Coming to stores August 2018, IKEA’s NORRHASSEL collection includes eight new posters featuring photographs from the winners of the Hasselblad Masters competition. In an effort to democratize art, the prints do not exceed the $25 (£19.06) mark, but they will only be available for six months.
Hasselblad’s international competition is held biannually and awards photographers for their lifetime or long-term achievements in the field. Winners are given the title of ‘Hasselblad Masters’, and those featured in the IKEA collaboration are Lars van de Goor, Tom D. Jones, Joachim Schmeisser, Dmitry Ageev, Ali Rajabi, Bára Prášilová, and Hans Strand. Their subjects and themes vary widely, from a quirky red-and-white sock suspended in the wind against a turquoise background to a portrait of a red-haired woman offering a sultry gaze.
Stockholm-based Hasselblad Master Hans Strand has spent his professional career (which began in the ’90s) focusing on landscapes – particularly Iceland’s rustic, wild terrain. During one trip, he shot Iceland’s coastal landscape from above, and captured an aerial shot of Glaucous Gulls. “I was not fully prepared, but, kind of on instinct, fired off a series of shots. A few seconds later, the birds were gone. This photograph was, as they so often are, a combination of awareness and coincidence,” he says of Birds, one of the selected photographs included in the new IKEA series.
For Strand, the image represents the fragility of nature. “A flock of birds soars along a wild coastline, but the question is: for how much longer will scenes and images like this be possible to witness, with urbanity spreading farther, overtaking the wild spaces,” he says in IKEA’s statement. “All of my work and all of my pictures are, at the end of the day, about my love for nature.” For those seeking advice on their own photography, Strand says: “Don’t take any shortcuts. Have patience. And don’t chase likes on Instagram.”
Czech photographer Bara Prasilova, a self-described perfectionist whose photograph entitled Wind Sock is included in the collection, says her work is about tackling serious themes with a touch of humor – and a lot of color. But while some may find humor in her images, others may find it a bit “strange or spooky”.
“There is often a lot of color, but that’s a way of balancing topics that are serious or tough. I approach bad things in life through humor. That’s how I deal with them,” she says in IKEA’s latest release on the collection. “My mother was absent a lot because she worked in a psychiatric hospital, so me and my brother had a lot of freedom, and created our own worlds with very little adult influence.” For Prasilova, taking photographs is a way of “compensating for, or correcting reality”.
Whatever the photographers’ individual motives are, every print in the NORRHASSEL collection tells a story not only of the artist behind the camera, but of the tenuous beauty around us, and the mystery of it as well.
The NORRHASSEL collection will be available in IKEA stores in August 2018 and run for six months.
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