Emma Hartvig

Emma Hartvig was born and raised in a coastal town in Sweden. She studied Photography at the University of the Arts, London, and has since lived in Berlin, Paris, and Copenhagen, before settling in Vienna, where she is currently based. Her work has been published in the Hatje Cantz Verlag-published The Swimming Pool in Photography and Rizzoli’s Pools. In 2020 Hartvig was chosen for Photo Vogue Festival’s exhibition “All in this together” in Milan, curated by Alessia Glaviano.

Performance and Motherhood

Emma Hartvig is an artist who works in photography. Precise and poetic, her practice elucidates themes of womanhood, performance, and desire – and, with a quiet but powerful perceptiveness, the points at which those themes intersect.

For many years, womanhood has been a central theme for the artist. Her deft lens narrows in on the nuanced femininity of her subjects – they are almost always female – and locates a deep, fleeting feeling. She is drawn to performers; in a team of synchronized swimmers or a troupe of dancers, she identifies affinity and drama, spectacle, and silence.

Meticulous and intuitive in her approach, the artist draws scenes from the interactions between different figures, pinpointing moments of stillness, tension, intimacy, or love in an assemblage of moving parts. Consequently, her photographs are at once dynamic and tranquil, compelling and cinematic. The possibility of conjuring emotion and story from a gesture, movement, or scene underpins every image she makes. Through her lens, the body is a moving sculpture, a vessel to be filled with ideas and emotions. To that end, she often works with self-portraiture, manipulating, and documenting her own form as a means of telling stories.

Since starting her own family a couple of years ago, these stories have often been connected to motherhood; she photographs herself with her children and other women with theirs. But in her work, this is a concept that expands beyond the traditional mother-child relationship, to comprise intimacy, sensuality, nature, strength, and hope. Her works interrogate the emotional evolution which accompanies the process of becoming a mother; a time of raw, unfiltered feeling; a transformation of sexuality and the relationship with the self; and a new respect for the physical body, in all of its strength, exhaustion, and beauty. In photographing collected groups of mothers, she invites the viewer to step into an almost mythical alternate world – one which is omnipresent, strange, performative, and personal.

To view more of Emma Hartvig’s work please visit their website.