Plein-air (2022)


Women societies appear in Sweden throughout the 19th century when women are able to access a larger independence as a result of the industrial revolution anda large emigration. Thanks to these societies’ growth, culture interested women from society’s higher sphere, now can pursue their own interests and meet outside the domestic space. The pictures produced by the societies’ members them-selves are today owned by Malmö City’s archives.

Representations of the practice of photography often depict men. At the beginning of photography’s history, when this technology is seen as new and revolutionary, its’ practitioners are mainly men. In Sweden, during the second half of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, women though, are now dominating this new branch and are successful professionals. Despite this, women’s role in photography’s development is toned down in history. 

These so called “women societies” all of sudden give women access to new territories, social as well as geographical. Women get access, through these clubs, to the public space without the company of men. The nature surrounding the city becomes a stage for emancipation in a very simple form: an excursion.

Among the archival material are colour photographs taken in Malmö’s parks duringthe summer of 2022, where the city lets wild species grow freely. These spaces give an echo to the women societies on a symbolic level.

“Plein-air” (French for” outdoors”) is the act of painting outside in nature. Popularized under the mid of the 19th century, the genre had photography as a concurrent.

Published by Centrum För Fotografi under Periferi ‘22, a collective publication project.