This article originally appeared on VICE US.
This portfolio appears in VICE Magazine's 2019 Photo Issue. With this issue we wanted to celebrate the absurd, the lighthearted, and the humorous. It’s important to take a break from the real world. As much as we need to be informed, engaged, and aware, we also need to laugh. We wanted to champion the people making art with a sense of humor. In today’s climate, there’s something nicely subversive about that. You can read more about our theme in the letter from our editor.
The pastel-soaked work of Arvida Byström, a 27-year-old photographer based in Stockholm challenges viewers to think about objectification, how society treats femme bodies, and mental health in the digital world. Her images have graced the pages of publications like Wonderland, Garage, and Dazed. In 2017, Prestel Books released Pics or It Didn’t Happen, a shared monograph with artist Molly Soda featuring images that were banned from Instagram.
Byström has been a longtime contributor to VICE and when asked if she’d like to participate in this year’s photo issue she came back to us with an idea surrounding the recent popularity of the #bratzchallenge, in which people recreate the makeup and look of Bratz dolls and post the results online. Byström, along with stylist Lo Hallen, told us that in making this portfolio they knew they wanted it to be a “celebration of all the amazing artists jumping on the trend while at the same time twisting it into a lonesome parody. It reflects on the solitariness often present in internet culture and the beautiful creations born out of it. For us, the Bratz dolls are obviously completely ridiculous—how can they even be allowed for kids?—but at the same time, they have some ridiculously cute outfits.”
Styling by Lo Hallén; makeup by Michel Franco and Sandra Magnusson; set design by Fredrik Sundberg Svartnäs; production by Fredrika Eriksson. Models: Gudfreja, Malin Efua, Alejandro Montero Bravo, and Christopher