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Lina Scheynius’s life « DressLab : clothes+music+art
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Lina Scheynius’s life

Author: Estel Vilaseca

Section: NOTES

Date: 10.2013


When I was a child diaries were kept under lock and key and not left somewhere where your sister, father or mother could discover them and find out all they weren’t supposed to. In contrast, for the past seven years Lina Scheynius has been leaving hers where anybody can find them, on her web site. While these diaries contain no words, they are very suggestive. That enraptured guy looks like her girlfriend… She’s sad today… This one sounds like an argument… It’s a beautiful evening…Diary by diary Scheynius has built up a unique and personal photographic space. She is currently celebrating her first European solo exhibition, a collection of her best photos printed in large format, in the Christophe Guye gallery, and launching her self-edited book number 5, which includes some previously unpublished photos. In order to find out a little more about Lina, here’s a chat we had with her and a few images from her exhibition.


Lina Scheynius l DRESSLAB


Lina Scheynius l DRESSLAB


You started sharing your personal photographs because you liked them. I think you were one of the first to do this. How did it occur to you? Did you think about it, or was it an impulse?
I began in Flickr in 2006. I don’t really think I was one of the first, though I do believe I was part of something really exciting – there were very few people doing it, in contrast with today, with Instagram…but I was inspired by what I saw and thought I should do it as well.

Internet has had a lot to do with your success, but that was quite a while ago…do you think it would be possible to do it again, given the current context?
Well, I was talking to another photographer friend about this not long ago. In his opinion it’s too late now to begin the way I did, and that I did it in just the right moment. I had never thought about it before, but the truth is it’s incredibly easy to lose yourself in internet, though I don’t think it’s impossible to find an audience if you have a product that they’re going to love. Right? At the same time I feel very lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.

Do you feel comfortable with your body? Do you think we should use our bodies to be more to be creative, or provocative?
I don’t really have an opinion about how people should use their bodies, but I think it’s a bit silly how easy it is to provoke with the naked form. And yes, some days I feel comfortable, others no.


Lina Scheynius l DRESSLAB


Lina Scheynius l DRESSLAB


Lina Scheynius l DRESSLAB


Lina Scheynius l DRESSLAB


In any case, while you don’t seem afraid of showing your body, we see less of you as a person…you seem shy.
Yes, I’m definitely shy. I don’t give many interviews and I don’t much like to talk about myself or my work.

What do you think about the fact that many women are using their bodies to express themselves via the web? You were one of the first, so in some way you started a trend…
I had no idea I had started a trend. There were a lot of photographers who were using cameras to make self-portraits before me, it’s nothing new. What is new is internet and how quickly a photo you take of yourself in your bedroom can end up in someone else’s home. It’s really incredible. It’s also incredible that most men and women have the creative freedom to express themselves via the internet and are able find an audience thanks to the way they go about it.

What photographers whose work is similar to yours do you admire?
I remember at the beginning I fell in love with Marianne Mueller. Nan Goldin is another obvious answer. There are a lot of young photographers currently doing great work. Not long ago I came across a girl in Flickr, Hi Lui, whose work I love.

Have you received criticism about nudity, or the fact that you’re your own subject…?
I’ve received surprisingly few criticisms about the fact that I’m my own subject, but people have had problems with the nudity. In 2012 I had a photo column in one of the most important newspapers in Germany, Zeit Magazine, and they received quite a few complaints about my nudity. I also had problems with the server, who shut down my web on occasion for the same reason, so I changed servers.


Lina Scheynius l DRESSLAB


Lina Scheynius l DRESSLAB


Lina Scheynius l DRESSLAB


Before becoming a photographer you worked as a model, and in your web you say that you saw how many fashion photographers worked and that showed you everything that you shouldn’t do…can you tell me a little more about that?
It’s just that everything is too studied, it takes up a lot of your energy and there are so many people involved. There’s the hair, the make-up, the lighting, the retouching… I wanted to eliminate most of those things and try and get closer to what is in front of people’s eyes. Above all, I try to give them freedom.

It’s interesting to see how your transfer some of the more iconic poses from your diary to your commercial work…I suppose at the end of the day the diary is good training.
Everything is good training. I’ve had difficult moments with my commercial work and Richard Kern advised me to see it as a way of training my eye. That was great advice, because everything is practise. Whether it’s personal or commercial, it’s all about learning something.

Is there any kind of planning in your personal photos? How would you describe your working process?
There’s not much planning in my personal photos. I take a lot of photos when I’m alone with a camera and a tripod. Sometimes I’m with someone and I see something nice and try to capture it. For me it’s very important to work on series and create a narrative. I also love working on the booklets which I publish myself, and I love working on my web site, of course.

What’s in store for us in your book number 5?
A lot of what’s in book number 5 is new work that I haven’t shown online yet because I want to surprise the people who buy the book. They’re all new photos and they’re all a continuation of my project, the diary.


+ info_ Lina Scheynius

Text_ Estel Vilaseca
Acknowledgements_ Christophe Guye Gallery



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