Oscar Vindel Schönström

Oscar Vindel Schönström

PhD fellow

Current research

In collaboration with Fotografisk Center, Copenhagen, the PhD project Documentary Art Photography in Denmark, investigates the development of Danish art photography and analyse the trends that have arisen since the 1990s. The study is based on the following problem statement:

The project is based on a thesis that Danish art photographers since the 1990s seem to be moving away from documentary photography and moving towards a more staged and conceptual expression that still relates to reality. However, since documentarism is a stylistic feature that has been a tradition in Danish and Scandinavian photography, I will fundamentally analyse how contemporary Danish photographers works with documentarism today and to what extent they deviate from more traditional practices. At the same time, I will investigate whether documentarism belongs to the domain of art at all and how this ambiguity can pose a problem for the Danish art institutions.

The basic questions will then form part of a broader study of how art photography in Scandinavia has developed since the 1990s, and what impact the development has on the Danish contemporary photographic environment.

The aim with the project is, in addition to contributing to a historical study, to specify what can be considered documentary photography and what characterizes a documentary artwork. I will base this analysis on Fotografisk Center’s recurring exhibition Young Danish Photography. Through analysis of different exhibitions with associated paratexts, the aim is to map how artists work with reality and at the same time use the results to gain a better understanding of the photographic landscape in Denmark. The analysis is supplemented with observations from Sweden in particular, where documentary photography seems to be more integrated on the art scene, and thus forms fertile ground for active collaboration with similar institutions in our neighbouring countries.

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