Ever since Fotografiska opened its doors in 2010, photographic art has clearly been on the rise. With their annual Höstsalongen exhibition, they try to provide an uncontested stage for showcasing and celebrating Swedish photo art and inspire its continuous evolution.
We spoke to Exhibition Coordinator Jessica Jarl about this year’s edition.
This is the third year of Höstsalongen. What is the overall aim with the initiative?
From the beginning this was planned to be an annual exhibition at Fotografiska. The aim is to show what is happening in Swedish photography right now. Different techniques and imagery together form a cross-section of contemporary photography and video art. It’s an exhibition open for everyone to be part of and enjoy. You don’t need to be a well-established photographer to participate. It reflects the various currents in both Swedish visual arts and society at large.
Among 2326 applicants you picked 31 photographers to participate. What, if anything, do these 31 have in common and why were these particular photographers handpicked?
All applications are presented anonymously to a jury whose members share long-time experience in photography and visual art. They are looking for diversity in expressions, techniques and themes. Some participants have worked in a documentary tradition, others with staged photography. What they have in common is the combination of high-quality images on important and powerful issues. They are basically very beautiful, aesthetically powerful photographs.
It says in your official communication that there wasn’t any theme to relate to for prospective photographers, but now ahead of the opening you state that the exhibition mirrors a world in search of control and a fear for losing that control. Would you say that each instalment of the Höstsalongen reflects contemporary times and the current climate?
Exactly – there was no specific theme or topic the photographers that applied needed to take into consideration, but when the final 31 were chosen, we could see mutual tendencies in their work. Control, and the loss of control, was one of them. In some work this topic comes across clearly, for example the video piece about the life of someone struggling with an eating disorder. In others it is more under the surface, coping with a situation completely out of reach or control, or trying to grasp something unbelievable, like the loss of a loved one.
How do you view the state of Swedish photo art, and how do you reckon Fotografiska, and this exhibition in particular, contributes to the scene?
With over 2000 applications for this year´s exhibition, I think it’s clear we still have a strong photography tradition in Sweden.
We want to be the meeting-place for reflection, inspiration and discussion on all kinds of photography and visual art, presenting both well-known names as well as new stars. The Höstsalongen is our way of showing an excerpt of what is happening within Swedish photography today.
If you look five or so years further in to the future, what’s your vision for how Höstsalongen will have evolved and what do you hope it can achieve, both for up-and-coming photographers as well as for the interest in photography in general?
Our aim is to establish Höstsalongen as the best place to discover new talents, and serve as an inspiration to others. Swedish photography will continue to evolve, and we hope to be a major part of it by being the meeting-place for all enthusiasts. Combining world-famous names with the less well-known, Fotografiska is a hub for everyone who are interested in photography and visual arts, and its development following time and social climate.
So can this exhibition further stoke the resurgence in popularity that photo art has enjoyed ever since Fotografiska opened?
Yes, absolutely. Photography in general keeps getting more and more popular. At Fotografiska, we invite everyone to take part of this development and everything the world of photography has to offer.