Tackling notions of gender and femininity throughout her practice, artist and photographer Arvida Byström isn’t afraid of the often stigmatised and taboo subjects connected to feminism and the body– including period and body hair.
Using things associated with girlhood and teenage life, her pastel-hued photographs recognise and aim to question stereotypically female concepts including being pretty and an object of fetishism. Reflecting these, Byström utilises and appropriates the ‘girly’ aesthetic to bring a level of seriousness to it and the issues it raises.
With a camera in her hand from a young age, Byström had her first series of published photographs at just 16 years of age in VICE magazine. Now based in London, this Swedish talent has continued to discuss and explore the ideas of gender, femininity, the self and representation through her main medium of photography, whilst also curating, modelling, and running a gallery space with her friend Hanna Antonsson, called Gal.
Byström is also no stranger to self portraits, often incorporating herself into her photographs; an awareness of being on both sides of the camera an intrinsic part of her medium. With a fresh take on discussing the influence social media and technology have on our perceptions of identity and concept of public domain, she uses her photographs to communicate her loud and innovative voice.
While there is often more than meets the eye to her photos, the 23 year old’s playfulness with bright, pastel colours and inanimate girl-culture objects give Byström a distinctive style and recognisability, undoubtedly attributing to her success over the online world.
Words / Sarina Meuleman