For this second interview, the above picture was what instantly hooked me. This is the door behind which Rania‘s universe lies. And what a magical and enchanting one. Actually, I will let her take the word from here:
My name is Rania Maria Rönntoft, I’m 26 years old and I live on the countryside in the northern parts of Sweden. I work as a freelancing photographer, and I specialise in interior, food -and lifestyle photography. I love cats, coffee and to be outside in nature (preferably with my feet bare). I am currently working on changing my lifestyle and downshifting a bit. Me and my boyfriend want to live a more sustainable life where we consume less, grow our own food and we plan to be more self-sufficient. Not only for the environment, but also in order for us to work less and live more.
Please share your thoughts on the meaning of creativity and of the meaning of art (i.e. what is creativity/art to you?).
I don’t think about my creativity like that very often, and I never actually feel I am very creative. Taking pictures is just something I do, it’s such a huge part of myself. Almost like breathing or walking. Although when asked to say a little about myself, I have occasionally called myself a very sensitive, creative person and I’ve referred to my zodiac sign pisces since they’re often like that haha! But I guess creativity for me is just expressing myself and doing something which makes me feel good and at peace by creating something, in my case taking pictures as well as writing on my blog, managing my social networking platforms etc.
I used to draw a lot as a kid, before I got my camera so I guess it has always been a part of me, to create. I have always been a very emotional person, a doer instead of a thinker and one who learns by doing instead of reading about things so I guess being creative and just doing things with my hands is what keeps me sane and happy.
How do you express your creativity?
My work as a photographer is definitely my main creative process. Getting props with colors and textures that inspire me and that help with conveying a feeling I am after. Styling a photo, framing it in the camera and finding a good light. Then there’s the editing process in the computer, with is also a very fun, creative process. Then comes the blogging and social networking, all those things are to me ways for my creativity to be expressed and take form.
Do you have any thoughts on being a woman and a creative/artist?
Hm no, I haven’t actually thought about my gender in connection with my creative work. I do not place much values in genders at all. To be honest, to me it’s all about how we are and act as human beings, and our personalities. I don’t care much for a persons gender and I do not feel that should affect what we do in life. Each photographer has his or her own style when it comes to framing, usage of light and the colors and style of props he or she uses, and I think that’s a very personal thing which has been formed through the years of that photographers life.
Making a living as a photographer is hard, as with any creative profession, and I do not think one gender has it easier than the other. Shooting food and interior, which I do, is more represented amongst female photographers, I think – even though I can name more than a few talented males within those areas! I cannot say I’ve noticed customers choosing a photographer based on their gender though, ever. It’s about how you are as a person, how well you work with a team and if the customer likes your own, unique style or not.
What has been the most challenging experience in regards to finding or expressing your creativity and how did you get through it?
Being creative has never been a struggle for me, I’ve always found ways to be creative. As I previously mentioned, I drew a lot as a kid and then I got my camera. I also feel I express my creativity when I decorate at home, put images on my mood-board above the desk and even when I do something as simple as set the table for dinner. Sure I have days when the inspiration is low but I always know it’ll come back. Making the decision to take my passion and hobby and turning it into my work though, that’s been harder. I have been afraid, more than once, that once it’s work I’ll stop loving it and that taking photos won’t make me tick the way it always have. I have found though, that working with my creative passion made it even more fun and providing, and I love the challenges it brings even though there are some rough patches to make your way through now and then.
What are you most grateful for?
All the support and help my friends and family have been giving me in choosing to pursuing my dream and trying to make a living as a photographer. I am also grateful for myself and how resolved I’ve been it all this. I have been true to myself and my photographic style, to my values and opinions and I’ve kept on going even though it’s been really hard to run a business and get enough work to get by. I am glad I’ve never given up. I am grateful for my boyfriend who’s providing a lot for both of us, economically, while I work on building my business.
If you could have a conversation with any being, dead or alive, with whom or what would it be and what would you discuss?
This is such a hard question, and not something you think about often haha. Maybe I’d like to talk with someone from the old days, before we had all this technology. When we lived off the land, traded goods and favors with each other and before consumption was such a huge part of our lives. Times was harder back then, I’m sure – but I do think people where generally happier. I guess I’d like to just sit down with someone like that and talk about life and what makes it all worth while. I think today, most of us has the wrong idea about what makes us happy, and what’s important in life. It’s not about a great education, success within a profession and having a fancy car and things like that. Working so hard you can buy all those things, but you have no time to live and once you’re old and have the time, your body doesn’t cope anymore because you’ve worked way to hard. It all seems so wrong to me. I’d like to know what people lived for before, what made them happy and what they valued in life.
I could probably come up with various other topics I’d have with other persons or beings haha (like nordic/scandinavian fairy tale creatures; if they existed, where are they now? Have they gone because we’re ruining nature?) buuuut let’s stick with my first answer or this interview will never come to an end!
Do you have anyone who are an inspiration to you? Please share.
Well, I do follow a huge range of people on social media platforms like instagram and through blogs. My friend and fellow photographer colleague Jenny Jacobsson (www.jennyjacobsson.com) has such a creative, inspiring mind and she creates the most amazing worlds with her images that always inspires me and touch the part of myself that would like to speak with Scandinavian fairy tale creatures haha. Maria, a recipe creator, food blogger and photographer also known as Made by Mary (madebymary.se) has a wonderful blog, creates amazing recipes followed by even more amazing images but most of all she really inspires me when it comes to running a business, being professional and having the guts both to say no and to ask for proper payment. She’s taught me a lot about valuing my own work and the time I spend creating my images, blog posts and everything surrounding my business. I’m also inspired by a lot of illustrates, and Lois Van Baarle (loish.net) is one of them. She always draws such interesting characters, and I love her style and use of colors! Each new piece she releases is very inspiring! Generally, I am inspired by people who are true to themselves, who dare to live outside of the norm and who manages to live a fulfilling life in their own way.
What is your next project? (If you don’t mind sharing).
I am currently exploring the world of videography, and I have some plans to implement it into food -and interior photography. Together with some other creative foodies and stylists, I have few projects planned and it’s all very exciting! That’s all I can say for now though so you’ll have to keep an eye out on my blog! Also, as I am writing this, I am on a train to a beautiful place where I will actually film the wedding of Maria a.k.a Made By Mary whom I mentioned above.
Thank you so much, Rania! =) Very inspiring words.