Profoto is more than a brand and a line of products. It is also the place where some us work and spend our weekdays. Have you ever wondered who we are or what the thinking was behind the design of this or that piece of equipment? Then join us behind the scenes at Profoto! Today, we talk to Chief Designer Pär Blixt.
Pär Blixt translates to Pär Flash. He is, in other words, Mr. Flash. For real.
“I remember when I was interviewed for this position,” says Pär. “It was about 15 years ago. Our CEO Anders Hedebark called me and asked me a bunch of questions and I replied honestly. Pleased with the answers, Anders hung up and went over to the R&D Department to tell the Manager there that he wanted to hire me. But the Manager wasn’t as impressed. ‘Mr. Flash? Seriously? Anders, are you sure this guy isn’t just pulling your leg?’ So, Anders called me back and asked me: ‘You’re not pulling my leg, are you!?’”
But Mr. Flash was dead serious, and so he got the job. Ever since, Pär has been Profoto’s Chief Designer. As such, he is the one who decides how the products should look on the inside and on the outside. His first contribution was to create a battery cassette for the Pro-7b, which made it possible for photographers to replace the actual battery themselves. Since then, he has designed the D4, the Pro-8, the AcuteB, the Pro-B2, the Pro-B3 and the Pro-B4, to name just a few examples. In other words, if you appreciate the form and function of any of the above-mentioned products, you have Pär to thank.
“There’s a certain tradition here that you have to stay true to,” says Pär. “Conny and Eckhardt who founded Profoto set certain rules regarding the look and feel of our products. For instance, they must be easy to work with, they must feel right, they must be intuitive, they must be robust, they must be black and it must be easy to read the settings. I don’t know if we always succeed in that, but at least that’s what we strive for.”
Why do the generators have to be black?
“It’s simply because the generators are tools and as such they shouldn’t distract from what’s really important – what’s in front of the camera. Also, back then a lot of our competitors made shiny generators that reflected the flash light, which obviously was a pretty bad idea. Hence, Conny and Eckhardt decided that all Profoto products should be black.”
You have been involved in almost every single product that we have released during the last 15 years. Is there anyone you are particular fond of?
“No, not really. As soon as the work is done, I just let them go and focus on the next project. I’d say I might feel a little extra for each product until about six months after it has been released. Then it’s just history to me. I can’t help it. I’m not a very nostalgic person. I prefer focusing on what lies ahead.”
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