative”.
I was never into photography beforehand. I never owned a camera or did my family. But I came across an advert by accident that caught my attention. “Study photography”. So, I just decided to give it a shot. And what can I say? It ended up in a lifetime love story.
What inspires you?
In a word, nature. The simple primary life forms and the cycle of nature. The sun, the moon, how their natural light dances through the hills, the trees and waves of the ocean. How the movement of the clouds and the wind always create new shades and light reflects on the ground or surface of the water. I am entirely inspired by nature. The simple yet complicated way it works.
How would you describe your style?
I would tend to say my style of shooting is very natural. I am not a fan of staging scenarios, nor am I a heavy image editor. I love to show the natural beauty of things. Use what nature or the situation provides me, rather than trying to create false or surreal scenarios.
Can you describe your creative process?
My creative process for a photo-shoot is pretty simple, and over the years, it’s become automatic. Based on the client brief and their brand language, my thoughts pretty quickly guide me to the exact style and image-look I am aiming to achieve.
I am a so-called “real picture thinker”, a person who uses visual thinking almost to the exclusion of other kinds of thinking. So, in the whole process of discussing the needs of my clients, I naturally and continuously create images in my mind. These are pretty much imprinted, and once I get to shoot, it just flows all pretty naturally since I have exactly the picture in mind.
What keeps driving you forward in your artistic journey?
I guess it is the hunger to explore more new and wild spaces, to gain new skills and experiences that drive me forward as both a person and a photographer.
Over the last few years, I’ve had incredible opportunities to travel and work in such varied locations. Whether it is shooting big wave surfing competitions on the Atlantic coast, to winter mountaineering in the Caucasus at -20, moments like this fulfil me emotionally, spiritually and creatively. They keep pushing me forward.
How have you managed during Covid-19?
Covid-19 was and is a challenging one. Up to earlier this year, I travelled extensively for my work, and not being able to travel at all, effectively meant no work.
I’ve had to learn to be creative in different ways due to the pandemic. Creative in how to approach brands and clients at these difficult times and how to push potential shoots. I had to get super flexible with prices and locations. I was lucky enough that my clients and I were able to adapt to the situation swiftly. We started doing photo shoots more local rather than travelling overseas to get the content we wanted/ needed.
It is still a new daily battle, but I think adapting to the situation is the only solution we have. We can’t sit around and wait for everything to return to “normal”. Whatever “normal” actually was or meant. We need to adapt now and be open to change.
Do you have a favourite piece and is it hard to part with your work?
It is hard to say, right now, I feel I don’t have one piece that stands out above the rest. Partly that’s down to how I feel about my work, which is also wrapped up with the experience. It’s also about the people I have travelled with and met along the way, not to mention the location and journey.
So. for what some photographers may encapsulate in one image, for me it may be spread out over fifty images. I intend to create a tapestry of my experiences and have big plans on the horizon.
What has been your proudest career highlight to date?
I was pretty excited when I landed my very first Redbull athletic project shoot some years back. It was such an honour to have a big brand like them trusting in my work and creative eye.
What do you love most about your profession?
I love that photography has so many different sectors. There are so many incredible ways to be creative with a camera. So many other subjects to photograph, so many different ways to create and shoot. The total freedom of creativity is one of the things I love the most about my profession.
What does 2021 have in store?
I wish I could tell. With the whole pandemic and current situation, it is tough to plan far ahead. But I have some locations and projects coming up in 2021; I am looking forward to doing. These include a ten-day Artic Tundra ski tour, camping in the wilderness in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, a desert project and a Patagonia/ Chile trip to mention a few!
Finally, what is your favourite place to capture?
Definitely nature and underwater scenes. I can’t isolate it down to one specific place on earth. But I am the happiest up in the high rough, lonely mountains and the depths of our beautiful oceans.
To view the latest collections and for more information about Lisa visit