A photographer’s good life

When I ask Neil what makes Swedish Lapland special for a photographer he replies instantly: "The light, both in summer and winter. This is a place you can’t visit just once or twice. You have to live here to be able to really understand and make the unique conditions work for you..."

PHOTOGRAPHER NEIL CRIGHTON

Imagine that someone who has travelled all over the world chooses to settle down in Boliden, just outside Skellefteå, in Swedish Lapland. Why, you might wonder? Well, it’s because Boliden is the best place on earth. That is if you ask Neil and Julia Crighton.

We’re sitting in the photo gallery, drinking coffee. For six years ago the highly reputable photographer Neil Crighton and his wife Julia decided to move to Boliden, a small mining town in Swedish Lapland.
– This is the perfect place, says Julia, and Neil nods. We used to say we would have come here sooner, while the children were small.

The sun shines through the gallery’s large windows and beautifully lights the photos hanging on the walls.
Neil is an international, highly reputable photographer; he has travelled all over the globe with his camera. The assignments have been plenty and the clients often multinational companies.
– My niche is industrial photography, says Neil.

 

TRAVELING THE WORLD

The job has taken him to many exciting places and challenging environments.
– I’ve been hanging from a helicopter for my share of the time, he says and smiles.
Neil has been working in a total of 56 countries and even if he’s formally retired, he still does some professional work.
– Last summer I spent some time in Finland, working for a big company and I still do some teaching for West Dean College, in the South of England.
But their ambition is to do less travelling in the future, and spend more time in Boliden.

CLIMATE AND INSPITATION

In 2012 Neil’s book Landscape Photography – Art and Techniques was released by The Crowood Press Ltd, a book that harbours both Neil’s vast knowledge in the art of photography and a good deal of Swedish Lapland motifs.
– Many of the pictures were taken within the region of Skellefteå.
Julia tells me that she and Neil, for a long time ago, had made the decision to move abroad when they retired.
– We wanted to get away from the cold and damp British climate.
Where they wanted to move wasn’t decided, but they had a good feeling about the Scandinavian countries. The Crightons used to go for skiing holidays in both Norway and Sweden.
– We normally packed the car, took the ferry over to Gothenburg and then headed north, Julia recalls.

ALL ABOUT THE LIGHT

When they were looking for a new place to call home, they pretty soon narrowed it down to Sweden.
– Norway is incredibly beautiful but a bit pricey and Denmark wasn’t really an option. So the Crightons choose Sweden, and of course, the northern parts of Sweden.
– The northern climate suits us perfectly. And Boliden gave us the opportunity to live the life we wanted, says Neil, which means running a photo gallery and develop courses in photography.
– We just want to inspire people to take great pictures, Julia fills in.

When I ask Neil what makes Swedish Lapland special for a photographer he replies instantly: The light, both in summer and winter. This is a place you can’t visit just once or twice. You have to live here to be able to really understand and make the unique conditions work for you.
He gets up and walks across the room. When he comes back he shows me two pictures of spectacular northern lights.
– This is taken nearby the other night.
The picture Neil is holding in his hands, suddenly makes it all come clear to me. Neil and Julia Crighton are living the good life in Swedish Lapland – the good life powered by nature.

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