Please share a bit about your background as photographer.
Magnus Wennman have been working as a photojournalist since the age of 17 when he started his career with a local Swedish newspaper, DalaDemokraten. Since 2001 he has worked as a staff photographer on Scandinavia’s biggest daily paper, Aftonbladet. Magnus concentrates mainly on news stories and documentary filmmaking and has worked in more than 70 countries around the world. He has covered a number of stories including the 2008 US Presidential elections, the Red Shirt protests in Thailand, and the plight of refugees in Africa, Middle East and Europe. He has won prestigious photo awards, both in Sweden and internationally, including five World Press Photo awards, 16 Picture of the Year international awards, 11 NPPA:s Best of Journalism awards, and 57 Swedish Picture of the Year awards. He has been awarded "Photojournalist of the year" in Sweden five times.
What type of photographer are you?
Documentary photographer and filmmaker.
What are your favorite motives?
I work mainly with news and feature stories. These past years I have been focusing a lot on what is happening in the middle east and the conflict in and around Syria. I have met refugees in countless refugee camps and on their way through Europe. I have also been working with film projects in Sweden and other news stories in Europe, Africa and Asia. My favorite motive can be anything or anyone, as long as it makes people care about and understand the world a little better.
Which products do you use today?
Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EOS-1D X
Can you tell us about a photo moment which you will never forget.
I will share a very sad moment from the war against Isis in Mosul. One morning when me and my colleague was on our way to the frontline, we saw a big group of people just standing on the middle of the highway. We started talking to a family with two kids, 11 year old Lefaw and 6 year old Shalew. They told us they were waiting for the bodies of five kurdish soldiers who had been killed the day before by one of ISIS bombs. Suddenly we hear ambulances coming and everybody is lining up next to the road and as I remember it its totally quiet. Everything happens very quickly and I start taking pictures. As the ambulances get closer I see they have a huge portrait of the dead soldier mounted on the front of the cars. The first 4 ambulances passes by and people are crying but it is still quiet. But when the last ambulance passes by and the oldest brother Lefaw, that we just talked to, starts screaming and he is trying to throw himself towards the car and I realize he just saw his fathers portrait on the front of the car. His little brother Shalew cried silently next to him. This was the moment when they lost all hope that their father was still alive. I have covered conflicts and crises all over the world, this moment affected me more than any other moment in my career. Perhaps because I was so unprepared of what was going to happen. Or perhaps because I have a son the same age as the younger brother Shalew, and I started imagine him in that situation. And it is an important reminder of who is the most innocent victims in any conflict. No matter who your parents are fighting for, or not fighting for. It is always the children that have to take the consequences.
Can you give an advice to someone who wants to develop in photography.
Always start with an idea
A good starting point is having an idea, something to work with. BUT it´s also important not hold on to that idea no matter what. You need to be open to new possibilities, should they arrive. And if your original idea doesn´t work out, it's better to move on and use your energy for something else that can really work.
I care very little about technology and more about what I am about to photograph. As a professional photographer, you don´t take a few pictures. You take a lot. Really, a lot. The right image can not be planned in advance, you need to find it and that can take some time. In order to that, I always keep on the move, from one spot to another, looking for opportunities.
Get rid of unnecessary equipment
When I´m working, I only bring what I need. This is important since I need be mobile and keep everything in one bag. That means no unnecessary equipment. In my backpack you will typically find a camera, such as EOS-1D X Mark II with a 45 mm tilt/shift lens and photo lamp. The photo lamp is easy to work with and easy to control. Over my shoulder, I hang my camera. In addition, I bring memory cards, food and drink and maybe a small tripod and a sound recorder, if I'm going to film Everything else, I leave at home