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Michela Heim: Anteroom

The Swedish photographer speaks to us about her photo book spanning ten years of her life

“I don’t like to confront the subjects,” says Swedish photographer Michela Heim when asked why she rarely shows faces in her work. “Sometimes I think of my photographs as poems, I have chosen a subject and dance around it but I don't give the viewer everything.” Ironic then that the art student’s 80-page photo book does just that. Spanning 10 years of Heim’s life, 'Anteroom' is a photo diary of epic proportions.

Dazed Digital: Can you explain the name of the book?
Michela Heim:
 Definition of Anteroom: an outer room that leads to another room and that is often used as a waiting room. I liked to think of this word in a state of mind kind of way, a room within your body.

DD: Why a 10 year span?
Michela Heim: 
When I first started working on the book I was quite lost because one part of me tried to grasp for something in my thousands of photos that I already had that could be narrowed down to something, while the other part felt that I should have more of a strict project and create the book around that. But then I realised this is my life project, and I had so much material that I could use to make something beautiful out of and that other people could relate to.

DD: You've intentionally cut out a lot of your subject’s faces…
Michela Heim: 
This is partly to do with wanting to be able to invite viewers to my photographic world and let them create their own stories around my photographs. Sometimes I think of my photographs as poems, I have chosen a subject and dance around it but I don't give the viewer everything.

DD: Who are your favourite photographers of the moment?
Michela Heim: 
Right now I'm reading about Annika von Hausswolff. The way she uses flash in her photographs fascinates me, it's something I rarely do but I'd like to explore more. Talking about this she says: "The more clearly you see something, the stranger it seems." I like the thought of this. And of course, Rinko Kawauchi, she'll always be one of my favorite photographers.

DD: What’s next for you?
Michela Heim: 
I've just moved from Oslo to Malmö and by the end of the year I'll have an exhibition here in Malmö showing some of the photographs from Anteroom. Soon I'll start working on my next book project. Anteroom gave birth to many ideas that I want to make into new books. Personally I also really like seeing my photographs turning into a book. I also want to become a conservator and work with photo conservation… so I'll work on making that dream come true.