Text: Nina Strand, Objektiv
The small Swedish town of Landskrona hosts a big photography festival.
There are photos everywhere, on the ground, at the beach, hanging on the wall near my hotel. I am overwhelmed as I arrive at the dinner held in the big party tent, having missed the talks by Lesley A. Martin, editor of Aperture, Kim Knoppers, curator at Foam Museum, and Christian Cajolle from Vu. I am seated next to curator Ann-Christin Bertrand, who will give the opening speech a little later. She is given a disposable camera by the curators of the festival, Thomas H. Jonsson and J.H. Engström, to hand on to one of the festival’s main exhibitors, Rinko Kawauchi, who will take two images with it and then pass it on to one of the other artists. There is an announcement that the winner of the Lewenhapt-grant 2014 is 18-year-old Sander Broström, whose work will be shown at Landskrona Museum. There’s a storm outside, the tent shakes, and we’re worried that the chandeliers will fall down. Broström nevertheless takes the stage and says he’s extremely happy, and we all applaud and move over to Landskrona Konsthall for the grand opening. This year the main exhibition is all female, featuring work by Nan Goldin, Bertien van Manen, Rinko Kawauchi and Eva Klausson.
In her speech, Bertrand informs us that Landskrona will open a museum of photographic history next year, and then she goes on to talk about the iphone/selfie generation while several audience members document her speech with their ipads. Kawauchi is given her camera and we all move inside the gallery to see the works on show. I sit through Goldin’s slideshow The Ballad of Sexual Dependency twice and have New York City on my mind for the rest of the evening. I can't watch Moment agency’s incredible slideshow later without comparing it to the hardships endured by Goldin and her friends.
In the morning at the hotel I meet the Norwegian artist Sara Skorgan Teigen and see her book Fractal State of Being for the first time. Teigen, together with her publisher Gösta Flemming from Journal, as well as Knut Egil Wang and Ken Grant, will show slides from their brand new books and talk with Engström later in the evening. First on the program is Kawauchi, who greets a full house in the main theatre and talks about her longing for the old magic in the darkroom. Where did it go? Next door to the stage 18 hopeful photographers meet for their portfolio review and outside, the small book tents are slowly opening.
I stroll down the gallery street and see art in seven small pop-up galleries. In gallery number 7 publisher Christian Tunge from Heavy Books has curated his first exhibition, a group show with the Norwegian artists Marthe Elise Stramrud, Geir Moseid, Andrea Johns and Sara Larsen Stiansen. Tunge will also be on stage during the weekend to review photobook dummies, but now I must run to Landskrona Museum to give a lecture myself about how to run a journal like Objektiv. I am given 45 minutes, and my spot is after Van Mamen’s presentation and just before Goldin’s talk, so I know people will want me to be quick. I rush through 61 slides in 40 minutes and then we all run to get a good seat in the theatre. Goldin is 20 minutes late (time is just an illusion, she says when she arrives) and is greeted like a rock star when she takes the stage. She says photography is dead as a medium, it’s just a video game, and then everyone wants to take her picture.
Afterwards, she spends two hours in the small book tents, listening and talking to all the independent publishers while we eat another lovely dinner and applaud the winner of the portfolio review, Swedish photographer Johan Österholm. And then Goldin and Engström invite me to her hotel to hear more about their thoughts on photography and I hope I’ll remember everything for the next issue of Objektiv.
On the last day, Gallery Breadfield and Tommy Arvidsson invite us all to ‘Photobook Sunday’. Editor Jenny Morelli guides participants through presentations of their book dummies before a jury of Christian Tunge, Matilda Plöjel (Sailors Press) and Damien Poulain (OODEE). Plöjel and Poulain will later engage in a conversation on the books together with Anna Strand and Marie Andersson. And finally Greger Ulf Nilson will give a lecture on how to publish a book, ‘generously sharing what he has learned through trial and error’, the program states. Unfortunately, my flight departs too early to attend this, but as I leave the hotel, helping Knut Egil Wang carrying his heavy box containing 18 copies of his brand new book Southbound, I feel very optimistic about photography’s future in general, and the photobook in particular.