You were born in Sweden but later moved to NYC. How did you first encounter photography and do you remember what was your first project about?
I found photography when I moved to America, because I couldn’t express myself in words, so I started to take photographs. The photographs really revealed my emotional mind, so I stuck with it. .. I had two first projects I think, and they were both in book shape. One was about horses, like close-ups of their bodies and the other one was about a girlfriend I think.. So, not much has changed!
There’s a sense of wilderness in your pictures, what attracts you especially in nature? Do you find it harder to produce work in the city ?
Nature is freedom. Silence. Space. I just make up the notion of nature within the city, and nature is actually there if you want to see it and hear it, even if you are in a city environnement.
You write that your work is about a “female utopia”. Can you explain how you develop this into your different series?
Hmm, I dont know if I can say that the idea of female utopia develops into different series. It’s more about an overall idea about the way I live my life, with and within my community. It just is, more than trying to be, does that make sense? I’m creating the world I want to live in, basically.
You are the founder and editor of Capricious Magazine. Can you tell us more about how it began and later grew into this world-known publication?
I started Capricious fresh out of school, as a platform for me and my friends to show our work. Then it grew, slowly, and we did two issues a year. Now we are in the making of the 11th issue, because we had a couple of years when we only did one issue. We get submissions from all over the world, and our mission is always to give the emerging photographer a place to show their work.
Capricious Magazine is devoted to publishing and promoting emerging fine art photographers. Who recently caught your eye?
Ah, good question, we have so many photographers and artists passing through Capricious and sending us their work. If I am going to mention two photographers, that are pretty new to me and to Capricious, I’ll say Debbie Grossman is amazing, I love her series My Pie Town. Nicky Lesser is another one, she just graduated from SVA. She is actually going to be in the next issue of Capricious. There are so many more, who besides are already out there working, Jessica Olm, Mara Baldwin, Santiago Mostyn, Diane Scherer, Caitlin Teal Price. The list is long!
You also run Capricious Space. How do you choose the exhibiting artists and later on, how do you collaborate with them on the exhibitions?
The process is different every time. Very often we have some kind of layover between the magazine and the Space. Either they have been in the magazine, or the photographer can be someone that we have never been able to put in the magazine, but we still love their work. We have also asked people who inspire us, like Andrea Longacre- White, Laurel Ptak or Peter Sutherland, to do something within the space, and it has always been a nice thing, to give the space to people for a bit. If I were to look back, I’d say I have definitely learned a lot from opening a space, I had never run anything like it prior to that, so it was a big learning process. I feel our shows are tighter, and the feeling of Capricious is really there.
Your exhibition The Name Of A Song that opened earlier this month features work from 2003-2010. Looking back on the photographs, what do you think are the trends that emerge from these years, and how do you see your work evolving from now on?
I dont know if I would call them trends, maybe I would call them themes that emerge. It was interesting to put together work that spans over almost 8 years, and see how the photographs still communicate with each other. How they still relate, shape and explore. The theme is the same, the story is different. To make a show out of your work is always a summary or a finalization of a certain train of thought, which allows the new ones to come. I can see my work evolving in many directions. I am making some video work while keeping the camera with me, naturally, so it’s become that little object that follows my life. We will see what comes out of that.
How did you first get interested in photography and most importantly, how would you say your eye developed to become what it is today?
I was interested in photography in early high school and college. I was off and on about it and more involved in design and playing music. Since school, I found myself exploring photography again after surrounding myself with more progressive-minded friends. Being an active designer and working with other people and mediums opened me up more. Photography has been the other side of things for me.
You run the Boxing Club, a design company. Whether it be in photography or design, I’m interested in knowing what is your daily routine (if you have one) you “accomplish” in order to find inspiration.
The Boxing Club was started by some friends and I a few years back. All of us find inspiration in the work and projects we partake in everyday. I keep myself busy day and night with a handful of projects design or photography-related. As long as I’m able to “make” and do what I love creatively, I’m happy. I also try to find inspiration through the creative process with every project.
The “southern imagery” (if we can call it like that) is very present in your photographs. Is this something you’re aware of and that you consciously decide to photograph?
I spend the majority of my time either in Austin or on the road. Whatever subject matter is purely a documented observation that I share. It’s great to also know friends and people who can identify or understand your work. I live for that.
What are you working on these days, and what is next for you?
I’m currently wrapping up a series/project with Jackie Young and Christie Young. Both amazing photographers and friends. The work will be available by book and two opening shows very soon in Austin and Brooklyn. We’re pretty stoked about it. I’m also about to release a new website which will feature a lot of new work (both design and photography-related) after we wrap up the shows. After that I’m excited to see what’s ahead.
I’m interested in knowing more about the Family Dig. How did you develop the project with your family members? Did you specifically stage some of the photographs, or were they all spontaneously photographed?
The birth of The Family Dig was born out of the death of my grandfather. Shortly after his passing, I (somewhat subconsciously) began rooting through my grandmother’s basement in search of objects, documents and photographs that possessed some form of vitality, however ephemeral, to my grandfather’s existence. This impulse was at first merely a means of trying to reconcile his absence; the desire to make visual this loss came later. I was fascinated by the idea of traces – I wanted to examine whether the material artifacts that remain in our stead when we die are capable of disclosing any vestige of the person who possessed them. In hindsight, the inclination of my investigation was quite personally existential. It had less to do with my grandfather’s death and more to do with an overwhelming grappling with my own mortality. The moment when the nature this inquiry became photographic was at the discovery of a contact sheet of studio portraits of my grandfather. There was nothing particularly remarkable about them; in many ways they are the kind of vernacular images that permeate the archive of domestic photography. On closer inspection, however, I became deeply affected by the subtle, but pronounced fluctuation in facial expression, gesture and body language from image to image. Additionally, a few of the photographs had been removed from the sheet, presumably for dissemination as wallet keepsakes. The convergence of his simultaneous presence and absence in this one document galvanized a much broader exploration of familial heritage. With the archeological process as a model of sorts, I began photographing my familial ephemera. This undertaking elicited a multitude of emotions. My grandparents bankrupted stock spoke to the regret of an American Dream unrealized; certain family photographs conversely distilled moments of happiness and hope. Particular brochures and trade journals addressed the importance of a professional identity, while other artifacts underscored a more private, domestic experience. Other things simply remained mysterious and unknowable. Documents inscribed with enigmatic notes emphasized the fact that history is often fractured and idiosyncratic.
I have come to learn that for as many questions as this project has answered, it has raised just as many. My family’s direct involvement in the project has been rather limited. This work has served as a personal means of reconciling my place amidst a lineage that is far greater than myself. Despite the intimateness of my exploration, however, I was ultimately searching for a certain domestic universality – one prevalent and recognizable to many. The search for a balance that oscillates between the personal and the ubiquitous has been one of the most challenging aspects in the construction of this work. Ultimately, I think The Family Dig dispelled for me the notion that there is any underlying, or inherent, truth in photographs. The photographic image is always and inextricably filtered through the desire of the imagemaker, and concurrently through the unique set of inclinations of the viewer.
Erasure seems to be the natural follow-up of the Family Dig as both projects seem to explore the notion of one’s family photographic memory. In what are both projects linked, according to you? And how did you develop Erasure?
The link between The Family Dig and Erasure is rooted in, and dependent upon the archive. Unlike The Family Dig, however, which explored a specific familial history (my history) Erasure investigates the loss of cultural memory through the negation of societal tradition – the preservation of images in family photo albums. There are definitely some overlapping ideas (or methodologies perhaps) though the tenor of the projects is quite disparate. With The Family Dig, I was arguably trying to resist the loss of memory through a direct utilization of a domestic archive available to me, while Erasure simply highlights, and perhaps accepts, that the hand of digital technology has fundamentally altered our archive of cultural imagery. The tactility of documents and objects that make up traditional archives, which is arguably what gives them their cultural omnipotence, has been supplanted by a more transient and fragmented system. With these ideas in mind, Erasure examines the physical impressions and deterioration left behind by photographs that have been removed from family albums. Also included is a series of text pieces fabricated from catch phrases found on photo lab envelopes. Together, these two approaches explore the implications of a less personal, more mechanized relationship to the photograph in contemporary society.
How did the Exposure Project influence your own work?
The Exposure Project has been more of an outlet for nurturing a community-based environment. My own work has certainly come along way in the time since its formation, but for different reasons. Really what the project has reinforced for me is how I want to operate as an artist in the world. Collaboration, engaging discourse and mutual supportiveness have all been important and sustaining aspects of the work we’ve done – or tried to do anyway. These are the things that have influenced my work the most in regard to The Exposure Project.
As someone who regularly writes about photography on the internet, who do you actively follow online?
If I’m being honest, I haven’t blogged that much in recent months. Life has gotten incredibly busy and my focus has been more on my own work than on actively writing about contemporary photography. That being said, I do still keep up with VVORK, I Heart Photograph, Horses Think, E-Flux and a few others. I find inspiration in so many people’s work that it feels daunting to try and list them here. Some recent stuff that I’ve seen and enjoyed: Mariah Robertson’s installation at “Greater New York at PS1, the Sol LeWitt wall drawing retrospective at Mass MoCa, Petah Coyne and Mike Disfarmer (also at Mass Moca), Danny Jauregui at Leslie Tonkonow and “The Space Between Reference and Regret” at Friedrich Petzel.