Q: Tell me about your background
I grew up on a small island called Norrskata in the Swedish-Finnish archipelago. The Karlberg family comes from Kökar, an island of the Åland archipelago. In my childhood I spent most of the time in the nature. It was great and totally free. Life was primitive, natural and isolated. We were only 5 pupils in the whole school.
I was 7 at the time I got my first camera. I started experimenting with photography and art, putting the two things together. I was proud of my great-great uncle Victor Westerholm, who was a prominent painter, but at first I didn’t intend to be an artist myself. In my 20s, with all my dreams derailed by my precarious health and the uncertainty that accompanied it, I had come to find some meaning in Art. I was very good at expressing things visually and had a lot of potential. I realized I was born to be an artist.
Q: How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I’m a conceptual and political artist who wants to influence, challenge and change the society.
Q: Tell me about your life
Normally I’m a very private and reclusive person. I’m a free spirit and I like to live on my own terms. I don’t follow news, media or television.
Q: Are you a professional photographer?
No, I’m not. I’m an artist, I have a camera and I do use photography as a medium, but I’m definitely not a professional photographer. I’m an amateur.
For some reason media seems to label me as a professional photographer, which is inaccurate, and there is no merit or veracity to that claim. That is purely misinformation and bad journalism.
Q: Is photography an Art form?
Photography is Art but it depends on whether the person doing it is an artist or not. You need to have it in your genes. Photography is an art form that takes skill, artistic ability and an understanding of technology. The question of exactly what constitutes art is an old and much-contested one. I would say photography is “The” form of modern art, a direct reflection of the modern age. A photographic image today can have far greater impact than a painting.
Q: How did you learn photography?
I’m an autodidact, I don’t know much about the technical aspects. I go by intuition, for the feeling.
Q: Do you prefer Digital or Analog film photography?
Digital. I mainly use a cheap old digital pocket camera. It’s light, convenient and has a screen for reviewing pictures. While shooting with models, I constantly show the pictures to the models, so that they can improve what they are doing, and appreciate what I am creating.
Q: Where do you find models?
All my models are professional models from top agencies. I contact professional agencies and show them my portfolio which consists exclusively of Fine Art Nudes. I ask for models that are +18 and comfortable with nudity. Everybody knows about my style and the nudity required in my projects.
Q: Why is nudity so important to you?
It is the ultimate freedom and the greatest work of art. It’s timeless and eternal.
Q: What is your disability and how does it affect you?
I’m suffering from partial disability and serious chronic illnesses. My physical mobility is limited. My body is worn out.
I have autoimmune diseases that attack my organs and my joints. My immune system is suppressed with immunosuppressive drugs. I live with constant pain, illness, fear and uncertainty. It is a struggle to keep a healthy weight, my BMI being 16-17 (56-60kg/185cm). On my best days I feel human and have an almost childlike embrace of life. Then there are dark periods, months and even years, when I am really ill. It is a heavy burden to bear. That’s why I often speak positively about euthanasia.
Q: What languages do you speak?
I speak Swedish, English, German and Spanish. With concentration I can read and understand a few more, e.g. Danish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Dutch and Italian.
Q: What were you like in High School?
I moved out of my parents house at the age of 15. I was free and independent. Smart, but a bit lazy. I was a kind person and people were kind to me. I was lucky enough to achieve both social reputation (status) and social preference (likability), which gave me a solid foundation for my adult life. I was fit, sharp, intelligent, charming, artsy, mysterious, different and sometimes obnoxious.
I didn’t find High School particularly challenging. I was a quick learner and I never needed to put forth much effort to study in order to get fairly good grades. I received the grade Laudatur in the Finnish Matriculation Examination and my grade in Visual Arts was an excellent 10/10. Many of my teachers were outstanding, a few even exceptional.
Q: Tell Me About Your Educational Background
After High School I was undecided about my future. I wanted to be a diplomat, politician, spy, architect or designer. Somehow I ended up at Åbo Akademi University, studying economics and law. By studying economics I learned about my dislike of economy, greed and capitalism. By studying law, and working in the district court, I realised I am a compassionate and forgiving human, too flexible and abstract to be a lawyer. I was a very free and creative person and found a new passion in Art, Aesthetics and Philosophy.
While studying at University I mastered vital academic skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, scientific research, logical reasoning, argumentation and academic writing. This gave me a framework for all future endeavours.
The best part of my studies were undoubtedly the extracurricular activities and social life. I volunteered in countless student organisations, clubs, magazines, events and of course in all the parties. The highlight was certainly meeting my future wife during our first year at the same University.
Q: Do you worry about nature and the environment?
Personally I have a sustainable lifestyle and my carbon footprint is about 1/4 of the average carbon footprint. I recycle almost everything, I refuse to fly in airplanes, I buy very little and mostly local products, I save water and energy, and I have planted more than 500 trees. But that is not much in the big picture. Market economics, capitalism, greed, consumerism and materialism are to blame for quickly destroying the earth. Big and drastic actions are needed.
Q: If you would criticize society in one sentence, what would you say?
The society is selfish, close-minded, Orwellian, unequal, unjust, too complicated, and greedily exploiting human and natural resources without taking sustainable responsibility.