Departing for a moment from the editorial world, Scandinavia SSAW Magazine‘s creator Jakob de Tobon and photographer Boe Marion‘s latest visual endeavor is their collaborative, personal book “The Tarn”, a term for a mountain lake if you’re unfamiliar. The book is an immersive compendium of new and unused images of rarities Malaika Firth, Vanessa Axente, Julia Hafstrom, Kim Peers and Frida Gustavsson interacting with the elements. The Scandinavian landscape–a familiar influence to the team, plays a central role in the creating the rich images. The 170+ page selection is abound with a sense of natural wonderment, impressive beauties and an interactive closeness from the play of the two. Models.com spoke with Jakob and Boe to find out more, plus an exclusive preview of its content that can be seen below.
The book is available here.
Creative Director Jakob de Tobon
Full Credits Below
What was your desire / end goal with the creation of “The Tarn”
JDT: During our collaborations on Scandinavia S/S/A/W we found an aesthetic that we both loved. By making a book we wanted to take it to its peak. Mixing new stories (Malaika Firth, Vanessa Axente and Julia Hafström), still life and landscape as well as new edits from our S/S/A/W stories on Kim Peers and Frida Gustavsson we worked for the past two years to make this something timeless. That is also the main reason for why we wanted to make this a book – creating something that will last. From my side, also as a designer I have always been dreaming of creating a book. It gives so much more freedom than a magazine does, even if Scandinavia S/S/A/W is very indie.
BM: To portray both nature itself and the women in it. It was important to us that they were in the nature and not in front of it. I thought about when I as a young boy was laying flat on the stomach in the forest looking at all the details in the brush. The leaves, the ants, the rays of sun shining on the forest floor creating bursts of color. There is a whole world down there, that we usually never see or hear. You step on it all the time but you are never quite down there. And when looking at it in real life there is smell, sound, movement. It was very important to me that all this came through to the reader of this book.
The nature plays a huge role in the visuals. How did the process of location scouting go?
JDT: Nature is the core of the book, it’s more a book on nature than a book on fashion. We shot the first stories in the Norwegian mountains where I used to spend my childhood summers and then we took it from there. It wasn’t something we thought of before but now in retrospective I realise we walked in Ingmar Bergman’s footprints shooting both on Fårö (where he shot many films and lived) as well as Arild (where he shot Sawdust and Tinsel)
How would you describe Scandinavian beauty, both speaking about the models and nature?
BM: Their beauty goes hand in hand, the one needs the other to truly shine. Like the freckles on Julia’s face, they remind me of spots of moss on a stone, the reflection of Frida’s eyes twinkles like a stream, Vanessa’s clean arched lines is comparable to a ridge of a mountain covered in snow. Also, Scandinavian nature has a certain quality of light, it is crisp and pure in the spring, autumn brings warm light with darker skies, winter is cold and harsh of course, but the beauty of a dark landscape only lit by the moon and the snow is one of the most beautiful sights I can think of.
Not all were Scandinavian though–did the girls each bring something unique to the experience, being from different places…
JDT: We did not have the goal to make a particularly Scandinavian book actually. We wanted to shoot girls that inspire us in the most beautiful surroundings we know. All shot in a very raw, natural and cinematic way. The goal was to make the girls feel as one with the nature.
The models are very immersed into their environment, interacting with it. Can you describe how the shooting went? Did the elements inspire the movement?
BM: We looked for certain things that were covered and hidden, that are hard to see just looking at what is in front of you. Our scouting is always done very thoroughly, but on the days we shoot one never knows what is going to work or happen. The day we shot Malaika in Vissvass just outside Stockholm, the very last day of autumn, just a few trees had leaves left on them and the ground was instead covered in their brown and yellow gold leaves which happened to look gorgeous with her skin-tone. When shooting nature one also need to look for certain sudden details, like the ladybug that came crawling onto a leaf near Julia’s face when we were shooting her portrait. She just had to move her head 3 inches to the left and let the ladybug crawl onto her hair. The ladybug doesn’t care if it is a straw or Julia’s hair, it is all the same to the ladybug. For me that is proof that nature is one single element and that we should take caution to notice it and care for it the same as we do to our family and friends.
That said, how did you go about choosing this cast?
JDT: Doing editorials I always want girls that can act. For me it’s about expression. Especially Julia took it all the way. She gave so much during that day. Scandinavian summer days gives you many hours of light, but I’ve never got so many amazing images from one day before.
From the initial conception, what were the notes on styling something like this? What about the overall mood in general?
JDT: We wanted this to be more about the girls and the nature than about the fashion. So trends/seasons did not matter at all. We just wanted it to look real, more cinematic than fashion editorial styling. Our watchwords was real, raw and beautiful.
Are there any images that are particularly moving to you both?
BM: As a whole, the book is extremely moving to me. With the words and the storyline the book feels like one great picture. Like a movie, or a fairytale.
Choosing a couple of favorites I have to say that the one with Julia by the tarn with the reflection of her with the tress, or Vanessa in the hay with the dust shining in the ray of light above her body. They both have that certain magic quality to them visually that I love.
JDT: I agree, it’s very hard to choose one image since I see the whole book as one piece of art. But having that said I do looooove Julia and the Ladybug.
What was the most difficult part of composing the book?
BM: The Tarn came together as something we haven’t seen before, it is part storybook, part fashion, part nature so we really had no reference point other than our ideas. And also, you’re completely free as there is no client other than ourselves and the reader. That felt unusual to me cause when I do fashion work you always have a client or a buyer.
Deciding on which story to tell was very hard. And making it all come together as a whole. I’ve done long editorials in the past but doing 170+ pages is a whole different ball game. We wanted The Tarn to be perfect, and at the same time not to feel too forced or too sterile. Balancing those factors during post production was the absolutely hardest part.
JDT: Design-wise it was very interesting putting together something like this. I wanted to bring the rawness of the images all the way through the book as one object. With off-white uncoated papper as well as a raw open Swiss bound back and the cover wrapped in rustic moss green jute fabric it almost looks like a piece of nature itself.