Behind the viewfinder with Joakim Lloyd Raboff
I was born 1963 in Santa Monica, California to a Swedish mother and American father. In 1978, I moved to Gothenburg, Sweden where my obsession with photography began. The very first camera I owned was the fully manual Minolta 100 SRT. A heavy, albeit reliable, fully manual image capturing device.
In the mid 1980s, I studied Information Technology and Political Science at the University of Gothenburg. This is also about when my experimenting with oil and acrylic paint – as an additional means to express myself creatively – started. Inevitably, I came to realize that a traditional academic education was just not going to happen.
In 1988, I was introduced to Riksgränsen, a small remote village and home to an ancient ski resort in the wilderness landscape of Lapland – the northern most part of Sweden – near the border to Norway and the North Atlantic Ocean. I worked evenings there as a bartender and a DJ, painted on my days off and skied the slopes the rest of the time. It was paradise on multiple levels and to this day, I consider those years a really cherished era in my life.
In order to develop my technical chops as a painter and photographer, I applied and was accepted in 1992 to Gotland’s Art School, located on an island in the Baltic Sea. I studied there under among several artists, the gifted sculpturers Helena Andreeff and Staffan Laurin whom both influenced me – as artistic mentors – to pursue a career as a visual artist.
After returning to Gothenburg in the mid 1990s, where I continued to paint and had a few solo shows at local galleries, the trifecta of computer graphics, digital media and the burgeoning Internet age put a long-lasting spell on me.
So, in 1996, I attended an intensive course in interactive design, online publishing and photography and eventually left Gothenburg for Malmö – deep in the south of Sweden – and spent a few years working in advertising at various creative positions.
After starting the company Raboff AB in 1999, the vast majority of the 2000s were focused on freelance work – primarily photography, digital video and writing – with both commercial and editorial assignments for a wide range of local, national and international companies that included, Tetra Pak, Trelleborg, Aftonbladet, Bonniers, Alfa Laval, J. Walter Thompson, Nordic Choice Hotels, Ericsson and IKEA.
Together with my wife Charlotte, a travel entrepreneur whom I’d met in Gothenburg in 1996, we produced dozens of comprehensive guides, articles and travel exposés from destinations all over the world – including Spain, Thailand, Laos, China, Japan, the USA, Denmark and Sweden.
Travel has always played an important role in my life and I am fortunate to have experienced a multitude of places, people and cultures, literally all over the world. Through my travels, I achieve lasting-lasting, creative inspiration which keeps me alive and kicking.
After moving to Västra Hamnen in Malmö in 2002, and initially as a passion project, I began documenting the then recently inaugurated and to this day, still expanding neighborhood. My first book about the area – where I continue to live and work – was published in 2005. Since then, I have produced nine additional books in the series.
A few recent milestones
• July 2014: opened a showroom called, Galleri Västra Hamnen exhibiting books and images from both Västra Hamnen and elsewhere. Next to the gallery is a modern commercial photo studio where both still images and video projects are produced. The gallery has a website as well, click here to view it.
• February 2015: commissioned by HSB Malmo to produce a book dedicated to the skyscraper, Turning Torso, designed by world-famous Spanish architect, engineer and artist, Santiago Calatrava.
• March 2016: invitation to exhibit 17 large format photo collages and mosaics of New York and Malmö combined and printed on aluminum plates. The show took place at the new trade and cultural center in Malmö called, Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live.
• October 2016: invitation to exhibit 19 framed and matted photos of landscapes from the southern Swedish region of Skåne – again at Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live.
• October 2016: commissioned to produce a large format book covering the creative process, the many artisans and enormously skilled staff “behind the scenes” at Malmö Opera.
Through my commercial assignments and personal projects, I continue to develop my creative width and depth – with photography and film being my medium of choice. That said, one day, I hope to rediscover my paint brushes and perhaps combine the two once again.
October 24, 2016
Joakim Lloyd Raboff