Lena Modigh is a Swedish photographer and co-founder of a new zine called Animæ magazine. In her teens she spent her time photographing rocks, flowers and feet. As she turned 20 she went to New Zealand and then on to New York, where she worked on independent films and took pictures of statues and trash cans. After a couple of years she went to London, where she finally settled. There, she studied photography, assisted and worked.
She co-founded Animaæ with Matt Ryalls, who has been running Mono magazine for a couple of years. Soon after they started they contacted writer Kristina Sigunsdotter and artist/illustrator Lucie Russell asking if they wanted to contribute. Once on-board the zine quickly took shape.
They describe the first issue of Animæ as a “three-way conversation about sex, obsession and sanity between three female artists”. They say it’s part reminiscence, part journal, part observation; “an exploration of female youth, sexuality, first love, and loss that takes the form of a zine for girls about boys… and girls”.
How did Animæ come about?
Lena: I really liked the idea of doing a zine, and newspaper printing really appealed to me since there are a lot of glossy magazines out there. I wanted something not too perfect.
Matt: Lena has been contributing to Mono since the very beginning. It was exciting when she pitched the idea of a zine and once we started sending ideas and references to each other it was obvious we were really in tune with each other. We even came up with the name at the same time even though she was in Stockholm and I was in London…
What is the aim of the magazine?
Lena: It’s wasn’t about trying to be the next popular thing but trying to create the magazine you’ve been looking for, and then to see if anyone else likes it. It’s now so easy to publish, both digitally and traditionally, which has created a busy, noisy marketplace, so it’s exciting in itself to throw your opinion into the crowd and see what happens. It’s still a great format to realise ideas and work with other people.
How come you did a Swedish-British collaboration?
Lena: It’s a nice combination, the Swedish and the English. I think we compliment each other very well. The English have a wicked sense of humour that works with the Swedish seriousness.
What are your plans for the immediate future?
Lena: To try and get people to buy Animæ, and make number 2!
Matt: I’ve got the next three issues in my head already. We’re working on the next one right now and are going to add to the contributors we’ve got now with a couple of exciting new people who’ve come on board. The theme is in the same kind of area…
You can buy a copy of Animæ through their website or Anikibo or you can pick up a copy if you are in London at Dover Street Market, ICA, Photographers Gallery and The Serpentine Gallery. In Stockholm it’s at Papercut.