The Diary of Lina Scheynius

An interview with Swedish photographer Lina Scheynius

poster for Lina Scheynius “Exhibition 03”

Lina Scheynius “Exhibition 03”

at Taka Ishii Gallery Photography/Film
in the Roppongi, Nogizaka area
This event has ended - (2014-12-13 - 2015-01-31)

In Interviews by Shizuka Kitani 2015-01-24

Born in Sweden and based in London, Lina Scheynius has her first solo exhibition in Japan this winter, “Exhibition 03” at Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film. Scheynius began shooting photographs when she was 10 and shot her first professional work in 2008 after some time as a model. TABlog had the opportunity to interview the young photographer during her visit to Tokyo last month.

Shizuka Kitani (SK): To start with, can you tell us about your career? What made you turn from modeling to photography?
Lina Scheynius (LS): I actually didn’t like being a model for many reasons. One was that it made me unhealthy and drove me to become obsessed with my self-image. It was in the period when I worked in modeling that I started taking lots of pictures. I had plenty of time to observe the techniques of the photographers shooting me. I wanted to capture something that felt more real than the fashion shoots. Also, Finally, modeling is not a job you can do forever. By 25, the industry thinks you are old, so most models need a second career. It didn’t happen overnight, but I was lucky enough to switch sides and become a photographer.

SK: Does this shift in your career have any influence on your photography now?
LS: Yes it does a lot. I believe that if I hadn’t worked as a model I wouldn’t have become a photographer. I mean to say, I wanted to react against something super polished and fashionable. I often felt that those things, such as fashion, didn’t have that much heart or truth. I reacted by showing something more raw and intimate.

SK: Why did you choose photography to react against them?
LS: It didn’t have to be, it just happened. I like photography because of its quickness and simplicity. When I want to capture myself, my boyfriend, family and friends, I think the quick, no-fuss character of photography just functions well. It just fits me.

Lina Scheynius inside the exhibition at Taka Ishiii Gallery

SK: Contrary to your thought that you just mentioned, which could be called a dislike of being model, your works include a number of self-portraits. Will you tell us your intention?
LS: I shoot others too, but I feel like I can’t always lead them to do exactly what I want them to do. With the self-portraits, there is no barrier between the subject and the photographer. I can execute my own idea without having to involve anyone else’s feelings. And I think that is very important for me.

SK: This is your first time to exhibit in Japan. If I’m not wrong, you have been to Japan before, haven’t you?
LS: Yes, I came here in 2000 for modeling work. As a Japanese photography fan, I’m excited to be back.. I feel so welcomed in Japan as well thanks to my Japanese followers.

SK: Who are your favorite Japanese photographers?
LS: I love Nobuyoshi Araki and Rinko Kawauchi. Daido Moriyama is amazing too. Araki has been a big favorite for many years. I like his book “Sentimental Journey,” the series that he took of his wife when they were newly married. I was strongly influenced by how personal, honest and intimate it is. I love his curiosity and the way how he is always looking for new things. That does really come across through his works.

SK: What is the concept of this exhibition? What message do you wish to communicate to your Japanese audience?
LS: I am not the greatest at explaining why Ido certain things as much of it is based on emotion or instinct. This exhibition [at Taka Ishii] is an introduction to my work for the Japanese audience. I have spent the past decade documenting my world. I called the project a diary when I started out, and that is still what it is. The show is mostly self-portraits. Most of them I have taken in private with no one around.

SK: Please tell us what you mean when you say it’s a diary.
Similar to my written diary, there are periods when I write in it every day. It’s not always about current events, but it’s always an important way to vent and process the world around me. In my photographic practice I also have a need to get something on paper, express something, or save something.

SK: Finally, on the subject of your publications. Why do you publish your photobooks in such small editions?
LS: I find the most interesting part of publishing books in the process of creation. The less copies I make, the sooner it will sell out. Then I enjoy making the next one. I really like this progression. I also want those who have purchased one of my books to feel that what they got is something special. Lots of people ask me if I reprint the previous, but I’m not going to. Some of the pictures I’ve included may reappear in other books one day though.

Exhibition view

Shizuka Kitani

Shizuka Kitani. Born and residing in Tokyo, Shizuka is a BA student studying visual culture, media arts and all sorts of other stuff that interests her. She did a year abroad as an exchange student at Copenhagen University majoring in Art History. Arts, photography, teas and manatees have been her top interests since she was a child. She loves rainy days. » See other writings

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