I've been "slammed" a few times by other artists for not having an "Artist's Statement".
However, as far as I am concerned
- who I am , where I was born, educated - or not,
where I live, what are my personal likes and dislikes, what do I look like,
how old am I, etc., etc., is of no importance.
The only thing that matters is what YOU
- the viewer of my images FEEL and THINK when you look at my work.
The "Artist Statement" is a relatively new "invention",
mainly by and for the benefit of galleries, museums
and those who make a living by selling or criticizing the works of artists.
I see no reason to influence your thinking or feelings about my work
by priming you with psychological statements as to why my subconcious influence me
- or not - to shoot and create my images the way I do.
However, I've been told that some of my images give the viewer the "wrong" impression
- and I am constantly asked "why" and "where" my images come from
- especially those that involve religion, violence against and control of women.
So - a few things about myself.
I was born in Sweden. That's where my basic values about women's role in society,
their "worth" and "capacity" were formed
- as well as my conception about nudity and sexuality.
I grew up "making" music - from the age of six when my mother realized I was "gifted" with a good ear,
I was fortunate to be able to always have that to turn to.
My childhood and teens were not easy but the music was always there
- it kept me - mostly - out of trouble.
When the other kids were out throwing rocks at the streetlights, I was rehearsing or performing.
Photography was always "second fiddle" to that but something that was interesting and mysterious.
At the age of twentyone I was living a good, comfortable, mostly carefree life and as happens in most young mens life,
Love struck - hard - not for the first time - but this time with a sledge hammer.
Eight months later that love was taken away on a Sunday while I was doing nudes of a couple of friends.
Upon the return back home to our apartment I discovered my love, Neeta, dead in our bed.
That day the music and the photography died.
I eventually left Sweden and started a different life.
And you forget - but you never forget
- the memories and what happened are always with you and it changes your life in almost every way you can imagine.
I have never again played any of the
instruments I had played for so many years and I didn't do
photography for many years
- snaps, yes, but nothing "serious".
I still had cameras - loved the "feel" of them
- such precise and beautiful instruments - but my mind said "No".
Then a friend asked my to do some
images of his daughter as she aspired to become a model
- I took five rolls of Tri-X (what else) and when looking at the contact sheets
I realized photography was what I should have done all my life.
So, here I am, starting a new life,
trying to share what my mind "sees",
my values and appreciation of the beauty that is always around us if we just take the time to look and "see"
- the beauty of women
- these mysterious - at least to us
men - baffling, extraordinary, lovely and remarkable creatures -
- much stronger mentally than us - creatures who thru centuries always have been
- and still are
Controlled and held back and used for pleasure by men in the name of religion
- and to cover up the inadequacies and fears of men,
- they are still controlled, mutilated, sold, used as commodities.
Obscene beyond words
- especially when it's done to young girls in the name of religion
- something that happens every day.
And the thousands - millions - of women in violent and abusive relationships...
Although I try to show the beauty that exist in every woman,
some of my images are commentaries on this unfair and obscene condition under which so many women - and children - live.
Even in Sweden,
which has the most equality for women of any country,
they still do not have full equality.
But, as I AM an artist - finally - perhaps the very beautful and eloquent statement
by Tracy below can offer some hints of why I am different from most of you
- and why women are much further along in evolution than men....=*^)
The statement below is reprinted here with the permission of
Tracy says so very eloquently and beautifully what I have myself not been able to formulate in words.
Except for a few particulars she could just as well be me or I her....
I am an artist. I am afflicted.
Somewhere along my strands of DNA lies a
particular combination of chemicals that make this so:
I can no sooner change it (as if I would ever want to)
than I could change my height or eye color or
the shape of my face or the sound of my voice.
It is hardwired in my genes.
It is who I am, it is who I will always be.
I celebrate the human form in my art. My chosen
tool is a camera, my laboratory is my studio and
darkroom. I experiment with light and shadows,
form and figure, grain and texture. For the past
ten years I have been focusing my lens on exposing
the human body - particularly the female body
(specifically my female body) as my subject.
I am an artist and I am happy in the dark.
Because of this I think a little differently than
most others. I look at the world through the eyes
of an artist. It's not better, it's not worse:
it's just different. I am different. I am an
artist and I am not the norm
I forget this, and it gets me into trouble.
Personally I strive to be open-minded, I seek out
what is shocking and against the grain. I observe,
I immerse myself, I learn and I grow. What was
shocking now becomes accepted and understood.
Nudity is an accepted part of my life. I look at a
nude and I see beauty, I see the fluid motion, I
see shapes and lines and forms. Looking at the
work of others who share my love of the subject I
see the emotion the artist wanted to convey, I
experience the piece through the eyes of the
photographer. There is beauty in the body. Every
line, every curve. Faces sometimes don't matter:
my photographs aren't about me (not always,
anyway) but about a woman. Any woman. Look at her:
what do you see? What do you feel?
I am proud of my work and I don't hide it away.
This is what I do, this is who I am.
Not everyone feels the same as I do, not everyone
agrees with my art, not everyone approves of my
subject matter. A large percentage of the
population seems to have forgotten that underneath
all those layers they are just as naked as I am.
Every preacher who has ever spouted out against
the evils of the flesh is naked up there on that
pulpit. Every member of Congress, the Supreme
Court and the House of Representative are all
naked under their suits, dresses and robes.
Senator Exon is naked. And though I can't be
certain of this, Jesse Helms has probably been
We are flesh and blood, bones and cartilage, sinew
and muscle. We live, we breathe, we sweat and cry,
we hope and dream. As unique as each individual
personality might be it all boils down to just how
similar we all are on the basic level.
When Congress tries to pass laws censoring free
speech I am confident in the fact that such a law
can never be accepted because I know it's absurd.
And so everyone must know it's absurd, right? But
as person after person stands up and rails against
the arts and the internet and free speech and
pornography and the poisoning of the minds of the
children I become very scared
I'm not doing anything wrong, why are you
I firmly believe that an individual should just
turn off the TV if something offends. There is a
little knob right there on that radio dial and you
can very well make that offensive music go away.
You disagree with an art exhibition? Fine. Don't
support it, send your check somewhere else. You
think that book is pornographic? I have a very
easy answer: don't buy it.
But don't ban it, don't propose new legislation to
rid the airwaves of it altogether, to prosecute
publishers who produce works you think are
indecent, to jail artists who create
"pornography". I am a responsible adult and I
voluntarily took on the job of raising my child
when I gave birth and it angers and infuriates me
that I am being second guessed by some old guy in
a suit in DC who knows nothing about me at all. If
something bothers you then stay away from it but
have the common decency to believe that I am an
intelligent being who can think for myself and who
is very capable of making her own decisions, thank
you very much.
Where will this book reside in your home? Will you
keep it out on the coffee table or will you hide
it away in a drawer? Will you put it up high on
the shelves away from prying eyes or will you read
it openly in the middle of your family room. If
your child saw you reading it would you quickly
close the book and hide the cover or would you
continue on? I am not saying that any of those
things are bad, I just want you to think about why
you would do it.
What message is society sending to the children
when violence is glorified in movies and TV but
sex is something forbidden and dirty?
Sex is a wonderful, beautiful thing and to deny
this to yourself and to anyone is a waste. To
embrace the beauty of sex is enlightening. Live,
love, and enjoy. Human beings are created to have
sex - it is as natural a part of life as living
and breathing. Open your eyes, try something new,
do something different. You're dead for a very
long time so don't throw away what time you have.
There is nothing wrong with being naked. And there
is nothing really wrong with being disturbed or
offended by it. But there is everything wrong with
judging me and censoring my thoughts and ideas
because they do not conform to your own.
I am an artist. I want to make you think. If only
for a moment I want you to look at the world
through my eyes. I want you to feel what I feel
when I create it. And I want you see the beauty of
I will keep trying.
- tracy lee
copyrighted 1996, 1997
The Mammoth Book of Illustrated Erotica /edited by Maxim Jakubowski & Marilyn Jaye Lewis (New York : Carroll & Graf, 2002) 512 pages; ISBN 0786709219
The Art Fix, August 2005, Issue 74.
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Categories: Erotic artists | Swedish photographers | Photographers | Fashion photographers | Erotica