It's easy to be cynical when models become actresses or musicians start up an acting career. Mostly this is because there is no real talent, just celebrity, behind the swap. That's why it's so refreshing with people such as artist Lina Scheynius, a former Swedish top model who's now equally respected for her photography. With fashion shoots in AnOther Magazine, to mention just one publication, and several published photo books, Scheynius has already proven her skills with the camera. But to really hammer it home, Scheynius launched her first ever solo exhibition in London town.
In the back room of a shop on Hackney's Mare Street that sell jars with snakes and decorated monkey skulls, Scheynius' highly personal photography stands out. The store, Viktor Wynd's The Last Tuesday Society, provides a sheltered home for Lina's honest and humble work. But the show, which previewed last week but continues on to the 25th of April, has already provoked high emotions in the community. Lina, who started taking photos at an early aged, shot her undressed little sister who was eight at the time. This upset a gallery visitor who notified the police. The photo has since been taken down, leaving an empty hole in Lina Scheynuis wall collage. Both the artist and proprietor Wynd - plus all other guests - were left surprised and dumbfounded. But, as they say, the show must go on. Before the preview, Dazed Digital sat down with Scheynius.
DD: Was there a general theme behind the exhibition?
Lina Scheynius: The main part of the exhibition is a collage of prints - most of them i had kept in shoeboxes in my wardrobe in my parents house. the oldest picture is a photo of my little sister posing half naked with teddies in sweden that i took 16 years ago the newest one i took from a plane flying over america a couple of weeks ago.
my wish was to make an exhibition that people could return to a couple of times and always find something new.
DD: It was your first solo show. How did it feel, were you nervous?
Lina Scheynius: I didn't actually have any time to be nervous before the opening started. but as soon as people arrived and I had to stop working the nervousness arrived along with them. I had fun though.
DD: The work is exhibited as a series of pages from an open diary – tell us about that concept?
Lina Scheynius: It's not a specific concept just for this exhibition. Documenting my own life and presenting it as a diary is something I have been doing since I started my website in 2007. And documenting my life without presenting it at all and just keeping it for myself is something I've done since I was 10. It's what I love working on the most.
DD: How long have you taken photographs?
Lina Scheynius: I started when i was 10, when my dad bought me a second-hand automatic Kodak camera.
DD: Did your years as a model put you off or interest you in fashion photography?
Lina Scheynius: A bit of both. I think I probably wouldn't have had the idea to work with fashion unless I was familiar with the fashion world. But at the same time I developed a very critical eye to how fashion photography is structured in general, and I didn't want to work the way I saw that most photographers did.
DD: Has there ever been a downside to having a ‘past’ in the industry?
Lina Scheynius: No, I don't think so…
DD: You call he photos ‘Truth as fantasy’ – would you say your photos are honest about reality?
Lina Scheynius: I would say that they are honest about my reality.
DD: You have shot for Another Magazine – any other dream jobs?
Lina Scheynius: Well, I don't know if it can be called a job, but I had so much fun pinning these pictures on the walls for the exhibition that my dream now is to pin even more of them on even bigger walls!
DD: You have done a ‘Polaroid project’ – do you feel comfortable using that type of photography?
Lina Scheynius: I love using this type of photography! I love anything where the result can surprise you. I just wish it wasn't so bloody expensive and hard to hunt down the Polaroids.
DD: Are you more of a documentary photographer of life, rather than fashion stills?
Lina Scheynius: I like doing both, and i like mixing them up to the point where not even I remember what was what.
DD: Any exciting plans for the future?
Lina Scheynius: I'm releasing a book about Sarajevo in Paris this week through these guys: www.be-poles.com/en/magasin.php
The Last Tuesday Society, 11 Mare Street, London E8 4RP