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Lina Scheynius

In Pictures is a still and moving image gallery for significant works, events and places

From Book 04, 2012
From Book 04, 2012 Photography by Lina Scheynius

Lina Scheynius has always been very open about sharing her life – from intimate self-portraits to glimpses of friends or just the view outside her window, the London-based, Swedish photographer finds beauty in the simplest moments...

Lina Scheynius has always been very open about sharing her life – from intimate self-portraits to glimpses of friends or just the view outside her window, the London-based, Swedish photographer finds beauty in the simplest and most unexpected moments. Scheynius has just released her fourth photo book, a collection of images from the last ten months that sees her coming to terms with being alone, after the end of a relationship. “I think it’s about trying to find your place in the world as one person, not two people,” the softly-spoken photographer says, in a rare interview.

Scheynius started out by uploading her pictures to Flickr six years ago when she was working as a model. “A lot of the pictures I took while I was modelling were the way I wanted to be photographed, rather than how they photographed me,” she remembers, “they always turned me into something else.” Soon Scheynius’s photos were gaining a huge amount of attention online, and before she knew it, she was beginning a new career as a photographer. “I think the reason my photographs are seen at all is because of the blogs,” she considers. “If people hadn’t continued reposting them, nobody would have ever seen them, because I didn’t take them into an agency or to any magazines. So I’m very thankful.”

“A lot of the pictures I took while I was modelling were the way I wanted to be photographed, rather than how they photographed me,” she remembers, “They always turned me into something else.”

Since then Scheynius has become a regular contributor to AnOther, Vogue and Dazed & Confused, among many other publications, but the last year has marked a change of direction, as she’s turned back to her personal work. Following in the footsteps of Juergen Teller, Scheynius was asked to do a 52-week photo column for Die Zeit, Germany’s most influential weekly newspaper. Each week she shares a photograph and writes about the story behind the image – it’s become a diary of her life. “It’s really helped me to focus on my own work,” she says. “I sometimes left that behind when I was doing commercial work. You think you have to prioritise something because a person is paying you.” The results of her year-long column will be exhibited at the Swedish Photography Gallery in January in Berlin.

While her photos are deeply personal, in person Scheynius is a world away from the ‘Instagram-my-life’ generation. So how does she feel about sharing some of the most private details of her life with an audience? “At the beginning I didn’t think many people were going to see my photos,” she admits. “Now I’m sort of used to it, but in the middle it got really terrifying. I realised ‘wow, a lot of people are looking at these’ and I started to imagine that people were behind me when I was taking pictures. I couldn’t shake the idea,” Scheynius says. “But then when my grandfather was ill in hospital, I photographed him and I knew that I would never show these pictures to anyone but him and the family. That reminded me that I can also take pictures just for myself.”

The limited edition photo book 04 is available here.

Text by Karen Orton

Karen Orton is staff writer at Dazed & Confused. Originally from Canada, she is now based in London and specialises in culture and politics.

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