As a professional photographer, filmmaker, writer, and visual artist, I’ve been passionate about storytelling for more than three decades.
I was born on July 22. 1963 at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California to a Swedish mother, Solveig “Ina” Andersson (link: leftt of the old man) and an American father, Ernest “Ernie” Raboff (link: right of Sinatra at the poker table). In 1978, I moved to Gothenburg, Sweden where my obsession with photography began. The very first camera I owned was the fully manual Minolta 100 SRT. A hefty, albeit durable and reliable image capturing device that I cherished and used for many years.
In the mid-1980s, I studied Information Technology and Political Science at the University of Göteborg in southwestern Sweden. This is also about when I began experimenting with painting (mostly oil and acrylic paint on canvas and wood) as an additional way to express myself creatively.
In 1988, I was introduced to Riksgränsen, a tiny village and one of the world’s most remote ski resorts located in the wilderness landscape of Lapland, in the northernmost part of Sweden, near the border to Norway and the North Atlantic Ocean. For a few seasons, I worked evenings there as a bartender and a DJ and painted on my days off – when I wasn’t skiing the slopes. It was paradise on multiple levels and to this day, I consider those carefree, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants years as some of the best of my life.
In order to develop my chops as a painter and photographer, I applied and was accepted in 1990 to Gotland’s Art School, located on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. I studied there under among several artists, Helena Andreeff and Staffan Laurin. Both inspired me – as artistic mentors – to pursue a career as a visual artist.
After returning to Gothenburg in the mid-1990s, where I continued to paint and had a few solo gallery shows, the trifecta of Apple’s Macintosh computers, software from Adobe and the burgeoning Internet age put a long-lasting spell on me.
In 1996, I eventually left Gothenburg for Malmö in the south of Sweden where I spent a few years working in advertising in various creative positions.
After starting the company JLR MEDIA AB (now Raboff AB) in 1999, the vast majority of the 2000s were focused on freelance work – primarily photography, video and writing – with both commercial and editorial assignments for an array of local, national and international clients that included, Tetra Pak, Trelleborg, Aftonbladet, Bonniers, Alfa Laval, J. Walter Thompson, Nordic Choice Hotels, Ericsson and IKEA.
Together with my wife Charlotte, a travel entrepreneur whom I’d met in Gothenburg in 1996, I produced dozens of comprehensive guides, articles and travel exposés from destinations all over the world – including Spain, Thailand, Laos, China, Japan, and the USA.
Travel has always played an important role in my life and I am fortunate to have experienced a multitude of places and cultures, literally all over the world. I continue to absorb long-lasting inspiration from my travels.
After moving to Malmö in 2002, and initially as a passion project, I began documenting the then recently inaugurated and to this day, still expanding neighborhood of Västra Hamnen. My first book about the area – where I continue to live and work – was published in 2005. Since then, I have produced nine additional books in the series. Most are available at bookstores in Malmö.
FINALLY, A FEW MILESTONES
• 2003 – 2014: Editorial assignments (photography and writing) for Scandinavia’s leading travel magazines, including, Aftonbladet Resa, Allt om Resor, Inrikes, Travel Report, Resekoll, Sydsvenskan.
• 2005-2015: Produced a series of books documenting the development of the sustainable neighborhood, Västra Hamnen in Malmö, Sweden. In 2010, my book was chosen, translated to Mandarin, printed in 6000 copies and used as a present at the Swedish pavilion during the Shanghai World Expo (World’s Fair) between 1 May to 31 October 2010.
• 2007 – 2016: Several photography exhibits in Malmö including themes on Havana and New York.
• July 2014: opened Galleri Västra Hamnen exhibiting my books and photography from both Västra Hamnen and elsewhere. Next, to the gallery, I ran a commercial photo and video production studio. The gallery closed in 2017 but the website is still maintained: click here to view it.
• February 2015: commissioned by a cooperative organization, HSB Malmo to produce a coffee table book dedicated to the skyscraper, Turning Torso, designed by world-renowned Spanish architect, engineer, and artist, Santiago Calatrava.
• September 2017: commissioned by the United Nations’ Swedish emissary to produce and install a series of large format, artic themed images for United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York. Speakers included Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and Stefan Löfvén, Prime Minister of Sweden. Over 400 diplomats, politicians and dignitaries attended the event.
• March 2016: invitation to exhibit 17 large format photo collages and mosaics of New York and Malmö combined and printed on aluminum plates. The show took place at the new trade and cultural center in Malmö called, Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live.
• October 2016: invitation to exhibit 19 photos of landscapes from the southern Swedish region of Skåne – again at Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live.
• October 2016: commissioned to produce 1500 copies of a coffee table book encompassing the creative process and interviews with 54 of the opera’s coworkers from a behind the scenes perspective. Click here for images and more information about the book about Malmö Opera.
• May 2017: commissioned to produce 5 large format plexiglass art pieces themed on sports activities available at sports center Kockum Fritid in Malmö, Sweden.
• November 2017: relaunched www.gallerivastrahamnen.se with hundreds of photos from Västra Hamnen and Malmö.
• December 2017: assigned to produce a Christmas themed commercial for Turning Torso Sky High Meetings.
• March-May 2018: assignment to produce 4 short films for Rosengårds Fastigheter AB in Malmö. Each film provided a portrait of an individual holding a key position at the company.
• June 2018: assignments for Rosengårds Fastigheter AB to document (stills) the company’s entire property portfolio.
• June 2018: assignments for Skanska Öresund documenting one of their latest construction projects, Aura.
• August-September: producing a mini-documentary about Bikram Yoga for www.airlinestaffrates.com
• October 2018: Opened a new art studio/creative space in Västra Hamnen, Malmö.
• November 2018: Film project in New York City for travel website
• December 2018/January 2019: Travel related projects in Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park and Encinitas, California.
• January 2019: Exhibiting a series of paintings themed on the Turning Torso during “Open Studio” weekends.
• February 2019: Start of a multi-month long film and photography project commissioned by sports center, Kockum Fritid.
• March 2019: Several aerial photography projects for Skanska Öresund.
• April 2019: New tribute book about Turning Torso commissioned by HSB Malmö with several new aerial photos. Delivery date: 18 of June.
• May 2019: Travel assignment to Bodrum Turkey and Palma de Mallorca. Speaker at Fuckup Nights Malmö vol II themed on one of my many fuckups and how crucial it is to continue fucking up.
• June 2019: Assignment to produce travel story about up and coming neighborhood Soho in Malaga. Delivery of additional photos for permanent display in public space adjacent to ICA Maxi in Västra Hamnen.
• September 2019: Outdoor photography exhibit at Slottsträdgården – a popular public park – themed on iconic places in Malmö photographed from above.
• September 2019: Invited by Malmö’s Art and Cultural Association to particiapate with 8 works during the city’s annual Gallery Night at Rådhushallen.
Through the wide range of assignments and personal art projects, I continue to challenge and thereby hopefully evolve my creative width and depth – with photography, film and painting being preferred mediums.
As of January 2020, Joakim resides in Malaga, Spain.
Last updated: January, 2020