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Arvida Byström, 2022 Photo Dump
Arvida Byström, “January”, 2022 Photo DumpPhotography Arvida Byström

2022 photo dump: 8 artists and writers open their phone camera rolls

We invited artists, photographers, filmmakers and writers to share candid shots from their phones, shedding light on their intimate experiences of 2022

Every camera roll tells a thousand stories. While Instagram all too often offers us the most manicured and calculating self-curated vision of people’s lives, the camera roll is less deceptive. Here, amid all the unexamined random screenshots, the myriad still-life compositions of coffees and paperbacks, and the endless parade of mortifying selfies, something more like the truth lies. 

We asked eight intriguing creatives (whose iPhoto we most wanted to rummage through) to share a selection of images from their phones. The brief was to choose candid images that shed light on their real lived experience of the previous year as opposed to a PR’d presentation of their public selves. 

From intimate scenes of hotel room hedonism, to forlorn forgotten baggage on airport runways, tits, toasties, and the obscene eroticism of wet roses, these photos offer a glimpse into the worlds [and minds] of artists, writers and photographers, not only shedding light on how they spent 2022 but revealing desires, disappointments, and unresolved mysteries.


Stockholm-born, LA-based multidisciplinary artist and model Arvida Byström explores the intersection of sexuality, body image, and gender politics. Her latest exhibition, A Doll’s House saw Byström interacting with an AI sex doll doppelganger named Harmony. 

“I realise this has been my year with the AI sex doll Harmony. I have done a bunch of projects with her, so it is basically me hanging out with this doll all the time.

“Looking back at these pictures, I was like, ‘Wow, I have been working hard this year with things I feel very passionate about’, so that makes me sort of proud. But also, I was reminded that being an artist is strangely lonely. For me, the first photo is me being semi-burnt out, heartbroken and feeling very lonely. From that exact point I actually very consciously have been working all year to make sure I surround myself with friends, new and old. Previously in my life I have tried to build stability around relationships which just have not worked for me. I still adore love and dating, but I am trying to make it less the stable core of my life and more something else very precious but precarious.”


Moroccan-Dutch photographer and visual artist Hajar Benjida is the winner of this year’s British Journal of Photography International Photography Award. Her ongoing project Atlanta Made Us Famous highlights the women who play a significant role in the Atlanta hip-hop scene.

I feel like these pictures are mostly key moments in each city that I spent some time in this year. They don’t really require any particular explanation. They show post-pandemic life and a lot of new beginnings and firsts, including my journey and move to the USA. It felt like a weird time capsule, going through pictures from the past year. There were some photos on my phone that triggered me. I don’t usually go through my camera roll a lot – mostly only the moments right after I took the photos then I just kind of leave it in the past.”


Alfie White’s poignant and evocative cement his position in the lineage of timeless documentary photographers. Born and raised in south London, the Dazed 100 alumni and Circa x Dazed Class of 2021 finalist immortalises the ephemeral moments of everyday life, often in cinematic black and white.

“There’s a thread between these particular images insofar as they strike the same sort of chord. I’m just not sure where or what that chord exactly is… yet. They reveal a year of departures, arrivals, limbo, change. I think this year marks the departure from that two-year span of us all having something resembling the global, collective experience of Covid and our recovery from that. I no longer feel like we have that collective experience, beyond what we once had and our ability to still recall that.

“Nostalgia kills me and reflection makes me too existential, so I tend to avoid looking through old pictures too much” – Alfie White

“The only picture I feel prompted to speak on is of the organ. It was before the Kali Malone performance at St John’s Smith Square in Westminster. The concert was the most transcendental, powerful non-drug-related experience I’ve ever had. It was also the first and only time I’ve ever felt genuinely grateful to be alive right now in this space and time. I left that room with what felt like a better idea of what all this – life, art, etcetera – is all about. Humbled is the word!

“Nostalgia kills me and reflection makes me too existential, so I tend to avoid looking through old pictures too much. I’ve had some pretty ‘big’ moments this year, life and career-wise, but I’d much rather look at that drink I really enjoyed or that toastie which was so good that we all exclaimed about it afterwards. Those are the moments that really make me feel whole. Those small moments of pure, absolute enjoyment – those are infinite.”


Sheena Patel is the author of this year’s celebrated novel I’m A Fan and a co-founder of the poetry collective 4 Brown Girls Who Write.

“I ended up going to this Jeff Mills gig alone and that was a big deal for me I don’t really rave solo, but this year has been mostly me needing to take care of myself and give me what I need which has been good – a little lonely, perhaps – but good for me. 

“The second image is me on my favourite tree, I took my headshots there. People are drawn to it, it’s like sculpture and I love it so much. You see the bits you’re not supposed to see, the inside of the trunk – I thought it was a good metaphor for the I‘m A Fan.

“Third pic is War Room by Cornelia Parker at Tate Britain. I haven’t seen so many shows this year but I did see this one and it blew my mind. She’s so clever and rigorous and poetic – just mind-bending. 

“The fourth is 1,000 copies of my book which I signed in five hours. When in my life did I think I would sign 1,000 copies of a book I wrote, this year has been so transformative.

“Wet roses are obscene and romantic and sexy. All those folds. All that moisture” – Sheena Patel

“Five is Nina Hervé and Will Burns from Rough Trade Books. They are a model of love for me, two artists and muses for one another. I hope I find something of what they have for myself one day.

“Picture six: never has a truer thing been said.

“As an assistant film and television director, spent much of the year working on Horrible Histories where I have said ‘bring in the poo’ more times than I’d like to think about. Immense amounts of fun and extremely hard work.”

“The next one is just a photo of wet roses, which as a motif I am obsessed with. I do like rain. Wet roses are obscene and romantic and sexy. All those folds. All that moisture.”

“These hands in picture nine belong to a bird-like woman who whisked me to a place with good light to take my photo. She grabbed my arm and tucked it under hers and when we stopped she arranged my body and my hair and my collars. I should have minded but I didn’t, I liked the instant familiarity. I watched her hands which I think are the most beautiful hands I’ve ever seen. I like hands. I’d fancy a man for the shape of his hands.

“Number ten is my tits because why not. It’s Dazed, you can handle it.”


Poet, party girl, artist, writer, former escort and self-confessed “practicing hedonist”, Rachel Rabbit White is the Mississippi-based Instagram It-girl and polymath whose debut poetry collection Porn Carnival was published in 2020. 

“2022 was about home, leaving home, coming home, looking for a home that no longer is there; I was living in hotels and subleases, two-star, to four-star, to two-star again... 

“Looking back over my photos, the theme of the year was transience. The theme of the year was trying to get back to New York City, despite all odds. The theme of the previous year had been romanticism. I left the city in December 2020 to be with my now-husband, the novelist and former bank robber, Nico Walker who is on federal probation in Mississippi. Maybe romanticism leads to recklessness and that’s actually the theme here.

By summer’s end, the only parties were going away parties” – Rachel Rabbit White

“The NYC rental market’s peak was national news. Average Manhattan rents rose to north of $5,000 a month. I went to showings to view tiny studio apartments along with 20 other prospective renters. It seemed now that you needed a guarantor for your guarantor. I had neither. By summer’s end, the only parties were going away parties as more and more of my New York friends were getting pushed out of the city. People were dispersing all over the country, all of them saying they’d be back to New York once the market cooled. Having already left, I didn’t want to mention how hard it was getting back here. 

“Lately, I‘ve found that when I go out with my friends no one takes photos. It’s as if we all are desperate to be in real life with each other, logged off from social media and its narratives. I like this, that we are all in the moment with each other in a time when it’s hard to get a moment, our ‘off time’ forever disappearing, the little we have being used to enrich a few tech companies.

“I most recognise myself in photos with other people. When I’ve thought about why we go through hell to live in New York, it isn’t so much about the city itself but the people; you live in New York because it’s only through other people that you feel alive, and I think most of us write for the same reason. Writing only exists through other people, their reading and writing. If I am only in conversation with myself, then I lose myself, I lose writing.”


Shenyang-born photographer and filmmaker Luo Yang is known for her soulful depictions of girlhood and womanhood. Her recent short film 女孩 / Girls explored the experiences of two women Yang filmed in Thailand.

“I was surprised to see Chinese movie poster on the street of Paris [image #1]. It was The Story of Qiu Ju starring Gong Li. Makes me feel warm in this cold winter. 

“A difficult moment during Shanghai covid lockdown this year [image #2]. Can’t go out, shortage of food supply, a dozen eggs mattered more than a city.

“Met my friend Princess Butterfly in London’s Chinatown [image #3]. Everything felt unreal but also familiar. 

“Escaped from Shanghai’s lockdown, drove 24 hours to Chengdu. Finally settled down in a quarantine hotel after experiencing all the struggles and difficulties [image #4]. There was a big river outside my hotel room window. I stared at it everyday. Lots of white birds on the river, it felt like freedom.

“Everything felt unreal but also familiar” – Luo Yang

“After the quarantine, I went to a small live house with friends who escaped from Shanghai together [image #5]. College students performed on stage and it was as if I was back to my youth, watching underground shows in Beijing, with the smell of sweat and the sound of people yelling in the air. So nice to be young.

“A trip to Xishuangbanna, Yunnan [image #6]. It was an old blind dog at my friend’s. 

“Used all the food I had during Shanghai lockdown to piece together this work of ‘mother and child together’ [image #7], to call against the separation of mother and child during the quarantine.”


British-born photographer and visual artist Nick Haymes lives and works in Los Angeles, where he founded Little Big Man Books, and where the sun-lit boulevards have provided a dreamy backdrop for his poignant, nostalgic portraits of American youth.

“I actually realised that I seldom take photos with my iPhone. I tend to more use it for screen grabs and capturing things for reference. Being really old-fashioned, I actually use a camera for taking photographs and a phone for calls and texts. Bottom line, there were very few photos on my phone I’ve taken with the intention of taking a photograph.

“The images here are very simple insignificant moments that matter immensely at that one moment in time” – Nick Haymes

I live and work in LA so the majority of my phone pictures are simply very routine and mundane. They are all very much a document and record of a particular time and place. I use the camera phone in a very much amateurish way, so the images here are very simple insignificant moments that matter immensely at that one moment in time.

“The large V on the rooftop in Paris was from the shoot we worked on with Tyrone Lebon. Virgil had always wanted Tyrone to shoot the campaign for him at LV. It was a request we managed to complete. The sun set and the V glowed. It was very emotional for all involved.”


Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Karabo Mooki’s arresting photography explores race, gender, sexuality and class with warmth, wit, integrity, and an eye for storytelling.

“The selected images are fleeting moments throughout the last year, from South Africa to Australia. These are innocent moments that capture the way I see the world in turmoil. One historic moment was when the South African House of Parliament was ablaze in the beginning of this year. The rest of the images are reminders of lost memories.

“It was another unpredictable year, filled with signs and reminders to keep my shit together” – Karabo Mooki

“Looking back, it was another unpredictable year, filled with signs and reminders to keep my shit together. They also reveal the wider importance of friends, community, humour, and political issues that I have been dancing with over the current year.

What stories emerge from the pictures? Choose your own adventure. Was I surprised by anything from my camera roll? Too many exes. Other than that, I was embarrassed for the pinky toe in the iconic ‘Black uncle sandal’, thankful for the message broadcast through the ‘Compost The Rich’ poster, and mournful for the loss of a building that represented freedom in South Africa.”

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