Capricious: it's a man's whirled

Dazed speaks to the NY photo mag with men on their mind as their art gallery opens

Capricious - "Masculine"
Untitled Anders Petersen

Capricious Magazine is a New York based journal founded by Swedish photographer Sophie Mörner and dedicated to celebrate, showcase and support emerging photographers. Not only a bi-annual magazine but also a series of books, a publishing house and a newly-opened gallery, the Capricious family is growing. Through these channels it’s Mörner’s aim to offer a solid platform for underrepresented fine art photographers from all over the world.

Every issue is based around a set theme, the current issue’s topic being "Masculine". Here Dazed talks to Mörner about taking on masculinity, her new gallery and the way physical space can transform an image.

Dazed Digital: What prompted you to start Capricious back in 2004?

Sophie Mörner: I came up with the idea of Capricious when I had just finished school in New York. I wanted to get my work published, but couldn't find a good magazine where it would make sense. My work wasn't fashion and maybe then not really seen as fine art photography, and many of my friends were in the same place. So I created Capricious, to become a platform for photographers that are at the beginning of their careers and that don't necessarily want to do fashion or commercial work. The climate has changed quite a bit since then, but the Capricious vision stays the same. 

There must be a different take on what Masculine is today, right?

DD: Why the title 'Masculine'? How is each artist interpreting the theme?

Sophie Mörner: The last issue of Capricious Magazine was on the theme "Masculine". It made total sense to have our first exhibition at Capricious 88 as a connection to our publication. It was a very natural way of starting the gallery. "Masculine" is an interesting theme in so many ways, because it can hold the most obvious connotations, but I was looking for surprises. There must be a different take on what Masculine is today, right? There are so many ways to cross boundaries and challenge the norms, would it be possible to do this with photography and Capricious? We got both obvious and not so obvious takes on Masculine, and we created what I have called the Capricious Masculine. Collin Lafleche, Peter Croteau, Susan Surface and Anne Hall all submitted to the open call, so their work is their take on Masculine. It made a lot of sense in so many different ways. Collin's young ones, Peter's magnificent mountains and the rodeo photographs by Susan Surface; they all explore different parts of Masculine. Anne's phallic, ironic celebration of the penis, as a rock – it's just hilarious. We courted both Nicholai Howalt and Anders Petersen. Nicholai's car crash studies represent the violence of what Masculine can be and Anders's work gives us a split moment of intimacy. 

DD: How did you select the six artists on show? You've said that Capricious works as a discovery tool for photographers but how do you go about finding new artists and undiscovered creativity?

Sophie Mörner: These six artists represents what Capricious Masculine is. They represent our idea on Masculine, they continue the conversation from the magazine. It brings together all the different elements of what we think Capricious Masculine is. I wouldn't say that Capricious is a discovery tool per se. We have established ourselves as a platform for young emerging photographers, so we get contacted by artists a lot. I am always looking for undiscovered creativity, but that is not the most important thing. It is more like a synergy between Capricious and who finds us.

So much happens when you take a photograph out of magazine context and give it a physical room to live in

DD: Why did you decide to branch out into opening a gallery on top of the magazine?

Sophie Mörner: I used to run a space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for three years. I closed it down in the beginning of 2011 to focus on the publishing part of Capricious again. I was also getting ready to be less Brooklyn-bound, and start traveling more for my own photography work. It was a great break, but maybe a year ago, I started feeling like it was time again for a space, I was missing it. I was missing to be able to take the photographers and their work from the magazine pages to walls in a space. So much happens when you take a photograph out of magazine context and give it a physical room to live in. When I heard about the space on 88 Eldridge Street, through a friend, and saw it, it immediately felt like the next step for Capricious. It is a space where we can have our publishing offices and a gallery. There is a great gallery next door – the David Lewis Gallery – and Miguel Abreu will open his gallery downstairs in the beginning of next year. It is very inspiring to share the building with them. 

DD: What's next for Capricious?

Sophie Mörner: We are currently working on the next issue of Capricious Magazine around the theme "Boundaries". It'll be released in February. We are also finishing up a book by artist Amber Ibarecche, and preparing for our next exhibition in February with LA based photographer Eve Fowler.

'Masculine' - Opening Reception: 17 November. The exhibition will run from 17 November - 3 February 2014.

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