Anders Welander’s Top Eight: Female Swedish Photographers
Glamour and social realism, fantasy and feminism, romance and drama. Photography is a universe all in itself, and an art form that is every bit as varied and rife with self-contradiction as painting.One advantage of photography is that it has been accepted as an aesthetic technique and art form among others, but still seldom fetches the same prices that paintings do. In other words, photography is a perfect arena for anybody looking to start an art collection.
Now, where to begin? We asked our expert Anders Welander, who suggests that selecting a theme might be a good idea. Here is his top eight list of the best female Swedish photographers, in no particular order:
Denise Grünstein, Figure Out, Female Gaze, 2009
Julia Peirone, Maria, 120
Denise Grünstein (b. 1950) has been one of the most long-lasting and brightly shining stars of Swedish photography since the 80s. Apart from dazzling skill and painstaking precision, her photography is characterised by a liberating lack of respect for any notion of what photography “ought to be”, or for the unwritten rule that one should stick to a single visual style. Nothing is off limits to her: fashion, portraits, mental states, black and white, or shiny chrome.
Julia Peirone (b. 1973) has addressed existential issues related to identity and youth, with a particular emphasis on young women. Adulthood, childhood, and the thin line that separates them. A completely new perspective on a favourite subject of photography and art, but done in a fresh and distinctive way that’s bound to bring a smile to your face.
Tuija Lindström, Jonas och Jussi,1982
Eva Klasson, Paris 1975, Le Troisème Angle
Tuija Lindström (b. 1973) has addressed existential issues related to identity and youth, with a particular emphasis on young women. Adulthood, childhood, and the thin line that separates them. A completely new perspective on a favourite subject of photography and art, but done in a fresh and distinctive way that’s bound to bring a smile to your face.
Eva Klasson (b. 1947) has played a central role in the history of Swedish photography. Her (Paris) exhibition and book La Troisième Angle represented a break with the predominantly masculine tradition of documentary photography. Mankind as a landscape, and as magical matter, is a constantly recurring theme in her works, which fascinate by being simultaneously powerful and decorative.
Camilla Åkrans, Bianca from Above, 2005
Annika Karlsson Rixon, Cooper & Sons, 1997, C-print monterad på plexiglas
What is it that makes a picture by Camilla Åkrans (b. 1975) so instantly recognisable? Fashion photography is a category that remains a separate genre, with its own requirements, despite the enormous number of images that surround us today. There are so many hard-working, gifted photographers, stylists, and teams out there producing seductive editorials. And still–we always know a Camilla Åkrans photo by the energy, the colours, and the powerful composition it displays.
Annika Karlsson Rixon b. 1962) is something of a well-guarded secret in the Swedish conceptual photography scene today. However, she has had some important exhibitions and engagements (one of them at an LGBT nursing home!), and this summer, her works will be shown at Thielska galleriet. Her pictures are a powerful, warm documentation of certain aspects of society that are kept under wraps, and of different conceptions of the notion of a family. She manages to do this with great acuity, never resorting to any overly idyllic depictions.
Maria Fribergs, Still Lives #3, 2004
Annika von Hausswolff, Hey Buster – What do you Know About Desire, 1995
Maria Friberg (b. 1967) is one of Sweden’s most successful conceptual photographers. Several of her works have already claimed high prices, but she remains curious and productive, and is sure to have a lot more interesting works to show in years to come. In fact, I’d have to say that hers is one of the most solid oeuvres of any Swedish artist, in any medium.
Annika von Hausswolff (b. 1967) has been developing an idiom that evokes both discomfort and curiosity about the unexpected everyday situations and macabre stories she depicts. In her carefully staged photographs, which range from the documentary to the fictional in their expression, there is often a human body–or traces of one–present. Her piece Hey Buster has achieved iconic status in Sweden.