TRUE VISION: ANNA ALEXANDER OLSSON

ANNA ALEXANDER OLSSON, PHOTOGRAPHER.

OMQ: At OMQ, we’re interested in what makes fascinating people tick. We think that certain individuals, especially though not exclusively creative people, illustrate their soul and spirit through their work. Do you think this is true of your work and if so, how?

CLH: I can only proceed from my self and tell my own story but I also believe that the most personal stories often come out as the most universal. That’s the beauty of art, it binds people together as some sort of worldwide group therapy.

OMQ: Do you feel there is something bigger than you present in your work and when you are working?

CLH: My images capture the mystery and poetry of everyday life. I’m attracted to the unexpected and odd, and I love the undefined and androgyny. Even though the themes vary on the surface, my stories always come down to questions about growing up, sex and gender.

OMQ: There is a fine line between important, educational influences and lack of individuality, veering from the path of internal vision. How do you walk the line?

CLH: I studied photography and had the great opportunity to focus on my creative work for three full years. I got a solid technical ground and met wonderful and inspiring people that are still my friends. The things I’ve learned during my studies have been incredibly useful to me, but I also think that it’s important to maintain a sense of naivety and to trust your intuition even when it tells you things you never learned in school.

OMQ: How would you explain the notion of artistic integrity?

CLH: I’m convinced that it’s possible to work in commercial projects without compromising your artistic integrity. Like in every other situation you have to be aware of your own limits and have the courage to stand up for your values. I think that’s what integrity of any kind is all about.

OMQ: Do you think it’s difficult to remain true to yourself in the face of other’s opinions and advice?

CLH: I don’t think that it’s difficult to remain true to myself. When it comes to my basic values and ground I trust myself and I’ve never felt that change but I also believe that it´s important and healthy to be reflected and to develop through others.

OMQ: Do you ever suffer from self-doubt and if so, how do you combat it?

CLH: I’ve learned that self-doubt is a phase in my creative cycle which comes and goes, but when it gets too harsh, a change of focus usually works for me.

OMQ: What’s your greatest achievement?

CLH: Being alive.

OMQ: What is your favourite building and why?

CLH My favorite building is the open-air swimming baths (Kallbadhuset) in Malmö. It’s a beautiful building from 1898 with bridges for sun tanning and saunas for rainy days. I go there when I’m sad or stressed out to sit in the sauna and watch the ocean. I love the environment and to be around all the beautiful women of all different shapes. It’s a world far from commercial ideals and my absolute favorite place for meditation.