What is a memory if not a shadow of the object remembered? The series was initially inspired by one of Edward Steichen’s photos of Fred Astair from 1927 but it evolved into a shadow of that memory and took a rather different form, i.e. still lifes of food.
My work is based on the research of mundane objects like food and the underlying stories they tell about continuity and memory. I am particularly interested in the perception of temporality and the mechanisms of memory and my work tends to deal with these two themes, both separately and intertwined.
With my roots in Sweden which is one of the biggest consumers of tulips in the world, it is not strange that I have a special love for that flower despite having lived in Italy for the past 24 years. In this series of photos I wanted to juxtapose the tulip's usual ways of portrayal with a more sensual, noire feeling; say tulip and we think of Dutch flower paintings of the 17th century or the more squeaky clean modern image it has today. I wanted to portray tulips and their ageing in a more interesting and less stereotyped way, with light and shadows and untold stories lurking in the background.
The series explores the timelessness of the food that nurture us juxtaposed to consumer goods. Life is dependent on food; food accompanies us from the beginning of our existence to the end, be it of the human race or our individual lives. Despite it being so fundamental to life as such, it has no real status as a metaphor of continuity, it just exists, a banal presence, a necessity or a pleasure. But we are unaware of how little the food we eat has changed; most of the vegetables, fruits, meats and fish we find on our tables have remained the same for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Juxtaposing everyday food to technology, we become aware of the discrepancy between the constancy of what we really need and the torrent of devices and gadgets that quickly go out of date and are substituted with newer versions, all due to the consumer economy. I remember all of the objects in the photos and have used them with pleasure but I’m not sure that my children would know how.
Grapes (6000 B.C.) and Telephone (1970’s)
Pomegranate (3000 B.C.) and Radio (1970’s)
Lemons (1200 B.C.) and Walkman (1980’s)
Cauliflower (100 A.C.) and Typewriter (1970’s)
Plums (200 A.C.) and TV (1980's)
Membranes of Memory
This is an ongoing project where I continue to explore how we perceive objects through the veils of memory. The still lifes are photographed through sheets of polystyrene that are repositioned for every photo thereby giving different and unique effects just like the way memory plays with what we see and what we remember.
I’m interested in how we assemble concepts and ideas and apply these to the objects we see or we think we see. The perception of the external world and how memories influence what we see has been a constant interest since I was a teenager and discovered David Hume’s theory of the external world which turned my views of the world upside down; in these still lives I explore the way we partially reconstruct what we see from memories and preconceived ideas.
Cauliflower and Flask
Giant Onions With Bottles
This series was inspired by some tintypes by Frank Hamrick. I wanted to make images without a sharp edged focus and with very simple motifs, still lifes of things that made me think of who had eaten the food or whose hands were preparing a meal. I shot them in a dark room, the only light source natural light from a window with closed shutters, the light that was reflected from the ceiling shot down and lit up the light areas while it kept off the the darker ones.
Apple and Water
Cheese and Bread
Lemon With Knife
Onions With Jar
Perish the thought, photos on transience
I like old, I like decay, I find that things often get more beautiful with time, like these vegetables that I have been keeping in a corner of my garden in order to be able to document how they age. Colours fade and change, edges soften or get crisper and their innate characters somehow gets both softer and sharper and more it. The textures and the withering of leaves, skins and roots of vegetables speaks another language that we need to stop and listen to.
The Neruda Project
To make a visual interpretation of a poem creates certain problems, you can either do it in a literal way, or you can try to convey the feelings, memories, and mental images a poem evokes in the reader. In the Neruda project, I work with some of Pablo Neruda's many odes to food; the images are visual readings of the odes but as the ways of experiencing a poem are as many as its readers, I have tried to give these images both a personal and more general interpretation.
Ode to the Lemon.
" ... Knives sliced a small cathedral in the lemon, the concealed apse, opened, revealed acid stained glass, drops oozed topaz, altars, cool architecture. ..."
Ode to Salt
" ... a broken voice, a mournful song.
In its caves the salt moans, mountain of buried light, translucent cathedral,
crystal of the sea, oblivion of the waves. ..."
Ode to the Artichoke.
" ... So you have it: a vegetable, armed, a profession (call it an artichoke) whose end is millennial. We taste of that sweetness, dismembering scale after scale. We eat of a halcyon paste: it is green at the artichoke heart."
Ode to Wine
"Day-colored wine, night-colored wine, wine with purple feet or wine with topaz blood, wine, starry child of earth, wine, smooth as a golden sword, soft as lascivious velvet ..."
Ode to the Onion
"Onion, luminous flask, your beauty formed petal by petal, crystal scales expanded you and in the secrecy of the dark earth your belly grew round with dew. ..."
"Perception (from the Latin perceptio, percipio) is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment...... Perception is not the passive receipt of these signals, but is shaped by learning, memory, expectation, and attention." My fascination of how we perceive and see things is driven by my very poor sight. In the photos of this series, I try to portray how I perceive the essence of what I’m looking at through my nearsighted haze and understand the forms and meanings of what I see through mental adjustments of memories, general notions and my imagination. The unsharp objects acquire form and shape through layers of memory and imagination, almost in the same way we recreate our own memories, layer after layer until the object or memory has taken a new but still familiar form. I have chosen the subject of food for two reason, the first is that I work as a food photographer and food is my favourite subject. The second reason is that food is something we all can relate to and easily recognize.
The photos have been shot in my studio in natural light.
Corners. An Irving Penn Tribute
This is a series of food 'portraits' inspired by Irving Penn's famous corner portraits. It is an ongoing project that I work on whenever I find vegetables or fruit with interesting forms and visual possibilities.The restricted area of the corner and the way it frames the subjects underlines and emphasises their intrinsic forms and nature, it allows the viewer to see and appreciate the natural grace and interesting forms of the vegetables and fruits 'portrayed'.
"I can get obsessed by anything if I look at it long enough. That's the curse of being a photographer." Irving Penn
Finalist in the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards.
Four Tables. An Edward Hopper Tribute
I have always been fascinated by Edward Hopper's treatment of light and shadow and how he uses stark light in his compositions. This is a series in which I portray meals that I imagine could be consumed in Edward Hopper's visual world. Loneliness and solitude are two themes that recur in Hopper's work and to me, eating alone is a moment when those two qualities are heightened and intensified; sharing a meal is something special, a time when we unite in a communal activity and it is often seen as a manifestation or demonstration of goodwill. Eating a meal on your own can be a moment of peace but more often it is a very lonely experience.