Can you please photograph my heart?

In May I was in Göteborg, my home city in Sweden. I planned to take some new headshots with photographer Katja Rangstam who I’ve known for over 20 years.

We had a short discussion about what kind of portrait to shoot: studio, outdoor, business style, traditional, relaxed, working, glamorous or lifestyle.

There are so many interesting ways of using the art of photography and I felt a bit indecisive. I spent the night before the photo shoot lying in my bed thinking about the day to come. I had a dentist appointment first thing in the morning and then after that I was going to the studio to meet Katja. I prayed quietly that I had been treating my teeth well and that my visit to the dentist would be a quick one.

Just before I fell asleep I thought about my heart. Maybe I could ask Katja to photograph my heart? Is that possible? Or should I tell her to capture my soul? Is it possible to capture the character of a human’s heart or soul?

The next morning I packed my bag, I brought a few dresses with me and I put on my favourite silver earrings (my friend Maria gave them to me as a birthday present a few years ago). Every time I wear them I get plenty of compliments, so those were the earrings I wanted to wear that day.

I drove to my dentist. I was lucky. I was in and out in 20 minutes. Then I started to drive towards Kungälv, a city with one of the biggest bakeries in Sweden, Göteborg Kex.

I met Katja in her studio which is situated in a lovely old building in the town centre. I asked her what kind of photos she had in mind. She said: ‘You have a lot of professional business photos; maybe we should go for a series of outdoor portraits that are more natural.’ I told her about my idea of capturing my heart in a simple and clear way that would reveal who I am and what I stand for. Katja didn’t say yes or no to my idea about capturing my heart.

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We both grew up with the sea a few minutes from our houses in the western part of Göteborg. For me, sea, water and endless views over the horizon mean freedom. I love it when the wind plays with my hair and the smell of salt in the air tickles my soul. Even when you go for a swim the scary seaweeds makes me feel fully alive. Being a west coast girl is something special. If you are one as well then I am sure you know what I mean.

In the studio I found a knitted blanket that Katja’s mother-in-law had found in a shop and we brought that with us. It was very heavy and huge. It reminded me of my paternal grandmother Anna-Lisa. She used to knit similar blankets and in my parents’ home there are several of them.

On our way out I went to a coffee shop and bought a coffee and two cinnamon buns. In Sweden we do something called ‘having a fika’, which simply means drinking coffee, tea or whatever you fancy and having a cinnamon bun or cookie – actually, anything sweet will do. I thought that for the camera to be able to truly capture my heart I needed a cinnamon bun and a cup of coffee. It’s never a bad time for a fika.

We drove out towards Marstrand and stopped just a mile away from the ferry and found a good spot for the portraits.

We walked down towards the water. I felt a bit nervous and intimidated. We found a cliff where I sat down and Katja started shooting.

It was not sunny, but it was very bright and I couldn’t help squinting. Katja changed her lens and then we continued shooting.

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Close up. Very close up. Me and a swan in the background. New background. With the knitted colourful blanket. Standing up. Sitting down.

We must have taken a few hundred photos.



That was it, we were done.

Next up was lunch at Marstrands Havshotell.

You’ve just read the story of how you can photograph a human’s heart. I am very happy with the result it makes me feel grounded in myself and my background.

With a cool photographer, the sea, the rocks and the amazing Swedish western coastline you get great results.

When I posted one of the pics on Facebook and said that we had tried to capture my heart, lots of people said they could see it and could see me, who I am and what I stand for in the photo.

Please take a look at my new portraits. I hope they show you a bit more of who I am and what my heart looks like.

Much love to Katja for being so amazing to work with.


Sofie x

PS. There has been minimal retouching of the photographs. They are as natural and real as they can be.


SofieSandell - Photographer Katja Rangstam


























SofieSandell - Photographer Katja Rangstam - Swan in the background


























Sofie Sandell - Photographer Katja Rangstam near Marstrand

SofieSandell - Photographer Katja Rangstam - with the knitted blanket