Q&A: Thea Løvstad

Thea Løvstad isn’t just any old photographer. A self-described ‘eco-artist’, her work jumps between the boundaries of art, fashion, landscape and still life. Underpinned by her own personal sustainable principles, Thea chooses to collaborate with environmentally-conscious, likeminded brands and individuals that reflect her own beliefs. As a result, her photographs aren’t just beautiful - but they each try and portray a message about the environment, our impact on the environment or even just by championing those who are also doing their bit.

We can’t help but admire someone spreading an important message through a creative outlet, and Thea is certainly becoming a regular face on the eco scene, shooting for the likes of The Acey, Marina London and Austin Austin. Her pared-back, considered aesthetic and focus on nature, shape, colour and light means Thea’s work is a feast for the eyes - usually with an intelligent message to boot. To find out more, we sat down with the Norwegian-born photographer to talk about her upbringing, her views on climate change and some of her favourite eco-conscious brands.

Describe your style of photography and your aesthetic.

My photography is a symbiosis between perfection and imperfection: quite minimalistic, structured and sculptural yet playful - exploring unexpected shadow plays and abstract compositions, always including nature in some form. I hope the viewer feel calmness and serenity when experiencing the photographs.

You call yourself an ‘eco artist’ - what do you mean by this?

Sustainability is truly important to me both personally and professionally, so I therefore select all my clients carefully and only collaborate with brands (whether it be within fashion, interior or lifestyle) who opt for a sustainable and fair production and/or timelessness and high quality. This way I only promote products that do not harm the planet and I can actually stand for. All my fine art projects are also exploring environmental issues – hence the title ‘eco artist’.

How has your upbringing in Norway and the country’s landscape fed into your work?

I grew up by the sea and close to nature and have seen all the beauty earth has provided us with, literally on my doorstep. That has made me appreciate it more because I see what we could potentially lose. Furthermore, it is rooted in Norwegian culture to respect and take care of nature. Surely that has led me to the style of photography I practice today and is also the reason why I talk about climate in my work. It is a harmony of interest, mindset and lifestyle originating from my childhood days in Kragerø. The special light and the moody sea has for sure added a melancholic touch to my imagery.

What has been your most memorable shoot and why?

All shoots done on location are memorable, because you get to explore new places and nothing goes as planned, haha. You cannot impact the weather gods so you simply have to “go with the flow” and make the best out of it. I prefer following the light instead of creating it, that’s when the magic happens.

Do you use your work to encourage people to think about the environment and climate change?

Yes, certainly! I obviously understand that I will not save the world by promoting eco brands, however if it can impact even just one single person to purchase garments that are produced in a sustainable way and will last for years, instead of high street garments, that would definitely be a goal completed. By introducing people to all these brilliant brands, they will hopefully see that eco is not synonymous with boring and compromising (which has been the impression for quite a while now).

Why is sustainability so important to you?

Because Earth is at risk due to our greedy consumption, mainly in Western countries. Without a healthy Earth we will not be able to breathe, we will not have food. Climate change is purely our fault; therefore we need to find a solution to the problem. Everyone has a responsibility and there are plenty relatively small, easy actions we all can do in order to make a change – like eating less (or no) meat, recycling, travel with public transport instead of cars and changing our shopping habits.

We love some of the fashion and design brands you work with. What are some of your favourite brands to wear and why?

From my client list, In-Grid Studio is definitely the brand I wear the most – their white shirts (especially the oversized ones) are part of my everyday staples. Great quality organic cotton, timeless yet interesting design and a conscious production. My Marina London navy silk ‘Dree Dress’ is always with me on holidays and worn on special occasions.

Other brands I love to wear, which I have used during shoots but not work for directly is By Far Shoes, Paloma Wool, LOQ and Totême, among some.

What do you do to unwind?

Meals with friends and family makes we grounded and relaxed. I truly believe in taking the time to enjoy them properly on a daily basis. Every morning I wake up 30 minutes earlier than I have to, in order to eat breakfast with my boyfriend, I also try to do lots of dinner gatherings with friends. And last but not least on a more long term scale, travelling and spending time in nature stimulates my inspiration and energy level.

All images: Thea Lovstad

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