Sesse Lind doesn’t consider himself an adrenaline junkie; in his mind he’s just another photographer on the job. Like other storytellers, he goes where he needs to be to communicate a tale properly. His professional relationship with General Electric has taken him to the far reaches of the planet and placed him in some highly precarious situations. For GE, Lind’s ability to relate the sincerity of the company’s worldwide commitment to green renewable energy makes him one of the most important collaborators they work with. That’s a lot of responsibility for a photographer considering GE’s multibillion dollar value. Travelling as part of a small team who might be described as Sesse can be found hanging out of taking part in something referred to as High-Adventure Photography, a helicopter, in the middle of the desert, or surrounded by the world’s most deadly animals. When reminded of these experiences, Sesse concedes that he might think twice about getting into these situations if he wasn’t as committed to the importance of GE’s mission as well as the opportunity to capture these remarkable moments.
Every great moment demands its price and this applies to the locations which Mr. Lind travelled to in Malaysia. When the original time allotment of three days was whittled down to four hours, due to dangerous gases and sensitive technology, improvising was a necessity. To supplement, Sesse improvised by convincing a plant worker to bike through certain areas and utilized overnight time-lapse cameras. The resulting images imply that there’s a prescient ingredient in Lind’s work which belies any impediments that can occur. Even for a Swede like Sesse, the North Dakota winter is nearly unbearable. In -50 below temperatures, Lind and his team were tasked with capturing images of a new GE’s invention which captures the gasses that leak out during the fracking process, turning it into a liquid form that can be used to fuel cars. Travelling to Algiers, to document a GE desalination plant that makes fresh water from the Mediterranean, provided many adventurous moments as well as resulted in remarkable images based on Sesse’s myriad skills which adapt to any environment including freezing and searing temperatures and vast light changes. Sesse divulges, “We had to bring the Algerian version of CIA with us on the shoot. They said it was for our safety but we all suspected they wanted to be able to control what we recorded. Sometimes when I pointed the camera in a random direction the Algerians would just say ‘you can’t film here’ with no further explanation. We travelled in Jeeps through the desert and spent the night with some Bedouins. The desert was a mind-blowing experience for me. I’ve never been closer to a starry sky. I found the desert to be very romantic and scary at the same time.” China presented its own dichotomy with rural Mongolia juxtaposed against futuristic factories and the Olympic City. Lind concedes that photographing a power plant in India that transformed cow manure into electricity provided a nearly unbearable odor but the beauty of the country itself created a bond for him as one of his favorite places on the planet.
Lind’s task was to capture the images of GE’s huge efforts towards climate friendlier industries but the desired connection was a human one. The beauty of the people as well as the surroundings is the lynch pin to conveying intention. The talent of a great photographer like Lind is that he is able to perceive this warmth at a moment’s notice, even when danger is present. He adamantly speaks of honesty and finding this in the subject of his work regardless of what that subject might be. Projects like these for GE certainly test one’s resolve but they also create strong bonds among those who experience them together…as well as provide for the best stories. Lind chuckles as he recalls, “We were shooting a safari in Tanzania and the hotel we stayed at was right in there. I remember standing on the porch and the producer turns to me and says ‘There are lions approaching’. There wasn’t really anything between the wilderness and us. I couldn’t see them at first but all of a sudden, five trotting lionesses appear and they were looking right at us. I hid behind the camera as if that would help. Luckily, the lionesses took off to the left to hunt a few zebras but it was sketchy for a while. The hotel staff ran and hid behind the bar and were filming with their phones as we were all kind of paralyzed in this surreal moment.”
Writer: Coleman Haan