Sweden has had a long and passionate love affair with photography, producing people with some of the finest eyes for the craft for much of the last century. These days things are no different: Swedish photographers continue to push boundaries and encourage us to not just see the world through their lens but also think about it in myriad different ways. Here’s your guide to 10 Swedish photographers you should be watching.
In his studio in the forests just outside of Stockholm, the unconventional photographer Henrik Isaksson Garnell often marries nature with technology. His art gives life to inanimate objects, such as colourful wires emerging from a conch shell or wires blasting out from the purple skin of an aubergine. Isaksson Garnell’s work is simultaneously mesmerising and challenging, and always leaves you considering what you’re actually seeing.
Niclas is Swedish and Inka is Finnish and together they’re breathing new life into landscape photography. Niclas and Inka began collaborating in 2007 and since then the duo have travelled from their Stockholm base to create a different representation of nature. They’re always asking the question: what is it about nature and landscapes that evokes such a sense of awe and wonder?
This London-based Swede is fast making a name for herself combining sociology and photography, focusing her work on human relations in a Western contemporary society. Working both on a commission and on self-initiated projects, Daniels turns her keen eye to issues related to the body and how this intersects with ‘self’ and ‘identity’.
Having lived in multiple countries, Martin Adolfsson works on personal projects that focus on identity and environment in a cultural context. He has explored the new upper middle class in emerging economies, and collaborated with artist Daniel J. Wilson on a smartphone app, minutiae, which encourages people to document the ‘in between’ moments in life, something that is also found in his photography, where that captured moment often says so much.
Both a photographer and visual artist, Tommy Ingberg likes to leave interpretation of his minimalistic work up to the viewer. Exploring human nature, feelings and thoughts, the images are surreal, personal and a reflection of his inner life. His work makes you question both yourself and what you’re seeing.
Focusing on fashion, beauty and portraiture, Josefine Bäckström often uses ordinary people, not models, in her work, and finds inspiration in the small things in life that make a difference. Her work looks at the visual attributes of textures, contrast and the relationship between opposites, both literally and figuratively. What does that mean? It’s a closer look at people, beyond the skin they’re wearing.
A former staff photographer for Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan, Johan Bävman now works with his own personal projects as well as freelance assignments. His most recent project, Swedish Dads, has helped make his global name with its intimate look at Sweden’s generous parental leave and the impact that has on families, in keeping with his keen eye for all that is right before us.
Erik Johansson doesn’t just capture images, he captures ideas. Based in both Prague and Stockholm, Johansson’s work is billed as ‘surreal photography’. He creates unexpected images that challenge our sense of reality while making us consider the world around us more closely. The work is complex, engaging, and utterly fascinating.
Eva Stenram is something of an archeologist, using archival material and digital manipulation to re-interpret the imagery she encounters. Vintage photographs culled from multiple sources are disrupted and subverted, creating a slightly unsettling view of often familiar images.
As you walk down the street you probably unconsciously take in the architecture around you and register it as ‘a nice building’ or ‘what a monstrosity’. Through the lens of Jeanette Hägglund, though, you’ll start to see the structures around you in a whole new way. She creates beautifully composed images that are minimalistic, abstract, yet strangely familiar. She sees the world around us with a unique eye and she often does it with a humble iPhone.