Flemming Ove Bech

Can you quickly introduce yourself?

My name is Flemming Ove Bech. I am a photographer and print maker based in Copenhagen where I also run a curating/publishing project with my friend Johan Rosenmunthe.

Looking at your photography, you seem to be dueling between heavy colored and straight black and white or grey? Any thought about that, why go for one or the other, what are you interested in at that point?

For a long time I was really committed to color photography but when realized I was abandoning interesting scenes/motifs because of wrong or lacking color harmonies I took up shooting black and white as well.

I know you’re interested in shapes, can you tell me more about the shape of an iron chain? How does sculpture influence your photography?

I approach making images from a sculptural point of view. Resolving a three dimensional scene – compressing it onto a two dimensional surface – is where photography exists for me. Often time that means looking at the thing-ness of a given object and relating that to a background. In the case of the chain I was interested in the contrast between the brutal qualities of the steel chain and the soft bubble wrap surface rendered in a very soft light.

We met in New York, a city where you spent some time in the last few years, can you tell me about your experience here? How being a bike messenger in NY could have influenced your work?

NYC is one of the world’s epicenters for photography – so much great work and inspiring people are accessible to you and that is very inspiring. Chance meetings can evolve into dynamic relationships that grow into a global network of piers and mentors, as it seems that everybody is always coming and going.

For me personally riding a bike in NYC was a dream. I don’t know how people cope with the restrictions of the subway! I don’t know that there is any direct connection between messengering and my photographs other than the fact that the time on my bike lets me see so much and do a lot of thinking.

You are now living in Copenhagen, what is the best aspect of it?

Free health care is a stark and welcomed contrast to the US! Scandinavia is quite utopic in that respect when you return from a longer stretch abroad.

Re-connecting with friends here probably takes the cake, though. Oh yea, and you can drink alcohol outside!

I know you use a very particular camera, can you tell us about the close relationship you have with it?

What camera I use is important to me, however, totally irrelevant to others looking at the images. I believe that every artist should be super aware of capabilities and preferences of their tools as to elegantly communicate what they want.

Mostly I use a view camera that lets me control perspective and the plane of focus. This is how I found that I work best, however, for the experience of my work, how the image came to be is not important.

Tell me a little more about the Lodret Vandret project – How do you see your personal work in relation to this initiative?

Being the one to add value to something is fun and empowering. Johan Rosenmunthe and I decided that we wanted to present work that we found interesting – both on the wall and on the printed page.

Editing, designing and (re-)contextualizing images is what it is all about for us. Creating an experience with a space or in a book lets you rediscover and appropriate work – your own or that of others – in new ways and that is really inspiring. When I think about my work right now it is all about the book.

What are you working on now, what’s next?

Well, yea – BOOKS. Working on ideas for books, zines and related ephemera is what takes up most time. Printed matter is really where I see my work existing.

There are interesting projects in the works with Lodret Vandret also but again that is closely connected to my own practice.

Conversation with Flemming Ove Beck, Brooklyn, May 2012. Photography by Études Studio.