Swedish photographer Lina Scheynius used to be the queen of Flickr in the early 00s. Back then, she posted pictures of her life, her friends, and self-portraits. Her photos received attention for their extremely intimate and sincere nature—or, to put it another way, many of them were pictures of her naked.
Today, although not much has changed in her subject matter, Lina regularly photographs for magazines like Vogue, Dazed and Cofused, and Oyster. For her personal work, Lina publishes small, private volumes of her pictures, with the fifth volume, titled simply 05, just released. I caught up with her for a chat.
VICE: Hey, Lina. In your new book, are you focusing on the same body of work as in your other personal photographic diaries?
Lina Scheynius: Yes, though naturally it keeps evolving over time. But there are still only pictures of what is right in front of me and part of my life. This book is also full of self-portraits, something I have gone back to focusing on lately.
Do you make a distinction between personal work made for yourself and personal work with publishing in mind?
Not really. It's a bit of a mess on my hard drive, to be honest. I don't really know what is what until I end up publishing it. I don't take a lot of straight up and down personal pictures, such as family pictures at fun fairs and Christmas dinners, but if I do you never know what you might end up using them for.
What about work—do you approach your commercial work differently than your personal?
Yes, definitely. I wish I could say no to this question. On some amazing, but rare occasions I do have a ton of freedom, but most of the time I am expected to deliver something specific. With my own work it's an endless experiment, and with the commercial work I have to play it a little safer and listen to the client. I still use the same equipment though, and I try to make sure there is room to play and that it's always as light and fun as possible.
Are some images ever too personal for you to publish?
Yes, and then sometimes I end up publishing them anyway. My next book is going to be old pictures from my archive that at the time I thought I couldn't publish, for different reasons.
Why do you think so many people relate to your work?
The process is very simple. It's snapshots taken with a portable 35 mm camera just like photos from people's old family albums. I think that helps. And I just read this question to my mom over Skype now and her response was, "They have all been naked at one time or another." At first I was terrified of showing my mom my work, but now she just laughs about it.
That's sweet. Thanks, Lina!
Lina's ongoing exhibition, Exhibition 01, is currently at Christophe Guye Galerie, Dufourstrasse 31, Zürich, Switzerland, and will run until October 19. See more of Lina's work here.
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