From the first moment I saw Lina Scheynius’ photographs I felt a connection with her work that I’ve never had again with anything else. She has a beautiful and sincere perspective when she takes photos of the intimate moments with her friends, lovers or herself. Lina captures the dark and bright moments of her personal life with an undeniable eye for the light. Back in 2010 I was living in London and, thanks to Roberto Rubalcaba, I met Lina. We became friends and she even took some photos of me. It’s amazing how easy the distance with someone can change.
I decided not to ask questions but themes to Lina, so she could express herself more freely.
I make my own books and since 2008 I've made one every year on average. I do it all by myself. I’m not sure if I chose much of a theme, to be honest, usually I pick photos from a specific period in my life and then I print them all out and put them all over the floor. When I have removed enough photographs, I put them on a wall and from there I move into InDesign and lay it out there.
I do a lot of this. It turns out that the photos you liked when they were new from a specific series are not your favorites five years later. This becomes more and more obvious as time goes by. Some photos seem to stand the test of time, though. I keep a lot of photos in boxes and occasionally I will go through them and find something I had missed the last time I did.
I am extremely self critical. I hate what I do half the time. I love doing it, but I hate the result. Sometimes I hate the process too – usually when the pressure gets too big. I wish I could be a more relaxed person, but I guess I wouldn’t be working with this if I was, and it has brought a lot of joy and has opened the world to me in a way a normal job would have never done. I actually do not hate the images when I can step out of the photographer head and just look at them like memories, and not like pictures that are “good or bad”.
I've got none coming up at the moment…
The good point is freedom, I am my own boss. But the bad one is that I am an abusive boss with expectations I can not possibly live up to. Some other good points are the people I've met in the photo world. Wonderful people like you. Or the places I've got to travel to for work, where I've loved to take pictures and then looking at them.
I like Araki's photos from his honeymoon. There’s nudity there, but he has such a connection with his subject and it just feels like part of life. A secret part of life that I love being let in on. I don’t like nudity just for the sake of nudity though, not that I mind the naked body, but I prefer when there is a story behind the pics and and a connection between the model and the photographer. Not just “let’s take naked pictures”. I've taken nude pictures of myself on and off for years. The pictures are changing and so is my body. The desire to do it goes up and down, but I always come back to it. I'm not entirely sure why I do it. I started back when I was a model and everyone, but especially myself, was obsessed with my body.
Calendar was a project where I took one photo of myself a day. I've kept at it for a year and a half almost, and then I had to stop. 365 was an attempt to shoot a roll of film every day, but I had to stop that too. I kept going for 55 days and then I was out of energy. At the moment I'm not doing anything every day (apart from eating, sleeping, etc). I wait for the inspiration to come – and then I do it. I think that’s a better approach for me. I need to be kind to myself, and what is the point of doing something you love when you do not feel like doing it?
I have actually taken a step back from the internet just now. It got too much for me. I've had some horrendous death threats and loads of hard penises and other things I am too sensitive to deal with. I've got a lot of love too, but I think I need to step back a little from Instagram and Facebook and that whole circus and just take pictures. I need to take pictures without having the direct response from an audience and just listen to my own response to them for a while.
How are you doing Alba? What are you working on? When can I see you again?
I've always had my favorite photographs of Lina. So I asked her about the story behind some special ones.
This is a picture of my dear friend Amanda taken near her summer house in Sweden. We took a boat over a lake and ended up on an island with this old dance track that no longer is in use. It was called The People’s Park, and locals used to meet up there to listen to music and dance. The light was incredible –as it often is in summer–, and I asked Amanda if she would like to pose for me. She almost always says yes. My favourite part of this picture is that digital camera next to her. It’s hers. Without it the picture would be so timeless. When I first processed it, I wished the camera wasn’t there, but now I like it.
This is a self portrait from 2012. It was taken in between other pictures during a fashion shoot. We were shooting in Morocco for a fashion magazine and for some reason we had a little break and I had some time on my own in my hotel room at the Riad. I had a shower and took a couple of photographs of myself in the shower, and then I went back to shooting the model – not telling anyone about my own little adventure. This turned out to be my favourite photo from that trip.
This photograph is very, very old. I took it in the summer of 2002, before I had any idea I would become a photographer. I was modelling in Paris and this was my friend and roommate Ida. I thought she was the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.