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The moment after the camera clicks is ever lost in real time, but is conversely ensnared forever by the eye of the lens. Scarlett Hooft Graafland’s photography deals directly with this sense of paradoxical transience and permanence in her exhibition Vanishing Traces at the Fotografiska museum in Stockholm, available to the public until September 8. Graafland has said that through her photography, she “creates her own landscapes” by taking almost surreal and yet natural, monumental settings and making them her own through the addition of figures and colour.

Graafland travels alone with her camera and her backpack as company to vast and isolated settings. From the barren salt desert of Bolivia to the isolated island of Madagascar, Graafland is drawn to places so astounding in their grandeur that they seem, as she says, photoshopped. To add to this sense of the surreal within the real, she collaborates with those she encounters in remote lands that they call home, inviting them to help her in the construction of her artwork while they too invite her into their world.

Her work is at once strange and suitable. This is evident in images like Dunes Like You, wherein the sculptural composition of the figures shrouded in fuchsia scarves echo the grandeur of the dunes in the background, and yet contrasts them with the vibrant, artificial colour. Thus Graafland’s training in sculpture is even in her photography though how she plays with shape and perspective in order to achieve an image that is truly unique in its closeness to nature that also feels very distant.
The exhibition Vanishing Traces by Scarlett Hooft Graafland is on view until September 8 at the Fotografiska museum, Stadsgårdshamnen 22, Stockholm.

Lara Delmage

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