We are freckled is photographer Jonas Carmhagens latest project. A limited edition coffee table book that focuses on the beauty and simplicity of freckles. I met up with him in his studio to learn more.
By: Henriette Danielsen Photos: Private
When I arrive at POPE Creative Studio in the heart of Stockholm the first thing I notice are the huge portraits of people with freckles leaning against the wall. Such powerful pictures of ordinary people.
– I am the only one on my father’s side of the family who doesn’t have freckles. I got everything else from him, except that. In a way that has always fascinated me, Jonas explains.
On the table in front of us lies the book We are freckled, a project he has been working on for the last two years. I browse through the book while he explains how he has photographed people of all ages, both men and women, trying to capture the natural beauty of their freckles.
– I wanted a book filled with simple, yet very soulful pictures, emphasizing the beauty of freckles. Many of these people have grown up hating their freckles, but later come to love them. I want to show people, freckled or not, that they’re beautiful just the way they are.
He photographed over 140 people, gathering around 94 of them in his book.
– It was challenging from time to time, since many of them weren’t comfortable in front of a camera. There are many details when it comes to taking pictures.
Why a coffee table book and not an exhibition?
– An exhibition is easily forgotten, books lasts forever, he says and smiles.
Jonas has always been interested in photography and has carried a camera around for as long as he can remember. But it wasn’t until he turned 19 years old that he applied to a photography school. Today, he mainly works as a fashion photographer, with projects of his own on the side.
– I decided to publish this book on my own, without the help from any publishing company. It results in more work, but I wanted this to be mine. However, I had some help when it came to layout and writing texts, from designer Niclas Gozzi and writer Natalie Tell.
How do you finance this sort of project?
– Kickstarter! It’s a platform that helps creators find the resources and support they need in order to make their ideas a reality. It’s not commonly known in Sweden, but it actually financed the whole project.
The book was released in December 2015 and is available in several small stores and online. The feedback has been enormous.
– We had an exhibition her in the studio where you could buy the pictures and the book, and I was a bit overwhelmed of how many people showed up. I reckoned about 150 would show up, we ended up being around 400!
Shortly after the exhibition Fotografiska, a center for contemporary photography in Stockholm, contacted him.
– That’s actually a funny story! While I was there having a look at an exhibition one day, I received an email from them, saying they had come across my book and wanted to meet. I replied that I was actually in the building! We sat down and they offered me to take over their Instagram account for three days and share my pictures from the book.
What does your father say, since he sort of inspired you to do this project?
–I actually asked him to be featured in the book but he declined. But, he is of course very proud.
What does creativity mean to you?
– Everything! I love the whole process from creating ideas and end up with the results in my hand. For me it’s important to do something on my own, something no one has done before me. I actually did a lot of research before I started on this project and only found one book about freckles, but it was from 1999 and I decided I could do a whole lot better.
What are your future plans?
– I have several ideas, but what I mostly want is to continue working on the concept We are. I am also looking into having an We are freckled exhibition in Germany. But for know I will continue promoting my book, he says and hands me a copy.
Are you interested in the book or a picture? Get 15 percent off by using the discount code BOY15 when placing an order on www.wearefreckled.com. Worldwide shipping!
Name: Jonas Carmhagen
Lives: Stockholm, Sweden