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Interview with Simon Hoegsberg

A couple of weeks ago I came across a great online digital photography project by the name of We’re All Gonna Die – 100 meters of Existence by Simon Hoegsberg.

The image in the project is 100 meters long, contains portraits of 178 people and…. well its an image that needs to be seen to really appreciated. I spent a good 15-20 minutes looking at it on my first viewing. It’s not something that loads particularly past if you’re on a slow internet connection – but if you’re able – it’s worth a look.

After looking over the image I shot the photographer Simon Hoegsberg an email and asked if he’d mind answering a few questions. He agreed and below is our short interview.

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Darren: “We’re All Gonna Die – 100 meters of Existence” – where did the name come from?

Simon: The title of the photograph: “We’re All Gonna Die – 100 meters of existence” is not meant to spread fear as some people may believe – on the contrary, it’s meant to point out that life is beautiful, and unless we open up to each other instead of keeping our longings, hopes and experiences to ourselves we’ll fall into the grave with a lot of valuable information and love that we never got around to sharing with the people we’re in touch with. I believe that it is meaningful to let the thought that we’re going to die into our heads once in a while because it brings into perspective what we’re actually doing with the life we’ve been given.

Darren: What gear did you use in shooting for this project? (camera, lens etc)

Simon: The camera I used for the project is a Canon 1D Mark II, and the lens a Canon 400mm. The software is Photoshop.

Darren: Can you talk us through the logistics of the image? How many images are in it? How many did you shoot that are not in it? How did you stitch it together?

Simon: There are 178 portraits of people in the image – chosen from a selection of about 3000. The location where I shot the portraits was a railway bridge on Warschauer Strasse in Berlin, and the time: two hours of shooting a day over 20 days (only two hours because the light falling onto the people I was photographing had to come from the same angle so that it would look as if every person copy/pasted into the final picture was actually present in the moment and on the location that the long photograph depicts).

Darren: What reactions have you been getting from people about the image?

Simon: The reactions from people who’ve seen the image have been surprisingly positive. I have been and am delighted to receive so many emails from people around the world who’ve seen the photograph, and who have decided to write me to let me know that my work has had an impact on them. Reading all these mails has been sort of a mesmerizing process in that I’m not used to being praised in this scale.

Darren: Are you displaying the image (or do you intend to display it) anywhere except online?

Simon: Currently I’m in the process of preparing to exhibit the 100 meter photograph in its full length (100 m x 78 cm) in a public square in Copenhagen in the month of May 2009.

Darren: You’ve displayed a number of projects on your site – what’s next for you?

Simon: I’m not sure what kind of project I will throw myself into in the near future. But I wouldn’t be surprised if in the coming weeks I’ll be very receptive to all sorts of small impressions which – I’m sure – I will gladly invite inside and let myself be influenced by. In any case, I’ll have to await the moment where a thought strikes me hard and I realize: yes!!! This is what I must do! That’s mostly how I’ve previously “fallen” into new projects.

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Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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