Watching Humans watching Inka Lindergård and Niclas Holmström

Swedish Photography has created a personal fascination and source of inspiration for many, as well as myself and to think why is a necessity. When coming across the work of Inka Lindergård and Niclas Holmström, in their series Watching Humans Watching there is a surrounding sense of something ground breaking. The logo at the front of the book creates an aura around something that feels incredibly strange, yet so polished in execution. When you look at the immediate style they have employed, it is one that is circulating rapidly, but few have carried it out as well as this. The use of Colour, and the use of studio lighting and flash work are intimidatingly clean and spreads professionalism throughout the series. With the title, Watching Humans Watching, it is about the yearning to see something spectacular, and in this case it seems like nature. Now, this is a well known fact, and many have flocked to nature for an escape from their civilised surroundings. The photographs almost have a sense of tourism, but a spectacular tourist trip. What was once a natural land begins to feel more man made by the minute.

A clear direction of self creation seems to reveal itself throughout, and to make our mark as humans on the places we wish to see is my reading of it. Besides the outstanding visuals, there is something that carries the meaning throughout, and that would be the human intervention. One has to wonder the situation of a Tour Bus with a collapsed roof and the cracked glass sprawled across the 1980s decor, a moment of complete bemusement, how was that possible. You then must think to how they found these places, as the photographs themselves seem too good to be true. They appear dreamed up and then created in post production, but there is an essential rawness in their means of capture.

I think colours help their cause, and that is one of the main visual ingredients of the series, one that without may not have the same injection of pace. It is like the equivalent of eyes darting all around a country, and we are seeing the best bits, the greatest hits if you like. And String? Why string around the rocks, something so natural for humans to do, to own nature in someway, to reign it in as our own, and to see it untouched but we need to see it. The experience of visiting the untouched landscape almost feels forced because of the means of travel and the nature of that travel, matched perfectly by the dated decor of our coaches, the signs we need to follow and the tacky tour guide that shows us along the way. It is not an untouched landscape anymore, and won’t be unless we strive or advertise its existence.

Although this is a point to make about the series, I feel there is more to it than that. Alongside a struggle to contend with nature, and to make our mark I feel it ultimately has another underlying theme. It is the spectacular, but it is more than that also. Once you look past the flashy exterior something that I do not quite know what it is, is on display and the mystery lies with the image below. It feels like the odd one out here, and the rest have a clear part to play in its meaning. It first looked, to me, like a body, a back side with a heart wedged into the side, but it is something that floats, I see. Something that has landed into a beautiful pool of pink. This image appears to feel like the crux of the project, and the element that sends another meaning across, like you may see a cliffhanger on the end of a film with an unlimited about of prequels and sequels, like a saga not yet finished.