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Wilhelm Westergren
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Wilhelm Westergren
A successful double life

Wilhelm Westergren leads a double life. By day, he’s a corporate marketing executive in Brussels. The rest of his time is consumed by his side job as a photographer. He’s completely self-taught, having learned the technical side by haunting the camera shops of Paris and steeping himself in art books showcasing prints, paintings, sculpture and architecture.

Capturing just the right ambient or artificial light to achieve certain shapes and contrasts and produce as ‘natural’ an image as possible are the hallmarks of Wilhelm’s photography.

“I’m looking for an expression, for eye contact, for that fleeting moment, for an atmosphere that will probably not exist again. I try to notice the small things that most people don’t see or pay attention to in daily life.”

The Work
He works with film and digital mediums, both in colour and black and white. His eclectic portfolio encompasses sports and equine photographs, portraits, life-style shots, street scenes, and landscapes from his peripatetic travels to the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and South Africa. He not only draws inspiration from coffee-table “picture books,” but from constant visits to museums and exhibitions. His idols are Jeanloup Sieff, and noted fashion photographer, Helmut Newton.

Because he’s a bit picky when it comes to targeting the most appropriate lighting conditions with his camera, he wants to recreate the conditions during the editing process to achieve a natural and life-like look. Wilhelm had been using Lightroom as his editing program for the past three years, but switched to Capture One Pro 7 six months ago and has been using it daily ever since.

The quintessential reason why: “I don’t like sitting in front of the computer so I want my software to work for me and give me the quick and pleasing results I expect without any hassle.”

Processing in Capture One Pro 7
And Capture One delivers, according to Wilhelm, who’s been using it to process files mainly from his Fuji X-Pro 1 and X-100 cameras. “It feels like it’s designed for the professional photographer. It’s an extremely high-quality pure RAW converter. The color engine is fantastic with very accurate color rendering.

“On some of the color landscapes I’ve shot lately involving a lot of sky and water, I’ve been able to get very deep natural-looking blues and lush greens for a much less digital look. I’ve had the impression that I’m looking at slides, which is a big compliment coming from me.

“Because I was brought up in the color slide film era, that’s always been my reference point. The white and color balance tools are great and I’ve been able to precisely fine-tune skin color, although I find that in most cases, the standard profile does a very good job.

“The software reads the shadows very well and I seem to almost gain an F-stop compared to Lightroom 5. It also handles transitions very smoothly without any harshness."

“I find the curve tool to be straightforward and easy to use and the local adjustment tool is excellent with a lot of flexibility. In fact, all the tools are precise and logical.”

Wilhelm also likes Capture One Pro 7’s latitude with digital images. “I know that depends a lot on the camera, but I’m using an one year-old camera and another that’s five years old, and with Capture One Pro, I get the impression that I’m using a new camera.”

Wilhelm finds Capture One Pro’s numerous customization possibilities with respect to tool accessibility and various shortcuts and tabs to be very helpful in providing a “highly personal, fast and flexible workflow setup.”

Words of advice
He notes that juggling two jobs, life and family is challenging. “But anyone wanting to be a serious photographer needs to make the time to go out and shoot again and again. Put together a project; it doesn’t matter what you shoot as long as you do something. Then edit, edit, edit and show one or two good images.

“I’m sure that I still have a lot to discover about Capture One Pro, but so far, it feels like a top-quality German-made car.”

Make contacts in the photography world; establish human connections to discuss your work and others. You need to get feedback. That’s what I’ve done over the years. Finally, go to exhibitions and buy photography books that focus on the artistic side and not the camera or techniques.”

Wilhelm’s goal is to focus even more of his energies on photography within the next six months and begin work on some major projects on his “to-do” list. One of them is to recreate the glamorous and elegant fashion and cultural scene of the ‘Swinging London’ in the 1960s that was captured so notably by the genius of British photographers David Bailey and Terence Donovan.

In the meantime, he has shot website and Facebook graphic content for a Belgian equine sports medicine facility, and recently received a portrait commission to photograph executives at EthOS APP, a British mobile ethnography company. Capture One Pro 7 will continue to be his partner now and in the future.

Wilhelm Westergren spends his free moments consumed by his passion for photography. He works in black-and-white film, digital color and black-and-white mediums.

See more images at westergren.photoshelter.com

© Wilhelm Westergren
© Wilhelm Westergren
© Wilhelm Westergren
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