May 3, 2021

Ep 27 – How Mads Peter Iversen took a leap of faith to leave his professional calling as a teacher to pursue his passion for landscape photography

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The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography
Ep 27 - How Mads Peter Iversen took a leap of faith to leave his professional calling as a teacher to pursue his passion for landscape photography

Hey Wicked Hunters,

I am absolutely excited to talk to Mads Peter Iversen about his story and struggles to get to where he’s at right now. Mads has built his following to 829k on Instagram and 109k on YouTube.

Now that I have your attention let’s talk about what really matters! Mads is a world-class photographer who’s absolutely humble and approachable. We had a chat about how his passion for landscape photography started and the sacrifices he has to do to get to where he’s today.

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Mads Peter Iversen  0:00  
I remember when I started thinking like that, it was a little bit frightening. I had a plan, I went through the usual educational system, and then I could come out and become a school teacher for the rest of my life. And I was like, I don’t want to do that

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:26  
hey, wiki hunters, welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast, where we share our passion as photographers and how photography bring us hope, purpose and happiness. And today is such an special occasion for me, myself to be able to introduce a world renowned photographer, who I mean, you know, he’s, he’s just amazing is and you will hear a lot about him his journey and what got him to where he is right now. Matt, Peter Iverson, how you doing?

Mads Peter Iversen  1:04  
Thank you so much for that very nice introduction. It’s, it’s when people introduce me like that. I’m always like, what? It’s, I got only been here, like, you know, five years on this scene here as landscape photographer, been doing it full time for five years. So when they say world renowned, yes, okay. I know how to use social media. But I think that’s about it. Right?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:38  
Oh, you’re very humble. And I love that. And, look, you know, welcome to the podcast. And I absolutely love having you here. You know, your work in the northern part of the Earth is just amazing. And I’m sure we can get more into that. But before we get into that part of it, share us. Share us a little bit about your journey and how you get to where you are right now, you just mentioned that you know, you’ve been doing this professionally, five years. But what really got you here? Why do you want to be a landscape photographer?

Mads Peter Iversen  2:20  
Yeah, so in the first half, it is by now of my photography career, which is lasted about 10 years time or something like that. I mainly focused on like, very broad photography in general. And then I kind of went very much into portrait photography, and headshot photography. And I learned all that. And I figured out that there was people who wanted me to take the portraits and stuff, so I could earn a little bit there. I also did a little bit of video editing. So I kind of knew how to also make videos. So in that way, I very fast figured out that there is a market here that I can earn a few bucks from relative to in the direction of the job, I kind of wanted back then. And then at some point, I got a little bit more into landscape photography. And then a tour to Iceland was obviously what set it off. Like I think that’s what happens with most landscape photographers. So I spent like, three weeks in Iceland, I had a little bit in the middle where I was doing some job stuff, so to cover the costs of that tour. But besides that, I have basically had to two and a half weeks also myself photographing in Iceland back in autumn 2015. And that just sold me like I just absolutely fell in love with landscape photography and figured out that’s what I wanted to do. So I also recorded quite a lot of video footage back then I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted to use it for, like those compilation videos to three minute compilation videos from different countries were quite big back then. But also fast figured out that I didn’t want to exactly do that I didn’t want to burn off all my footage in just one video, which probably wouldn’t even go viral. And then I kind of figured out that, okay, I could make like a video per location I visited and then make it into like some guiding stuff in regard to Iceland. And I think that set me apart as a landscape photographer on YouTube to begin with, and Dennis has basically just grown from there.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  4:39  
That’s fantastic. And so before you do photography, what were you doing? Were you always in the field of photography, or were you

Mads Peter Iversen  4:47  
not at all? Not at all. If we go way back like after germination, which is like the American high school, I went I had Read my military service, which was only four months back then. And then I started studying physics and astronomy, which was what I wanted to do like, basically my entire youth that lasted for three months, then I figured out I didn’t want to do that, too much math in that. But I still have my big interest for physics and astronomy and science in general. So after that, I didn’t really know exactly what to do. I’ve been a gymnasts, gymnast and gymnastic coach for my most of my teenage life back then. So I kind of just figured that, yeah, I could start being a teacher. So I started studying to become a teacher that lasted for four years after that, I figured I didn’t want to go out and be a teacher in primary school. So I, in Denmark, you get what’s called a professional bachelor, when you’re a teacher. And after that, you can build a master’s degree on top of that. So I did do that just after. And that took about two and a half years to get my master’s degree in educational philosophy. Because I had a huge interest for philosophy. That spectrum between science and religion was super interesting for me. And after that, in them that time when I was doing my Masters, my interest of photography really exploded. And that was where I, along with studying also could earn a little bit on the side. And then for the next couple of years, I was in that, should I go down the path of being a teacher? Or should I try to pursue this photography stuff. And after having, I decided to take a job in a photography store, instead of taking a job in the primary school. And after half a year in that store, I figured out that the photography store working there is not the same as being a photographer. So I was just like, done with that. And I was like, Okay, let’s try it. I’m young, I can, let’s see what happens, I can always fall back and become a teacher in the school system if I wanted to. So let’s just pursue the photography stuff. And that was kind of where it said off. Wow,

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  7:11  
that’s amazing. I think it’s great that you have like, tried so many different things. And, you know, like me, for myself, like I was, I don’t think I had that, that. That ability to be able to, you know, quit, especially where I was, you know, that with the culture that I had. So it was really hard decision when I decided to pursue full time. So that’s that’s really very courageous for you to to say no, I think that’s one of the hardest thing is to say no. And I

Mads Peter Iversen  7:45  
would add to that, that due to my culture here in Scandinavia, and our countries and how our systems are, we are extremely privileged relative to the rest of the world in regard to making the choices that we want to take in. And for our own life. Like we we don’t have a huge student depth when we are done studying, because, well, technically, it’s not free for us to study, we paid through our high taxes. But we do get money when we study from the state so that we can always stay afloat. So in that way, we are not forced out to anything is the Free to Choose afterwards. And that is, that’s the benefit of paying like you know, 40% in Texas, like for me now, when I earn my own money, of course, it feels a little bit like 40% of all the money I earn is going into the state. Okay, fair enough. But then on the other hand, you have to see it, and what do you get back? Like we have free roads, we have one, hopefully the best health care systems in the world, we have free school system, we are more or less able to actually break the social circle, so that anyone can basically be the Prime Minister of Denmark, anyone can be the head of a multi million company, if so be and yeah, personally, like, relative to how many Americans think I would probably be a communist, but, but I am really happy about the system we are in. We are very, we are also a very capitalist country. Like I pride myself of saying we usually like No 6040 Because our taxes are like 40% ish. So like 40% socialist, and then 60% capitalists.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  9:46  
So interesting, and that’s, that’s, you know, that’s like such an eye opener, I suppose for people who don’t like to pay taxes, because there are a benefit that goes with that. Going back to your photography, so what What was, you know what make you love photography and want to do more of it? You know, as instead of your other passion in life teaching or gymnastic, because you’re, you’re saying that you were doing a lot of gymnastic. And I know, gymnastic is a lot of fun as well. So what what, what, take that away from you and, you know, bring you to the photography world.

Mads Peter Iversen  10:22  
I think that, well, in the very beginning, I could combine my interest for gymnastics with photography, because I was taking a lot of photographs when we did gymnastics, and I did a lot of videos and stuff. But I’m also like, reached the point like I’m through back then when I stopped at gymnastics, I was 30 years old. And it is considered an extreme sport, like the age does catch up, you can continue, yes. But it was getting a little bit tough. I can be honest about that. And I think just all the way through my life, I’ve had this, I like to be creative. And I like to maybe not create worlds. But I have a very vivid imagination. Also, I’m playing, I’ve been playing a lot of computer games like World of Warcraft and stuff. So I’m very high on when it comes to fantasy and all the things I’m a real child of the postmodern era, the 90s and early 2000s. So it’s just what has shaped me. So I’ve just like basically followed what I wanted to do. And then when I hit photography, I very fast. I learned what a raw file is. And then I figured out Oh, that is how the professional photographers get the look, they do. And I was still I was way before Lightroom, I was still working in Canons own role converter back then. So I was just like, Okay, this is how they do, that’s the secret. And then the crew creates a feedback loop loop, I think in photography is just to learn how to paint, you don’t have to, like, you know, to have a finished product really fast, is easier or faster in photography than it is. In paintings, of course, it takes time to learn how to take great photographs and so forth. But I would say that, of course, having some success relatively early in the process is also a thing that helps motivate yourself, I’m not blind for that, like, I do take photographs, mainly for myself, and I have made my career in a way where I’m not hugely dependent on others, and clients and so forth. But being in this creative workspace, obviously, there is still an audience. So if I was only, like, only making photos for myself and didn’t care whatsoever about others, it could also be hard to sustain a business, because you can very fast become extremely niche. And there might not be someone who is actually interesting, interested in buying your photo. So you always have to, like, you know, probably find the golden, middle part of the road, where we take a lot of different things into consideration, and then look down, maybe a year or two ahead, how can I design my life so that I can solve the problems that might occur? So that’s basically how I think, wow, that’s,

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  13:55  
that’s amazing for you to come to that conclusion very early on, you know, I think a lot of a lot of photographer nowadays, might not realise that, you know, what you decided to do full time is to support your life. And I know, like, for me, it took me a while until I realised that until I decided, you know, a business model that suits that suits with me. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s really great that you share that. And what, you know, sharing those those journey that you have to get to where you are and your whole thought process. What are some of the challenges and have you ever come to like a self doubt where you feel like hmm, I’m not sure if I can do this, you know, like I like I know there’s a lot of photographers having that and I know like I have that all the time so I’m wondering if that is something that you ever come across or were you always have discuss conviction in your in yourself that you know what, this is what I’m gonna do? And I’m gonna make it happen

Mads Peter Iversen  15:11  
yes and no. Because on the one hand, if somebody had told me like 10 years ago where I would be today, I would just have laughed at them. But it, it’s not that I set myself goals like some people like to have a five year plan, where do I want to be in five years, and then I work towards that. I would hate to do that. Because I want to be in a position where I do not know where I am in a year. I remember when I started thinking like that, it was a little bit frightening. I had a plan, I went through the usual educational system, and then I could come out and become a school teacher for the rest of my life. And I was like, I don’t want to do that. So I like to be in a position where I do not know where I mean a year. And I just have to figure out how also to be able to sustain myself, while at the same time. Make something which is meaningful for me. And that is where yeah, as I said before, I’m trying to look a little bit ahead. How can I make sure that I reached that it’s not a specific goal. It’s just the goal maybe of continuously being happy and feeling safe. Because if I’m stressed about like my economy and stuff, I definitely less creative. Okay, if that’s the case that I need to solve the economy stuff first. So in that way, okay, should I take sponsorships? Yes, no, maybe I’m not sure. At least I can make my own products like I am educated teacher, I know how to teach, I can use that. And then I can make my own products, and then I can sell it, okay, fine. Now I have an income. So in that way, I can go and do stuff that is a bit more free. And that’s, again, it’s the thing, it’s balanced, like I can see when I create YouTube videos, which are doing less good, then I sell less, and it hurts my economy. So I need to also figure out how to make videos that a lot of people will see. So I get more eyeballs on my products. And that in itself is of course, problematic in regard to, to your creative freedom. But nothing in this world is really perfect. So to get get back to your question about is the things I have felt that I can’t do. No, not particularly big. But that’s because I generally try to not put myself in a situation where I’m jumping out into way too deep water before I can swim I am, I have always been the careful person. I’m not the big, innovative person who just hammers off and tries 100 different things, or throws 100 different things at the wall, and hopefully something sticks. I try to learn from others what their successes so I don’t waste my time, and my life doing stuff, which is basically just a waste of time.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  18:43  
Wow, that’s, that’s amazing. When you break it down like that, that is really amazing how you, you know, your whole decision making and man, like, for those of you who listen here and did not get that and you want to pursue it full time, make sure you rewind that because you know that that is I wish I had talked with you like few years ago, that would have solved a lot of my problem. That’s amazing. And that’s crazy. I love how you use this analogy of you know, testing the water before you jump into deep because that’s that, that that’s what got me like, finally got me the courage to leave my nine to five job was being able to try that. So I think that’s a really important part to pursue your passion or whether or not you want to pursue your passion, I suppose because you know,

Mads Peter Iversen  19:41  
so I want to elaborate a little bit on it because again, I come from a relatively privileged situation because I’m a dean. I have a society that holds me up. But it’s also that I have the security that I can always take another job. And I didn’t have to do that when I was building up my YouTube.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  20:01  
You just froze there. And you’re back. You were lagging. Yeah, yes for a little bit. All right, you might need to, you might need to repeat that whole bit.

Mads Peter Iversen  20:10  
Okay, I will do that. So just to elaborate a little bit on what I said, Because I come from a relatively privileged position because I am a dean. But again, I position myself, so I didn’t have a huge amount of expenses. And I could live with my parents for a couple of years. And that is very uncommon for a person in Denmark, when when you’re more than 30 years old to live with your parents. So that caught off a lot of the expenses that I would have had building up my YouTube channel. So I could spend all the time I didn’t have to earn money putting into actually creating my YouTube channel. So in that way, it does come with some sacrifices. But I do know that not everybody can do that. I know that some one have to go out there and work a bartending job, like, I don’t know, 18 hours a day, or whatever the shifts are, and then have to sleep and only maybe work for an hour or two on their passion stuff. But again, it’s very much about like, Okay, what do I have to do to get like, on? So yeah, I just wanted to elaborate on that, because I know that he moved

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  21:28  
back with your parents for a little bit for two years. You say, Well, you building this up? Yeah. Wow. Okay. So I mean, that’s a really good point, you know, like, saying that, I mean, I, I, I grew up in Indonesia, you know, when my parents didn’t have as as much privilege and I know the difference now being in Australia, being part of Australia, citizen and all that stuff. But I think the big thing here that is important is that you, you don’t feel entitled about it, and you still make sacrifice, you know, I mean, especially, I mean, nowadays, like, you know, I’m not sure if you ever seen Gary Vaynerchuk. But

Mads Peter Iversen  22:12  
I have seen a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk. Yeah, and you know, like

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  22:14  
that, that culture has kind of comeback of living with your parents to make things happen. But you know, Brandon, I’m sure it’s really unconventional to do that. So yeah, massive sacrifice there. So wow, thanks for sharing that. That’s amazing. You’re welcome. Yeah,

Mads Peter Iversen  22:31  
it’s a lot about like, just going into that entrepreneurship way of thinking. And that is very new to me. And thinking business, like I am learning so much about business. I’ve always been like businessmen, those guys who just do Wall Street and do shares and just like, who are they like, we don’t like them. That’s the socialist. But you, you just have to realise that, at least in most of the world, we live in capitalistic societies, and you have to be able to earn some money to sustain yourself. And if you choose to go full time, landscape photography, you are from the very beginning, positioning yourself in a very bad situation. Because if you want to make money, you should not be a landscape photographer. But I knew that I just find landscape photography, so meaningful, and I really enjoy it. And having that creative part of me, is very fulfilling. So that obviously makes up for me becoming ever an a millionaire, but it’s, it’s fine. Like, I’m doing fine now. But for the first two years, I didn’t learn anything.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  23:41  
Like, you know, I think that’s something that’s really important is that, you know, you said earlier about that something that really strike me is that you you cut down your expenses as well, you know, you’re not living beyond people means you’re your own means, right? Because I see that nowadays, a lot of people are complaining that they don’t have the money to support their creative lifestyle when they keep eating out every single day and you know, buying this brand new stuff, and you know, so that’s Wow, that’s, that’s really cool to hear that, you know, I think a lot of people can can learn from that and should learn from that being just being humble and actually, you know, keep things to the minimum while you’re trying to make things happen.

Mads Peter Iversen  24:27  
Yeah, I’m really happy for one of my friends Nigel Denson, also another photographer, that I can like bounce ideas off with him and we talk a lot and also about like YouTube and how to make money and like he has to sustain an entire family. He has a wife, dog, three kids and a house. I don’t have that. So he has to be even more focused on that. And of course, it’s just part of it is part of the job trying to earn money

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  24:59  
as well. Awesome. And, you know, I want to go back to, you know, you, you mentioned earlier about when you want to make it in, in this industry, you need to learn how to make money off of it, obviously, right? And you say that, you know, become learning the business side of it and entrepreneurship. And you said that when you first started, you didn’t like that part or that aspect at all. So can you share with us a little bit? What, what got you there? Or what did you do to get you to that mindset and learn the business side of things so that you could actually thrive as a landscape photographer, and not fall back to you know, I suppose, being a teacher back then.

Mads Peter Iversen  25:49  
I think, the main push I needed and that again, I have to thank Nigel Vance on for I was doing a workshop with him in the Faroe Islands, it’s like, two years ago, actually, exactly now. And I was just doing the presentation I have for for the group about like basic photography and stuff, and him and another guy from the group. They were like, mess, you need to create some maps that goes along with your videos, it’s so obvious. And um, on top of that later, I also made an an ebook. It’s basically just showing and sharing what I know and how I think, and realising that there was actually people who were interested in learning from me was you all always like, when it comes to self worth, like, is what I create really that interesting? Is it really that new, but that’s the thing, like you don’t have to invention, like the deep played one more time, you don’t have to invention socks or anything like they are more interested in learning from you, they follow you more than they, they want to get into your mindset. Like they could go out and find all this information by themselves. Like, how much have we really pushed photography in the past 1020 years, like, it’s still the same compositional tools that we use, it’s same, still the same kind of storytelling and so forth. Like the tools have changed a little bit with Photoshop and Lightroom. And how we edit and process and the camera has changed and the technology do but the creative part is more or less the same still. So in that way, when when I make educational content, from what I hear from people who get my stuff is that they really enjoy the way I teach it. So I think it’s getting that push from someone else that they tell you that what you are you actually have something of value here that you ought that you can earn money from, basically. And I was like, Okay, let’s try and see what happens. And luckily, it worked out.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  28:29  
Awesome, awesome. Yeah, that’s kudos to you making all that happen. And, you know, I know you say lucky, it worked out, I’m sure there’s a lot of hard work.

Mads Peter Iversen  28:42  
You know, it’s you apply what you have learned, but it’s, yeah, it’s probably not luck. But it is work. It is what it is, like, I don’t really believe in that talent stuff, either. So it’s work hard work, just work, work, work. And yeah, at some point, you’ll reach there.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  29:02  
Awesome. Yeah. So. So you mentioned a lot about Nigel and was Was he your mentor and your inspiration that got you into, you know, when you try to find creative sight in photography, or do you have other things or other methods that you can in tune to get that creativity? Because, you know, like, after a while, as a photographer, sometimes we can get so fixated on you know, just the composition rule or you know, the foreground, mid ground background, that rule of thirds, you know, so how do you get out of that, that that rule and actually create something that is unique again, that is, you know, that makes you excited again?

Mads Peter Iversen  29:54  
Well, to begin with what made me excited was just that I figured out how to actually take photos even though like that’s the sentiment within landscape photography that you shouldn’t go to all the famous locations and take the same photos like everybody else. For me, it has been a huge part of my learning process. Because I figured out firstly, specifically how the cameras work, I’ve found out all the different relations to each other. And over time, I’ve also build up a portfolio where I can go through it, okay, what kind of photos do I actually prefer to make, like when I went to Iceland to begin with, like I just long exposed, everything, like just tends to filter on and just like two minute long exposure, everything. As if people follow me on YouTube, they see that I hardly do that anymore. And I figured out it was a look like that very, very long exposure, it’s just the look that it doesn’t really do it for me. I don’t mind like, you know, like, half a second shutter speed for water falls and small waterfalls and stuff. But when it comes to big waterfalls, I actually prefer them. Just like, you know, fast shutter speed. So you actually see the waterfall. It’s just not like, you know, a sheet of white. So, for me going into all the iconic places, and there are so many more iconic places I want to photograph but that’s mainly because I am attracted to also the cultural stuff like why do we go to Paris, you go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Like you don’t go to Paris, for I don’t know, exploring it in down in the most deep places, like maybe some photographers do. But most tourists go to Paris to photograph the Eiffel Tower. And I think that when you start out in landscape photography, it’s or less the same thing. And then over time, you try to be a little bit more regional at those different iconic locations. And from their own, you get your mind of your own and you start to recognise the patterns and you start to recognise what it is you like to do. So you can maybe go out in another mountainous area. And you can see, okay, this mountain kind of reminds me a little bit about this other composition I have, maybe I can do it here. So you will use the same compositional tools to make a photo which is more or less like a like one of the classic compositions, it’s in a new location, you can always ask yourself whether or not it’s original or not. But again, I don’t believe that you have to go 100% original because the viewer of your photos still need to be able to relate to that photo, somehow, they’ll just jump out into like visual anarchy. And I don’t mind being original and innovative. But what I’ve learned when it comes to being innovative is that if we throw everything we know when to like a box of information, you have to be there on the edge where you can just push the edge, you still need to be where most people can recognise what it is you’re doing. Whether you’re doing it in a new location, or you’re adding a little bit of new elements to it, and so forth. It’s extremely hard to be original in landscape photography these days, whether or not you swap out skies, or you don’t swap out skies, whether or not you go gung ho with editing, or you’re more like an old, traditional one exposure. And this is what I saw. being original and landscape photography is just extremely hard. And all that stuff with it should take a lot of effort. Like some most of my original photos is taken very close by and first and foremost, because it’s locations that nobody else goes to. But also because that I can really just play around with a lot of more things that I can’t do when I’m out on a photography tour. Like I plan my tour, I’m going to locations that I find interesting. And then in between those locations, I might stumble upon something which is more or less original, but then again, like how original is it when you’re just using the same compositional tools that you always do? So it’s a long discussion when it comes to originality whether or not it’s it’s even a thing anymore, but yeah, I can talk about this for a long time, but I think the conclusion is just like in the end, whatever. Nobody cares.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  34:46  
Hey, interesting, you know how you put it there and it’s funny when you say that like one of you some of your most original photo are shot close to your your home and And that’s because not as many people visit those places because they don’t say as you know, the isolinux, and stuff like that. So, when when it comes to photography, especially nowadays, it’s like, you know, a lot of people argue that it’s like very oversaturated. And a lot of people try one thing to be able to separate themselves from other photographers and stand out. What are what would be the advice that you, you will you can tell those, the people to be able to separate themselves from other photographers so that they can stand out?

Mads Peter Iversen  35:41  
The easy answer is just don’t do what everybody else is doing. But that’s like, stupid.

Again, it’s a complete cliche, but just do whatever you want to do. Like, don’t listen to the noise, don’t listen to other people telling you what you should do. Depending on where you are, in your career, if you’re living from landscape photography, you need to take that into consideration. Not every photograph you take has to be like, the most intrusive, spective deepest photo and most original stuff you had, that humankind has ever seen. It doesn’t need to be like that. Sometimes you just have to go and take a photo and full daylight of like a town and that everybody else is taking sell it as a stock for so like if that’s what it takes to create income. I’m sorry, I keep blabbering out. What was the initial question?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  36:44  
That’s, that’s interesting that you mentioned that. Oh, let me just go back to that. Because I think it’s really important how you separate some of the work that create money and some of the work that doesn’t create one, it’s a, that’s another another good point in there. But I suppose what what I was asking was, how, how do you differentiate your photography compared to other people, especially if you kind of just started out? Right?

Mads Peter Iversen  37:14  
Yeah. Yes. Okay. So we usually see that every three years or so the trends time kind of shift, like back in 2017. Everybody had like a very specific style on Instagram, like yellow raincoats, and desaturated colours and blown out skies, right? You don’t really see that anymore. Like it was a trend. And I think many of those photographers who did that back then over time, if they’re still doing landscape photography has kind of probably branched out and doing something now, which is more than in the sense that they probably, if they’re still here, have found something which they relate more to. And I think it’s like, when I started out, I just went straight into that ugly HDR photography, like looking back at it looks like crap. Like, it’s so terrible. But you know, you figure things out by mistake over time. And if you stick to the subject you’re in, in my case, landscape photography, you you over time, just figure out what you want to do. And if you can do that, then I think that slowly you do, maybe not develop a specific style, but you do something which is more aligned with you and to say another cliche, you are the best at being you. So like I have had when I’ve done a lot of my workshops and stuff I’ve been exposed to quite a lot of like, older landscape photographers maybe started out doing analogue photography, and their way of approaching it is different from mine. And there’s also the saying that, once you’re done with the epic vistas and epic landscape photos, you go more into abstract photography, and maybe some old black and white, I have tried both, and I see the abstract patterns. It’s just so utterly boring, at least for now. Like, it’s just not me. And when you have when, when there’s like this meme in the entire landscape photography community, that when patterns and abstract photos kind of start to trend because a lot of the influential photographers start talking about that. You have to find stuff for yourself and you have to do it for yourself and what they are doing is abstract photography, then the herd mentality is that everybody goes into abstract photography. And suddenly that’s the thing. That’s the trend. And I think it’s trending quite a lot right now abstract photography and that stuff. But I know how to do abstract photography, I see those patterns myself when I’m out. I sometimes photograph them, I have an entire section of abstract photographs on my website. But the long evety For me is not in abstract photography. Maybe it isn’t in yours, I don’t know. But for now I am. I’m way more like, if I’m moving away from the epic business, I’m much more into like Forest photography, by now much more atmospheric photography. It’s not I wouldn’t call it an intimate scene. But it is much more focused on a calm scene. Rather than the epic wide angle scene with a strong foreground, I still like those photos. And you can just see, obviously, people can’t see it. But on my wall here hanging behind me like it is epic photographs, but they don’t have like that very strong foreground that is almost falling out of the photo. So what I want to hang on my walls is I’m also trying like, again, as I only been here for five years, I’m still figuring out stuff myself, like what it is I like. So I like the epic VISTAs but I don’t want them to yell in my face. And that goes against what works on the social medias. Because Funny enough, those are the photos that makes the most Wow, when you see them. And if anybody’s following me on Instagram, like, it’s obvious how I’m working Instagram, like it’s each time, like I usually try to put out new photos on Instagram each week.

And then I figure out if they work or not. But if you want to do Instagram and use Instagram to reach a broad audience, you can’t expect putting up photos that doesn’t work on Instagram and then get a huge following. It’s just not how it works like I wish it was I have a lot of things I can complain about Instagram. But in the end, when it comes to these social medias on a mass scale it basically like of course, Facebook can change the algorithm a little bit like just over the past two months, like my reach has been cut in half. It’s frustrating that I’m getting less reach now than I did when I had 80,000 followers. Now I have 10 times as much as made no sense. But

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  42:45  

Mads Peter Iversen  42:47  
you kind of just have to do what you have to do when you are working on these platforms. And yes, that that can of course limit your creativity. But again, that’s a problem you have to solve over time, and I’m doing my best to solve it. But again, he’s trying to find that middle road. And I’m also Yeah, I’m taking photos that I don’t want to hang on my wall, but I know that they will work on Instagram. So I’m not photographing specifically for Instagram. But when I recognise that here is a scene, here’s a photo that would work on Instagram. Okay, then I use it for Instagram. It’s like, if you had a store, it’s like what Gary Vee says when he made his his wine store, build up his dad’s wine store, like you don’t put your garbage wine in the window, you put the best wine in the window, right to put the wine out which get the attention to get people into your store, you have to take that into consideration when you’re living off of landscape photography. In many ways, it’s a big privilege not having to live off landscape photography, because then you can go and do exactly what you want to do. I need to take that extra step where I do what I want to do, but also try to earn money from it. And yeah, it’s not always easy. You know?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  44:12  
That’s amazing. That’s amazing. I love that I love how you’re keeping it real. You know, I mean, like, especially with a lot less pressure with the social media, I know that more and more people are saying you know, like, just shoot what you like and you know, Do do do do what makes you happy and as important as that may be but I think it’s important to recognise that Instagram is more of a marketing tool. So

Mads Peter Iversen  44:41  
certainly been designed to that over the past five six years.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  44:45  
Yeah. And I love how you how you keeping it real buy just you know laying it out, you know you have to attract those people at the end of the day. It’s that’s how marketing works. And yeah, that’s that’s a really good point. And that’s, that’s great. And by By the way, I love your forest photography as well, I feel like you were able to find the granting in the boring, the most boring scene like, I remember what you want some of your reels and I was looking at as like, you know is there is a path I remember there was like a gay and then you’re like showing it as the photo that came out of it. I was like, Wow, that’s incredible. So what were you looking out when you were approaching a landscape or a scenery? That doesn’t look as interesting to make it? You know, to make it interesting?

You cut out ago, you

Mads Peter Iversen  45:49  
were lacking a little bit there. So I may have to repeat the question that

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  45:53  
I get. So I was just saying that. I love how you find the grandest thing on the most boring stuff. And you know, I remember when you post that reel, you were, I think walking on this path with this, like brown gate on the side, and you’re showing the scenery, and, you know, you have some of the coolest like photo of just like forests, and there was just so many interesting in that. But when you I think when a lot of people can approach that scenery and look at it, it might not look as interesting. And when they see your photo, just go like, where did that come from? So what I’m interested about is how do you approach a scenery that looks boring, you know, that looks that doesn’t look that doesn’t have the epic Vista, as you say, to create that photo that is still appealing and beautiful.

Mads Peter Iversen  46:51  
Oh, I think it comes with experience. I rely pretty heavily on editing, like 50% of my photos is usually down to editing even though that the scene might look good on video, when you see the raw file is often flat and boring. It’s completely unbalanced in regard to where highlights and shadows should be. So in that way, I very much like it at the very least in my forest photography, dodge and burn quite a lot with different techniques. But I think just it’s a question about experience that over time you start to recognise those patterns, which you find the static is very hard to put into words, because it’s just such an internalised way of seeing I approach a scene like if I know, okay, here’s a cool tree, here’s a cool part of the forest that I’ve explored, then I have a pretty good idea how the compositions are, go out and try them out. Figure does it work with fog? Does it work with the sun coming in somehow and all those things. So in that way becomes you practice and then you wait for the good conditions, and then you actually basically just have to go out and click the shutter right. It’s like you have done all the preparation. Other times, it’s just like you’re walking around, and then you’ll see something a that’s pretty click, and then it turns out to be really good for so. And I think the more experience you get, the more you recognise, oh, this is pretty. Like, the more you you yourself are like that works. So yeah, it’s it’s very much about just going out and shoot, shoot, shoot, get a lot of inspiration from others. I don’t mind people emulating my photos like that they will find their own way over time. It’s the people must have a really sad life, if they are just going out and completely copying all my photos. That’s that doesn’t last long, I assure you. So at some point, you do reach a place where you’re like, you just stop recognising and taking your own photos. You do get much more like you know, I would say mental health but much more like positive feedback from yourself. If you figure out something by yourself and you feel that what you’re doing is more and more. You Yeah, should I use the word original, but at least like it’s not just like going out and copying what someone else is doing.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  49:39  
That’s really interesting. So I was wondering, you know, you’ve been in this journey for a while and you’ve, you obviously have worked very hard to get to where you are right now.

Mads Peter Iversen  49:50  
I’ve worked a lot to get where I am maybe not hard.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  49:56  
And like during that journey, do you ever We’re like, come to a place where you were like, where you were burning out when you feel like you don’t want to do this anymore? Like, is that ever come across within your journey? And if it does, what? What can you do to keep this journey sustainable in the longer term? Because I think the reason why I asked this is because a lot of creatives nowadays are very ambitious. And they, you know, they see people who are succeed, and they were like, yes, I want to get there, like in two years time, and unfortunately, a lot of the time, because they were hammering so hard on it, they get really, they don’t understand how to make it sustainable, both on the mental side as well as you know, in the, in the money side, because it’s, it’s a marathon, let’s face it, it’s a marathon. Right? So what are some of the, you know, have you ever come across those situation? And if it has, what are some of the advice you can offer to some of the newer creatives who’s kind of like, you know, in the beginning part of their journey? Yeah,

Mads Peter Iversen  51:15  
I can only speak for myself. But yes, I of course, have reached periods where it has been like, I remember especially like, by the end of 2019, I have been doing a whole lot of workshops in Iceland. And it was just like the same locations again, and again, and again. And you’re saying the same things again, and again, and again. And even, I really liked doing the workshops, and spending time with those people who attend the workshops. That’s always interesting, super nice people, always. But the work in itself does become rather repetitive, like I still enjoy like going to the ice beach and Iceland, I could spend hours there just and I’m even thinking of just like going with my girlfriend twice in the summer, because we haven’t been to Iceland together yet. That’s a lot of things, a lot of places I want to visit. But after 2019, I was really like, burned out with with the epic business. And I got a much more, I got much more interesting in exploring Denmark and photographing in Denmark, which luckily, came together with the pandemic where I couldn’t travel. So luckily, I had my interest for photographing in Denmark before being forced to having to photograph in Denmark. So in that way, that was like a really nice energy boost and also go much more into forest photography has been a very big energy boost. Because my parents house is in a forest I’ve grown up in a forest I relate to forests. And that is why many of my favourite photos are from like, they’re very, very local. Because I relate much more to those photos than I do to my Iceland photos. I’m happy about like my big epic business, from Iceland on my travels and all that stuff. But it is nice to also get that extra part where it’s more local. And it’s refreshing, it’s different way of thinking, rather than only doing the epic stuff. So mixing it up, figure out what you like to do, maybe from time to time force yourself out. It can be hard to get out and up for in the morning, hum the first to say that. And you might not get anything which is particularly interesting, but chances are you are if you just come prepare it like if you go out a summer morning, and it has been a cold night and you’re aiming to get to a foggy location like go go to a place with a varied landscape. Again, I know if you’re living in the middle of desert is probably a little bit hard, but then you have to just be innovative about how you’re thinking about approaching these things. So for me, it’s seek out those special conditions maybe rather than seeking out specific locations. Yeah, it’s hard for me to really answer it because I’m still so young in it. I’m still so passionate about it. That’s those very small down periods where I’m like, this is boring, like two weeks of just overcast weather and no snow or whatever like the start of December like last year 2020 I was a bit like dark period and you just do something else like it’s and then usually comes back

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  55:01  
I interesting, I like how you say, you know, don’t necessarily seek out the location, but seek out the condition. I think that is, I never really think about it that way. But it’s very true because it doesn’t matter, you might go to the same popular spot, but a really unique condition make that popular spot unique altogether. That’s really interesting way of looking at it. Wow, man, it’s been like, amazing conversation. I love how just seeing how you approach this, you know, and the way you approach your photography, as well as, like being a full time landscape photographer. We’re kind of coming to the one hour mark here. And I always ask every guest, that come into the podcast. If you have one advice that you can give other photographers out there that you feel, this is the most important thing that a photographer should know, what would that advice be?

Mads Peter Iversen  56:10  
Do what you want to do? Don’t listen to the noise. It’s okay, it’s okay to do the trending stuff, it’s okay to do all the obvious stuff. At some point, you will reach a point where you start becoming more original and just just just follow your own wishes, like of course, within the law, like and ethics, do whatever you want to do.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  56:36  
That’s great. That is great. You know, like, in, in just late last year, I had I had this burnout. And the main reason of that burnout was, you know, I wasn’t doing what I want to do, I was pressured to, to do the things that I need to do. And you know, that advice is so important. It doesn’t matter if you, like you say doesn’t matter if it’s going to be a popular sport or not. But being able to do what you want to do is really important for your mental health. Wow, that’s amazing. And I absolutely enjoyed this conversation conversation. And you know, you have beautiful photos, beautiful. imagery from especially the north part of the world. Where can the listener find new and see more of your work, as well as learn from you if they choose to? Yeah, what’s the best way to find you?

Mads Peter Iversen  57:35  
YouTube, just Google my name. I’m probably everywhere. So YouTube and Instagram. And of course, my homepage, which is a little bit of an odd homepage name, but it’s MPI like mess Peter iris and MPI and then photo pH o For Denmark. And so MPI and YouTube, Instagram. And that’s it. I have my ebooks on composition, how I think composition, I talk about it as compositional tools. I don’t like the word rules. It’s more like, you see a scene, you approach a scene? And then you can maybe like think about okay, is there some kind of leading line I can use? How is the separation between the trees? And what can I do to show scale? If I’m in a mountainous area, if that’s the point of actually showing scale? Should I go with a long lens? Should I go with a wide lens and all those things? Should I do horizontal? Should I do verticals? So yeah, and then I have, of course my huge Photoshop for landscape photographers from beginners to advanced course, about post processing. I’m sharing everything I know about how I post process my photos. If you’re a complete beginner and you want to get started, it should work really well for you. I haven’t heard anybody who said that it was much too advanced. And yeah, so it’s like 19 hours of editing tutorials. So there’s a lot to dig into very systematically build up with a lot of different ways to like approach a specific way a specific look and the look I have. So yeah, that was it.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  59:32  
Fantastic. Yeah, I’ll make sure that all that links is under on the description below but we can’t thank you very much for tuning in. And I hope you get a lot of those jam a lot of those wisdom and hopefully you are taking notes and as well as thinking about, you know how to implement all a lot of these things in your way of photography. Mads, it’s been incredible having you here, I love that Um, just the way you actually think and, you know, chunk down a lot of the decision process. And that’s definitely helpful for a lot of people, you know, as well as myself to kind of understand that, that way of attacking of what should I do next? And you know, what are ways? What are the different ways we should do and stuff like that. So, thank you very much. And, yeah, I really appreciate you sparing your time and to be in this podcast, sharing your wisdom with the listeners.

Mads Peter Iversen  1:00:34  
Thank you so much for having me. It’s always a great pressure.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:00:39  
Well, there you have it. We care hunters and you haven’t already subscribed, so don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. But apart from that, I’ll see you guys next week.


The Wicked Hunt by Stanley Aryanto Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.