Lina Scheynius (lead image)
“This woman is amazing. Her name is Marina and I am in awe with her, and calling her my friend and muse is a gift. She is caring, wild, curious, vulnerable and brave – and she inspires me to be the same.”
“Recently, I have been experimenting with new techniques in the darkroom – painting, collage, folding etc. Also, I have been reflecting a lot on Black womanhood and its historic and artistic representation. I have been looking a lot at West African sculptures as well as busts of women of colour and Black women through history – can obviously think about the famous bust Nefertiti.
“This portrait of Nyaeuth Riam is a result of these experiments and my recent research. It was originally only a darkroom test, but I ended up loving it so much. I can’t help to see in it so many layers of what Black womanhood can be: beautiful, strong, colourful but also vulnerable, isolated, cracked.”
“I still find it difficult to take pictures of my mum. She, and a lot women, including my grandmother, always shy away from the camera, because they don’t want to see the signs of aging on their faces; they don’t think there is anything about them worth to be photographed. It made me feel defeated and doubt if it’s my incompetence that fails to capture her beauty.
“I had a discussion with a female friend once and she thought it’s only polite to meet people with perfect make-up and outfits. I also went through the stage when I wouldn’t step out the door without tarting myself up. Having to wear masks for a year gave me an excuse to not worry about how I look for the first time ever, and it feels so free. It’s OK for women to feel free, and it’s OK for women to not look perfect.”
“Carol, telling stories at the tail end of golden hour in the Valley, five minutes before the sun disappeared behind a hill. I probably shouldn’t tell you what she was speaking about, but I’ll never forget it.”
“Being a woman is sacred, it’s rebellious. It’s an act against judgement and consumption. You carry the burden of all the eyes in the world. At times it is merely impossible to see your true self. I wish I could meet my younger self and tell her not to care. The body you so harshly despise then, will become your armour. Let them look, let them envy your power.”
“I’m often looking at representations of women on signage, murals, and decorative detailing. The female form is one of the most repeated and varied motifs, whether generically rendered or highly nuanced. On streets and in interiors all over the world, symbols of women come together in their own abstract language, speaking of desire, hope, or the sadness of unfulfilled dreams.”
“For me womanhood is about the women who have come before us. The lineage of female experience that filters down through the generations, culminating in you.
“A female baby is born with all the eggs that she will ever have, which links you not just to your mother, but also your grandmother whilst she carried your mother inside her.
“This necklace was my grandmother’s; a pendant she picked up on one of her travels and a favourite of mine. In the last few years of her life I made the promise to myself to get to know her as a friend; learning our similarities and the womanhood that binds us.
“Her birthday was International Women’s Day 1928.”
“A photograph of Carla from a series about women, shot in Beirut. A truly inspiring and humbling trip, meeting fantastic girls doing incredible things. That’s where I really understood that supporting each other as women is a real force that can move anything.”
A ballad to premenstrual syndrome (Testimony of growth)
A streak or spot
Paints my vagina and perhaps
Sometimes my knickers, too
If I am wearing
In my mind. Myself and
Ruminations of what was and
What will be
I await your weight
Traumatic / Hematic
And then you arrive
I suddenly feel like ‘I’
Your regularity is pleasing
The found Intimacy
Between crimson and ‘i’
Regularly made to feel a fool
“Womanhood to me is about the strength, solidarity, and kindness we bring to the world and each other.
“Working on my recent project/book, Me + Mine, reminded me of these truths in a world that felt increasingly divided.
“Here is one of my favourite pictures from the project.”
“Womanhood is about being proud to be a woman
Is about celebrating all the qualities that we have as women
And fully loving ourselves, from mind to body
Is about loving others and taking care of them
Is about developing an inner strength with grace and confidence
Is about sensuality
Is about being who we are, without being defined by other people’s opinions of who we should be or what we should do as women.”
“This is a diptych from a story called Bewitched. I had this vision of the witchy nymph, mystical and mysterious. It was a combination of a mermaid, the Swan Princess, and Vasilisa the Beautiful from Russian fairy tales. I wanted to bring that ethnic look and show it in a modern and minimalistic way – choosing several elements that I’d want to use to build a story from – naked body, hair, and natural light.
“I find a lot of inspiration in women, and I’ve done a lot of work lately exploring the female gaze, femininity, and the body. My main goal is to normalise women’s bodies, not as sexual objects but as pieces of art, showing them as they are.”