Swedish photographer Lina Scheynius was at the height of a successful modelling career when she began experimenting with image-making. She joined Flickr in 2006, with no particular agenda, and was “overwhelmed by the response” to her candid and sensual snapshots. She decided to quit the fashion industry to pursue the medium full-time and was soon shooting for Vogue and AnOther Magazine, captivating audiences with her intimate, documentary-style self-portraits, images of loved ones and delicate still lifes. Her mastery of lighting, shrewd eye for colour and propensity for unusual compositions renders even the most mundane of subjects spellbinding. Scheynius has lived in London since 2001 and is about to release her ninth self-published photo-book, a collection of personal, spontaneous photos shot between 2013 and 2016.
“I started modelling at 16 and was sent to Milan for the summer. The next summer I went to London and after I finished school I just started spending more and more time abroad. I wasn’t very happy as a teenager in small-town Sweden: I dreamt of Stockholm first and later Paris. I tried living in both those cities, and New York, but I felt free to be myself when I was in London, and I met people I really wanted to be around, so I kept coming back. It’s always with a sigh of relief that I find myself here again; it’s such a welcoming, creative and accepting place. And I love how it has the parks and lots of little pockets of calm inside this huge city.
I do miss Sweden though: I miss my family and the access to nature – like picking blueberries – as well as the clean air and being able to see the stars. I never used to be sensitive to noise, but that’s starting to bother me too. Strangely if I just looked at my work, I probably would not advise myself to live in London. I am so inspired by light and this city is pretty terrible if you are searching for magical light. For that reason I find doing commissioned work here quite challenging – LA would be better for my style of photography – but, as a place, it is very inspiring.
On a perfect day in London I wake up late, make a cup of tea and some oatmeal and eat it on my balcony while I write in my journal. Then I meditate and do some stretching, and afterwards meet up with friends to go for a walk; some of my favourite spots are Hampstead Heath, Regent’s canal and the rose garden in Regent’s park. In the evening I go to the cinema or for dinner at (Georgian restaurant) Little Georgia. For visitors to London, I recommend the bagels at Beigel Bake in Brick Lane – I love them! And a really special museum in Hackney called the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, run by one of my friends.”
Lina Scheynius will release her ninth and latest photo book, simply titled 09, on February 7th, through her website www.linascheynius.com