Portraits in Cannes by Lena Larsson

A short walk from the hotel in Cannes, Swedish wedding photographer Lena Larsson was dabbling with some portraits in Cannes. It was just before the Wooden Banana Closing Party, so resting up for the madness would have been well-advised.

Yet there she was in a parking lot playing. Playing being the keyword. She didn’t need to be there – resting poolside would have been way easier – yet this was a keen reminder that sometimes just getting out there and doing something with no agenda or plan is a good idea.

Here’s our short conversation with Lena about this just-for-fun session from a parking lot in Cannes.

Lena Larsson
Swedish wedding photographer Lena Larsson

Who are you, where are you from, what do you do?

I’m Lena a Swedish hard working photographer and single mother. I like crossfit, long distance running and beer. And hanging out with my daughter – I drag her along to most places I work and play at and her turning up at WUN at some point wouldn’t be a total sensation. Comes with the single parent territory I suppose. Anyway – she’s a wee hustler and bags of fun.

Why did you do this session?

I’ve always wanted to shoot Nadja Endler. No wonder – she’s vibrant, clever and super cute with unruly hair all over the place. She’s also has that effortlessly chic vibe combined with a strong bad ass woman aura. I’ve always been drawn to head strong women.

So I plucked up the courage to ask her to go chase light with me at sunset and she was game. I always feel stupid and nervous when I ask people to pose for me. And shooting colleagues is always nerve wrecking. There’s always a better chance of them exposing me as a total fraud. Oh the fear!

I also happened to have my gear with me since I’ve done a job I Barcelona just before Cannes. So that was kinda fortunate.

With portrait sessions like this, what are some fundamentals you tend to stick to? Poses, wording, etc. – any general tactics or principles.

Well, I’m a sort of go with the flow kind of person. I never have a set plan on how to go about things but I always know what feeling I want to get from a shoot. In Nadja’s case I wanted to capture her strength and vulnerability. I’m amazed how she opened up to me and just let go of any inhibitions. It’s cool to be vulnerable, but one of the hardest things to let people in on I think.

In general terms I have zero filter between brain and mouth so I tend to swear like a drunk sailor on a shoot. Brain tourettes is maybe a way of putting it. I spent many years trying to be more appropriate and edit my rather loud approach but a couple of years ago I realised the staggering drunk sailor manner was a strength. I kinda chock people into just go with the random blurts of joy. It makes it fun I think. Or weird. It works anyway. Somehow.

So no plan or agenda on poses. I feel my way through it all. And I always try to make whoever I shoot feel beautiful and seen. Like really seen. Photography and therapy combined.

Describe your gear and general settings in a scenario like this.

I shoot on 2 5d mk4’s. I use 35, 50 and 85. I had a 24 I loved deeply but it died on a shoot some time ago. But yeah, that’s it. And I’m a 2.0 kind girl. I know boooooriiing.

What’s your next portrait project?

I’m working on a few different personal projects. One is the never ending “Beyonce project”. My daughter has this amazing book called “Night Time Stories for Rebel Girls”. I read one or two chapters to her every night and she loves it.

It’s about women who has changed the world. Women such as Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo, Astrid Lindgren, Jane Austen to name a few. It’s a soft of continuation of that book. It’s about women I want my daughter influenced by.

No one has to be famous or anything – we have the book for the famous. But I wanna introduce her to feminists, bad ass mamas, nurturers and open mindness. Women I look up to and inspired by.

There is so much hollowness in the world if you look the wrong direction. I guess I want her to see the really inspiring and real stuff.

So it’s for her.

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One Response to “Portraits in Cannes by Lena Larsson”
  1. Love the pictures, and that light is totally Lena. And she’s not kidding about the swearing either. I like to think that we taught her a bit about that.

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