Photographer Lasse Dearman on Danish mayhem
by Maria Raposo
Danish photographer Lasse Dearman captures reckless youth on camera. Focusing on a bleak kind of beauty, his images delve into Denmark’s blood spattered subculture and the ‘mayhem’ music scene. His best work adheres to a diary style – he photographs friends and bands in a very intimate style. His subjects seem free of self consciousness; forgetting themselves in front of the lens.
KOD: What is the ‘Mayhem Scene’?
Lasse Dearman: I'm not an expert but I’ll try to explain. Mayhem is a warehouse in Nordvest, Copenhagen – it’s a venue and a practice space. It’s made up of a group of friends who rehearse and put on shows there. A lot of them play in different bands. For example, there’s Elias Bender Rønnenfelt who plays/ played in Iceage, Vår and Marching Church or Loke Rahbek from Sexdrome and Lust for youth.
The scene is constantly evolving, new bands come up all the time and other bands stop playing. There’s also the label Posh Isolation which is run by Loke Rahbek and Christian Stadsgaard who play together as Damien Dubrovnik. They release a lot of the music coming from the scene including the smaller and less well known bands/projects.
KOD: Did you go out looking for the mayhem scene or did it find you?
Lasse Dearman: I first shot Iceage back in December 2010. At this point I didn't know about the mayhem scene, I had just heard Iceage were playing in small town in north Denmark and I really wanted to photograph them. When I got there, I was literally the only person watching their show; it was great. It wasn't until I moved to Copenhagen a year or two after, that I started coming to Mayhem more and started photographing the other bands as well.
KOD: How has moving to Glasgow affected your work?
Lasse Dearman: I think a lot has changed because I've moved away from all my friends who I liked to photograph. I'm suddenly in this new place where I don’t really know anyone and so I don’t really have anyone to photograph in the same way. So far, this means that I've been photographing more ‘still life’, which has been good for me to get better at. But I do miss photographing people a lot. It’s not the same shooting strangers on the street compared to making intimate portraits of people you know.
KOD: Where does your raw aesthetic originate from?
Lasse Dearman: I met photographer David Richardson when I lived in London, he introduced me to point and shoot film cameras. It changed my view completely and made me realize I felt a really strong connection to that kind of photography. Since then, I have tried to develop my own aesthetics. It takes a lot of time to create your own style and I’m still working on it.
KOD: Why are you so drawn to bleak scenery and urban decay?
Lasse Dearman: I'm fascinated by things, which are unintentionally beautiful. With time, objects tend to grow or decay and develop their own life, personality and story. I find that interesting. I feel like I can find something intriguing and dramatic in the dark scenarios I photograph. I like it when there’s something at stake and I can’t really find the same tension on the bright side of life.
Lasse Dearman, 'Malthe', 2012
KOD: What attracts you to a diary style of photography?
Lasse Dearman: I think what I find appealing is that it’s very personal. At the same time there’s a tendency for these pictures to revolve around existential ideas and that’s what makes pictures most meaningful.
KOD: What inspired you to start up the photography blog, Deliverance?
Lasse Dearman: I first had a blog where I posted pictures I liked, to keep them collected in one place. Then I started getting more interested in the various photographers and I had a lot of questions in mind, so it seemed natural to interview them. Deliverance was never really set up to become more than just a blog which is also why there’s no constant posting. It only happens when I feel like it.
KOD: Do you change your creative process when shooting album covers or music videos?
Lasse Dearman: No, I try as much as possible to keep working in the same way as when I shoot ‘normally’ but of course things will become different when the shoot has been arranged before hand. I’m still learning to incorporate my personal style into more commissioned kind of work.
KOD: Anything exciting coming up?
Lasse Dearman: Yes! I shot my first real editorial, for Man About Town (due to come out in March) featuring two of the best Danish bands around at the moment - Gäy and Communions. I’m also planning to go the USA this summer and travel from Florida to San Francisco, and shoot for a month and see what comes out of it.