Flemming Bo Jensen is a friend and someone who I’ve featured here on Shifter many, many times. He sleeps his way through Machu Picchu, he can quote any Star Wars scene you choose, and he speaks a strange language that I’m ninety percent sure is fake. And he has David Bowie hair. He is also a photographer who works with a variety of groups, brands and organizations including Red Bull and Fujifilm. But when I think about Flemming, more than anything else, I think about music. Music is his life. Photography is simply a bridge that allows him the access and time to engage with those who play. As you will see in this film, his preferred existence would be as a musician, as someone who lives on stage, but that may or may not ever be in the cards. What is in the cards is being there to capture the essence with his camera.
Brands can’t help themselves. Most of the time, brands do what they have already seen. They play it safe. They play the numbers. Butts in seats. Social following. All the while they watch as the soul of their brand slowly trickles out. The truly pioneering brands takes chances and change the world, but these brands are few and far between. In terms of brands, I would put Fuji in the middle. They both play it safe, the majority of what I see, and then sometimes they play near the edges of the field. Often times, the edgier stuff is subtle, mostly conveyed via the script, by what is being said more than what is being seen. I get it. One foot in the world of playing it safe, and one foot in the “we want to get a different message out.”
I like this film. I like the script, and I like what Flemming is saying. Yes, yes, you know you are going to hear “The XT5 is…….X.” That’s a given, but that expected story doesn’t overwhelm the process and purpose behind what Flemming does and why he does it. The imagery is what matters. I love his take on “images make themselves timed to the beat.” Almost as if a trance state is where things happen. In sync with the sensory experience. I’ve seen a fair amount of Flemming’s music work and there are some truly stellar images that will only become more and more important as these bands rise or fall from prominence.
Historically, photography surrounding the music industry has been some of the most valuable and sought after of any genre. Now, something I find hilarious is that I hardly ever know any of the bands that Flemming shoots. Literally never heard of them. But when I see his imagery it makes me want to go and see for myself. I want to see those crazy, Danish, deep house, dub, ambient young people and experience what they are experiencing. The crowd is a huge part of this work, at least it is for me.
The last thing I’ll mention is love. Flemming doesn’t do this work for social following or because he thinks it will make him famous. He does it because he LOVES music. Love is the underlying power source, and sadly this puts him in a tiny minority in the photography world. Brands who partner with social stars never seem to understand the hollow feeling the viewer gets knowing the photographer is just playing a part. When you see a brand partner with someone who is invested in the subject matter, at a DNA level, it is instantly apparent and leave the viewer wanting more. Kudos to the folks at Fuji for featuring a working photographer who speaks to images more than kit.