Angela Blumen

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Where shall I start? I’m going to start studying a Masters in film and media. Before, I’ve been doing a lot of design and self initiated projects because I never really studied design or photography but it’s the thing that I’m doing all the time. Right now, we’re also working on the third issue of Sucre, a magazine I started with my friend Sophie [Tajan]. We met on Tumblr, and we became friends. We both said, “Hey, we should really do something together!” We met up several times in France, and then she came to visit me both in Stockholm and in Copenhagen. We just felt that we work well and complement each other, so we just started curating it. I always wanted to try out magazine design and layout, so I did the whole design and identity and stuff. And now we’re selling it online. It was a bit of a struggle to finance it; in the end, we just put in our own money and hoped to get it back. It worked out for the first issue, the second issue is almost sold out—it’s going to sell in the end, I hope.

How did you first get into photography?
I was really into music when I was younger, because I come from a family of musicians. Besides making music, I always went to concerts and I really wanted to capture it so I photographed all the concerts. I hung out online a lot, and I figured all the people who listen to the same music also do photography. First I did digital photography, but then I got an analog camera from my grandpa. I kept taking analog pictures. It was just so much nicer because you wouldn’t know what would come out, especially since my camera was broken and had a lot of light leaks; I would get a lot of weird effects. I just continue doing it because it’s fun and you get to capture a lot of your life. Also, I wanted to become a journalist in the beginning, and it’s a way of documenting things now that my interests have shifted; it’s the aesthetics I am really interested in—now it’s graphic design and photography, a lot of print.

You mentioned you are now going to get your Masters, but up to this point are you self-taught?
I have a degree in Media & Communications, and that was theoretical—it was more politics and sociology. I did an exchange to Denmark, where I live now actually as a result of my exchange. Through that, I did interact with design, animation, and front end development. I also took a course in motion graphics, but it was very short – only half a year.

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue art as a career instead of just a side hobby?
I think when I got a job offer out of nowhere in Denmark to be their photographer just when I came here on exchange. I had to turn it down because I had to get exchange papers and get a grant for the exchange and it felt very complicated to undo it. At that moment though, I realized that I could actually get a job for this. There are times, though, that I’ve thought I shouldn’t work in a creative field because it’s involves much struggling and can be difficult. But then I considered that it’s difficult to get jobs in any field, so I might as well work in the creative field.

Can you tell me a little more about Sucre? What the content is, what you try to bring to the reader?
We try to pick the young creatives who mainly do their own creative projects over commercial projects. We try to be really international. Up until now we’ve covered quite a lot of countries, but the way we source people is through friends, friends of friends, people we found on Tumblr, people we’ve heard of. We have a lot of French contributors, for example, because Sophie lives in France. We try not to feature people older than 28-30 because we want to showcase the young talented people. It’s photographers, fashion designers, fine artists—we had a printmaker and a painter, someone who does illustration. It’s a print only project, so we try not to have too much going on online—we don’t have a homepage, we just promote the magazine through Facebook and Tumblr.

Can you tell me a little about the Cloudly Collective and how that started?
It’s five girls, four of us in Copenhagen and one in Sweden—she was exiled! I met two of the girls on my exchange here. It was two years ago, but I came back to Copenhagen because it seemed really fun to live here. They’re both graphic designers; one of them is also a dance, a friend of a friend, another is an architect. We all just hung out once at a street party. When we met up for another party, we decided to do something creative together. All of us, in one way or another, wanted to have a studio later in life. This isn’t really a studio, but we’re trying to do stuff and projects together in our free time. And maybe start earning money at some point!

Are there any projects you are currently working on?
We are working on kind of a look book photography for the homepage of a shoe company here in Copenhagen called Skofeber and we’re just waiting for the shoes to arrive. The Clouds Project will end up being more in theory because we try to do projects really quickly; this one [Clouds] also seems a little too complicated to implement. We also are going to work on some design projects, but the next upcoming big thing is for the shoe company. They’ve sponsored one of our party nights, so it’s kind of a thank you. We hope to become partners with them.

Who are some of your favorite photographers?
My favorite photographers are Coco Capitan, Sophie Tajan – co-editor of Sucre, Vivien Sassen, William Eggleston, Salva López – who we featured in Sucre, Lena Emery, Osma Harvilahti and many more!

What would you say are some of your greatest influences of inspirations when shooting photos or designing?
Definitely the things I see online—Tumblr blogs. It’s part of the day: you go through the feed and take a look at all the things. Definitely my friends—a lot of my friends do creative things and projects. And music, always music.

How did you get into Tumblr, and what are some of your favorite blogs?
I got into Tumblr first through Deviant Art, then you have Flickr, then people moved to Tumblr, so it was a very typical development I think. I grew up with people being interested in other things than I was, so the internet felt like a nice place to go and look at stuff I didn’t have in my daily life. Some of my favorites are jpegmegyet-untitled, fridamaria, stonepaperfeather, hautebasics, and villa-dean.

What is beauty to you and how do you define beauty?
It has to be aesthetically appealing. Beauty is definitely light, something light, both in colors and for the mind.

Describe your perfect Saturday.
It must involve a lot of food throughout the whole day. Also, many good friends, sun, and hopefully the sea where you can swim, light music, and a good coffee. That’s a lot about food!

What songs are on your personal playlist?
I source a lot of my music on SoundCloud, and I really like small independent bands. I listen to Gold Panda, Chrome Sparks, I’ve been to a concert by the band Money, they’re from Manchester. They’re pretty new but very poetic and sort of rock. I listen to a lot of podcasts—there’s this radio in Stockholm called Radio Skanstull, and I think it’s also a bar. I’m going to Stockholm in a few weeks so I’m actually going to take a look at it. They have really nice podcasts that last for 7 hours with a good, good mixes.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to, or a concert you want to go to?
That’s really, really difficult. I used to work at a music magazine and did photography for three years in Stockholm, so I went to so many concerts. Plus, there are just too many bands I want to see.

Since you’ve been to so many concerts, what’s your best concert tip?
Try to see a band before they get really big and really famous because then you get a really intimate experience at the concert. I think living in Copenhagen has really given me that opportunity… All the last concerts I’ve gone to had such few people. One of the bands was Chrome Sparks, and they’re getting big in the US and I think UK, but here there were only like 40 people—it was nice for me, but maybe the bands were disappointed!

What are three things that you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my computer. It’s the window to everything. My friends or just the means of communication with them. I have people spread out everywhere. My analog camera, which is such a cliché thing. And food – I really like food.

What are your favorite places in Copenhagen?
There’s a café right around the corner called Nameless Café; it’s really good because the people are really nice. Some of my friends work there and they play really good music. It’s pretty chilled out. Also the famous bridge—the Queen Louise’s bridge —everyone goes there when the sun’s out, hangs out, and drinks beer. It’s very unusual in Scandinavia because both in Norway and Sweden, it’s forbidden to drink outside. There are a lot of cafés with good music- one of the cafés here close to where I live is called Black Coffee & Vinyl—it’s a record store and coffee store. You can just pick up a vinyl and say “can you play this now while I drink coffee” and they do it. It’s really nice.

What are some things on your bucket list?
I definitely want to go to California for the nature and to Yellowstone Park. I want to publish more—I have some ideas for projects, and they have to do with Sweden. I lived there for three years and it’s my home, or what feels like home. Right now it’s more practical for me to live in Copenhagen, but I want to make an ode to Sweden and to my relationship with Sweden. So, definitely publish more. I would love to shoot a lookbook and do an identity for some upcoming fashion designer.

Are there any designers you really like?
Some great graphic designers are Daniel Siim, Kimberly Ihre, Marta Vargas, Pascal Alexander, and Nina Lilliebjerg.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Maybe not advice, but a piece of thought someone gave me was even if you’re not good at the beginning, as long as you continue doing it, you will become good. A lot of people just stop halfway, so if you really have the passion, you’ll become good at some point. That’s  what I have in mind when I’m working.


For more of Angela’s work, check out her website. Interviewed by Erica Polle.