Philip Høpner is a Danish photographer based in Copenhagen. He specializes in fashion and lifestyle. He moved to Copenhagen at the age of 19, which also was the time he got into lifestyle and fashion. He works with brands, magazines and people.
How did you end up working as a professional photographer?
Making a living from photography is actually easier than you think. The hard part is to be good at it. I was fortunate to find my passion for photography early on. Back then I was a teenager, living a normal teenage life with my family in a provincial city. In a lot of ways that’s a blessing because it keeps you down to earth. When I had my first paid gig I was 15. It was nothing big, but my point here is that because I didn’t have any responsibilities other than attending school, it didn’t have to be anything big. I didn’t have any bills to pay, which meant that I could pursue the jobs I wanted. It’s not hard to become a professional, whatever that means. You just need to be patient. I’m really bad at this, but when I look back, everything that I dreamt of has come true; It just took a lot longer than I thought. I’m currently at a place in my life where I’m figuring out how to accelerate my company’s growth, but it’s “work in progress”.
Another part of how I was able to start my career at such an early stage in my life is because of my mentor, Esben Zøllner. He’s an adventure and extreme sports photographer, which is the complete opposite of me. But he taught me how to elevate my photography by giving me a structured perspective on what makes a good photograph. Up until this point, I had just been learning by doing, but his help was what allowed me to take my technical skills in photography to the next level. This has led me to put all the technical stuff away for a bit to just focus on what happens in the picture. When composing a picture, it’s the things that you don’t see in the picture, that interest me. You should get a hint from what happens in the picture, and then through your interpretation, experience the feeling in the picture.
Picture by Philp Høpner
What goals and dreams do you have?
This is a hard one. Currently, I’m exploring the possibilities of growing my company into something bigger than just me and my camera. I’m obsessive about brand identity and communication; whether it being visuals, sound or text. I wish to explore how my photography can become part of something bigger than just being a photo. I want to make a clothing line where it’s apparent, put it into the music industry in some way, making it part of a space that serves as a platform for a community. It’s such a freeing feeling to think of what you do in such a broad perspective – and exactly that is what I hope will become part of my future.
What is the greatest experience you have had with your job as a photographer so far?
For me, it’s all about the people I work with. It’s not very often you’ll create something of substance on your own. As Virgil Abloh puts it: ”My biggest source of inspiration comes from dialogue”. I’m very fond of that quote. My best pictures didn’t come from my own imagination. Why? Because when you get involved with other people, creating becomes more than yourself. It sounds like a cliché – but it’s very true. So I guess my greatest experience comes from interacting with my surroundings.
When did your interest in taking photos begin?
I picked up my first camera when I was thirteen. Back then I didn’t have any goals. I had a friend who took some photos and I was kind of just going through the same phases as her. So I started taking photos as a hobby. Her interest quickly faded, while mine became bigger. I was hooked. I went out in nature, brought the camera to parties and documented life around me. Back then it didn’t matter if I was laying in the snow for two hours waiting for a deer to appear or walking around in a club.
Picture by Philp Høpner