SAGA I, 2009
The two artists, known as Inka and Niclas met whilst studying photography in Stockholm in 2005. Since graduating, the couple has worked together producing works such as Saga and Watching humans Watching.
Jump to the next page to read N|N´s interview with Inka and Niclas
(by Bjørnar Pedersen for N|N ©2012)
Can you tell us about your collaboration and how it started?
We became a couple while studying photography 2005-2007. After graduating, we wanted to make a project together and decided to spend three months in a small house on the Kilimanjaro Mountain in Tanzania and to figure out what Inka and Niclas would be doing. The starting-point for our project Watching Humans Watching came from that period. After that, it felt increasingly pointless to go back to working individually again. It has been about four years now; two is better than one.
Watching Humans Watching VIII, 2008
Watching Humans Watching I, 2008
For the last couple of years you have been working on two big projects; Watching Humans and SAGA, the German publisher Kehrner recently published both projects. Can you tell us about the nature of these projects and how they came about?
Watching Humans Watching started as an investigation of the human relationship with nature and the open landscape through the concept of humans as animals. But with time it also came to deal with our perception of nature as the ‘great unknown’, expectations of what the nature is, and how we are supposed to act within it.
During an organized safari to the Ngorogoro-crater in Tanzania in 2008, we noticed that groups of safari tourist displayed behaviors similar to the flocks of animals in the park. We became interested in how they moved in seemingly predetermined patterns and dressed in clothes that mimicked the colors of the unfamiliar surroundings. From that, we started to travel to places we knew people would go, to explore untouched, raw nature. By detaching ourselves from the natural environment and from the groups and individuals we found we were able to approach our subjects with the same distance a nature photographer applies when photographing wild animals. In the Watching Humans Watching series, we have always been very specific in what we have been after, sometimes almost to the point of staging, - only the subjects are not aware of it and we are not really in control of the situation. We can be waiting for hours for a person in specific colored clothes to step up on a cliff in the lightning conditions that we are aiming for. When standing still for a couple of seconds; the person becomes an object, like carefully placed statues in the landscape.
In SAGA we are dealing more with the whole mystic aura surrounding concepts of nature. We affect the landscape before or during the exposure, and we control the situation on another level. This series has been more of a process and the outcome of the project as whole has been unclear from the start. For us, the title has functioned as an umbrella term under which we have been able to approach the subject from different angles. For example during 2009, when we spent the summer in the northernmost parts of Norway, people were traveling from all over to see the midnight-sun. We became interested in the attracting force of the sunset and the colors it produces, so we started taking photographs in a number of ways for a period of two months. At one point, we picked up a mirror at a flea market, and the next night we brought that along with us and started experimenting by isolating different colors in the sunset. We had also been working with colored smoke for a while and one night when the sunset was particularly yellow and with pink clouds, we went out and started to make our own cloud. Later, we applied colors of that spectrum; red-pink-yellow-blue, using a flash or spray cans; trying to transfer the magic of the sunset on to various scenes and objects.
Do you also have individual projects in the line- up?
No, we just work together.
SAGA V, 2009
SAGA XI, 2011
You are based in Stockholm. How would you describe the photography scene there now?
About two years ago Fotografiska opened in Stockholm. It is a huge space that has gained a lot of attention. They have billboards and signs all over Stockholm and this way they bring photography directly to the public. They have big shows with famous photographers who photograph famous people and such; occasionally there are smaller and more interesting exhibitions. We believe that photography, has in a short amount of time, become more mainstream than it was a couple of years ago. Otherwise, the art- and gallery world in Stockholm has a couple of really good galleries and stuff happening here and there, it feels like there is lot of things going on.
SAGA VIII, 2011
SAGA XXII, 2011
What can we expect to see from Inka and Niclas in 2012?
Well, we are exited to start all over again, since we just finished two major bodies of works. What we are working with right now and are planning, connects a lot with SAGA but is getting “a bit darker”. We work in a more ritualistic way. 2012 will be a lot about producing new works, but we will of course also show Watching Humans Watching and SAGA as much as possible.
Right now we are showing a big 2 x 3,5 m piece at Diplomat Gallery in Philadelphia with opening reception on Friday (January 13th, 6-9 pm). We are also looking forward to exhibiting with our gallery Swedish Photography again at SP-Arte in Sao Paolo in May.
Watching Humans Watching VI, 2008
Watching Humans Watching XVI, 2010
(by Bjørnar Pedersen for N|N ©2012)