Jonas Fredwall Karlsson Meets The Master Marine
A photographer’s job is to highlight their subject. To eke out the personality of the person they’re shooting and put it front and center. Some subjects are huge characters, soaking up the limelight and putting it all on display. Others are quieter and have a more steely energy and need to be coaxed to reveal a little more of themselves. Jonas Fredwall Karlsson approaches everyone equally. They’re all people. “You try to connect in some kind of way and find their language so you can equal yourself,” he explains. “I listen to their story and try to make them as comfortable as possible, whoever they are, whatever they’re doing, and wherever they are.” It’s about establishing a personal connection and letting that be the vehicle to capture an authentic energy in the photograph.
For his latest shoot with Vanity Fair, Jonas caught up with Nick Sloane from Sloane Marine, who has been tasked with salvaging the Costa Concordia. The Costa Concordia broke into an international news item when it ran aground off the coast of Isola del Giglio in 2012. The massive ship has been there ever since, threatening to wreak havoc on the surrounding environment and act as a beacon for the detractors of the cruise industry. Jonas was given a quick rundown of what’s been happening on Nick’s floating dock that acts as a base of operations for the salvage operation. Nick is a very busy man, and his crew has been working 24 hours a day without pause to get the Cost Concordia afloat, but the crew did take just enough time out to give Vanity Fair an idea of how this two year wrong is being righted. “They have four or five divers down there all the time, they have guys watching monitors seeing what they’re seeing, keeping track of their hearts and breathing, and oxygen and all that from above,” Jonas explains. “It’s really high tech. It’s a very serious and very dangerous thing they’re doing. And nobody had done this before, at this scale. This is the biggest ever.” The gravity of the situation is not lost on Nick.
The 52 year old South African travels around the world working on impossible projects like this. He’s become one of the most trusted names in the marine world, correcting errors – both avoidable and unavoidable – around the globe, entering into All Or Nothing agreements. Either he succeeds, or he doesn’t get paid. As Jonas tells it, when the Costa Concordia assignment came up, the world was against him. Jonas remarked, “A lot of people said, ‘It will not be possible, it will crack, it will fall apart.’ And Nick’s take on that was ‘I think it will work.’” It ultimately did, and what Jonas captured for us is this hard and focused man on the deck of his base of operations, next to an unbelievable achievement in marine engineering.
(Jonas was also on hand when the Costa Concordia first sank, we've included a photo from that original visit.)