Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj: “Still photography is where I thrive”

May 24, 2016  22:53  |  Let’s talk

Minimalist recipes

Photos: Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj for Eva Solo brand

Still life photography is where I thrive, – says Copenhagen-based photographer Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj, who has been shooting for more than a decade now. His recent collaboration with a Scandinavian kitchen brand Eva Solo has been widely noticed due to its luxurious simplicity and composure. Minimalist recipes, as Mikkel refers to them, have been presented using ingredients hovering above the pans: “The idea was to show the pans and ingredients ideally complementing each other and illustrating a dish made in that specific product. The images are both the presentation of the brand and an inspiration to different recipes!”

Talking about the start of his path as a photographer, Mikkel admits having photography as a hobby for quite a long time while studying economics: “However, I found myself spending less and less time on the studies and more time skipping class to go take pictures. I simply grew tired of sitting in a class room and decided to drop out and pursue my growing dream of living off my hobby. That was back in 2000 and luckily I succeeded. In 2005 I was able to call myself a photographer. Then I spent about 8 years working as an employed photographer at various studios, as I did not have my own clients yet, but in 2013 I finally took the plunge and started my own company which I haven’t regretted one bit.”

Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj for Eva Solo brand

Less is more –  Mikkel believes minimalism describes his style very well. Not too many disturbing elements, but just enough extra elements to tell the story – that is his approach to work: “What I like about the minimalistic and clean style of photography, which I practice myself, is the stripped down focus on what is important in the images. I photograph many products and I just want the product to stand out. I think the reason why minimalism is on-demand these days is that we are constantly bombarded with so many impressions from the news and media that we just want to rest out eyes on something clean and calm once in a while.”

Eva Solo - Minimalist recipes

Making clients happy by showing their products as beautiful as possible is one of the main aims for Mikkel. He admits working on fulfilling clients’ ideas is usually a work-alone process: “I receive products and I’m asked to come up with something, which is great as I am forced to generate some fresh ideas all the time. That is a great challenge. I do not think I can say it is technically difficult. I might run into challenges underway, but I know that I will get there. I usually have a final image in my mind when I start and then I work towards that. I spend a lot of time making extra details on the products to enhance the shape and materials. All those extra shots are finally put together in Photoshop to make sure that all the highlights and shadows look perfect.”

Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj

Efficient, fast and a result-oriented – that is exactly how Mikkel could be described at doing work. His typical week usually consists of two days of shooting and two days of retouching, while the rest is spent with various works at the office: “I usually get to the studio at 8.30 and start off with coffee. And if I am shooting without clients coming by, I like to just get started. Having the idea of final image already in my mind makes it a lot easier to set up the lighting, as I know exactly what I want the picture to look like. I absolutely love my work and I enjoy going to work every day. The work I do is a matter of temper. I will never do fashion photography and I do portraits only sometimes. I love all the technical details, working with light and shaping things. It takes a lot of patience and I enjoy that. Am I happy? Short answer – yes!”

Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj

Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj


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