Photographer and artist Dan Isaac Wallin is a sensation in Swedish contemporary visual art, an innovator in analogue techniques in an era of digital photography. His distinctive and dreamlike pictures are exhibited in galleries around Sweden and the Netherlands, and his work can be found in homes all the way from Scandinavia to Australia.
One way or the other, every scene captured by Dan connects to some part of his life. From the reflections of his childhood landscape, Bohuslän, to portraits of rock stars, adventurers and common people. It comes down to the powers of attraction and time. Time is the ubiquitous factor. The time you allow for the making of a picture. To find its form. In the eye of the lens. At the photo paper. In the eye of the beholder.
Nature is a frequent theme for Dan’s artwork: whether salty oceans, rough granite, dry deserts, or snow-clad mountain peaks. Different sceneries united by their solitariness. The pictures find their form during Dan’s travels. First, he discovers a place – like Lofoten in Norway, Iceland, or Israel – then he returns. Spends time. Creates pictures. Slices of his experiences: “It’s places from my memory, places close to my heart.”
Time takes a similar decisive part in Dan’s portraits. He always works with large format, a technique that itself requires the subject to be absolutely still for a prolonged moment. A chance to get into contact with the camera and the photographer. In that moment – up to 20 seconds – unpredictable things happen. A factor that makes a meeting between humans into a piece of art: “Every portrait I make is simultaneously a self-portrait, a study of who I could be.”
As a photographer, Dan has consciously returned to analogue photography. He wants to explore the possibilities with Polaroid film as well as with more craftsmanlike techniques. In his studio, a refrigerator is filled with Polaroid film. Here, he also tries out different traditional processes such as gum printing. Nostalgia has nothing to do with it, it is the craftsmanship and experimentation that attracts Dan: “When I run out of Polaroid film, I’ll just move on. Try new things. That’s what I like with photography, analogue as well as digital.”
Dan Isaac Wallin was born and brought up in the small town of Stenungsund on the Swedish west coast. This is also where he took his first photos: “My dad used to take a lot of photographs, and when I was 11 years old, I got my first camera.” The true fascination for photography came later, in his late teens: "A friend’s mother was a photographer, and when she showed me the darkroom, I was hooked; it was like magic. I knew what I wanted to do with my life."
It didn’t take long before he bought an SLR camera and took different photo courses. Between 2000 and 2003, he studied photography at the vocational school Biskops-Arnö. Since then his life has been centred on photography. He founded Fotokompaniet, a gallery, shop, and, for a couple of years, the meeting-point for analogue photography in Gothenburg. After a few years as a freelancer he now has the privilege to work wholeheartedly with his art.