Interview with Lena Modigh
Updated: Feb 7
You are based in: Stockholm
www.floydeditions.com (our online gallery/shop)
Describe your art practice and your family dynamics: I am a photographer and publisher of my own magazine named Period. I live in Stockholm with my husband Anthony, two teenage sons, Vincent and Finlay, and a cat named Lily.
Tell us a little more about how you developed your practise / technique? Difficult. I have always, in some way, been interested in imagery. In the beginning, mainly moving image, and for a long time, I thought I would work with feature films. I tried it in New York but got bored as it involved a lot of "waiting" around. I attended a course in photography at the ICP in New York and then a one-year program at the London College of Communication. After that, I assisted an English photographer, John Akehurst, for about two years, and at the same time met my husband, who is also a photographer.
Do you have any upcoming events or plans that you can share: We, me and Julia zu Knyphausen, are working on the next issue of Period. Number 8. Coming soon ☺
Have you lived or studied elsewhere: Yes, New Zealand, New York and London. Has your place influenced you, your art practice, your perspective and your network: Absolutely. One of the best things I have done is to live in other countries, away from my "homeland." I would not be who I am today, my interests and values, if I hadn't dared to take those steps early on and live elsewhere. I pushed myself to try things I otherwise wouldn't have; I dared to challenge myself. Sometimes it can be nice not to have a story. You are free from your own limitations. Or what you think you should do and be.
Motherhood issue Period. number 02
What is your story about becoming a mother and has your attitude and methods changed since you became a parent: I've always wanted to be a mother. I may not have been entirely ready once it happened, but I probably would never have been completely prepared for it. I was perhaps a little naive. It was completely different and at the same time exactly as I thought it would be. All phases are so different.
It's difficult to describe how my methods have changed since I became a mother. I think I have always documented and observed my children quite a lot. That way, I have learned what I am looking for when I take pictures of other motifs and people. What kind of feeling I'm trying to get. Someone once told me that my pictures of my sons were much better than all my other pictures. Maybe those photos are the most honest and intimate?
Vincent och Finlay in Period. number 7 'LOST'
What is your perception of the representation with artists / musicians who combine their motherhood in the artist / art world: Not so much. How has your background / upbringing affected you in your choice of profession / performance as a parent: I had a lot of freedom. What advice would you give to new artists entering a motherhood: Trust yourself. Can you describe a moment or a work of art that you think was a turning point in your career: I think my time in New York influenced me in so many ways, and I felt like anything and everything was possible. It opened my eyes, and it liberated me ☺.
I think there are so many different personalities in New York that no one notices you if you act or dress weirdly. You are allowed to find your own way since you are just one among others trying to find themselves. Do you have daily routines or rituals that help / get you into work mode? Music. Where is your studio, do you have a private space to reflect and develop and implement ideas?
I don't have my own studio, sometimes I borrow my husband's, which he shares with other photographers. I probably reflect a lot when I ride my bike around town. Usually, it is something very unexpected that can inspire one.
Do you have someone who inspires your art practice or reflects ideas with? My husband. Kate Monro who writes for Period. and Matt Ryalls with whom I made a magazine called Animae, as well as previous issues of Period. (How) Has the pandemic changed your artistic practice: Not so much. Maybe more isolated from people I would like to hang out with. Can you see yourself as a mentor to another artist, and what qualities would you offer as a mentor: Yes and no. I think it would be a mutual exchange. What makes you most expectant in your future: My family, travel and photo projects.