Nordic Talents 2024

One of the main pillars of Copenhagen Photo Festival is to highlight emerging lens-based artists and photographers from the Nordics. Annually, we have an open call from which the festival’s programme committee appoints five promising talents for the FUTURES photography platform. The talents represent the scope of current young fine art and documentary photography in the Nordic region. This year 90 young talents applied to the call from all the countries in the Nordic region.

The five selected FUTURES talents 2024 are:

Barbara Marstrand (DK) · Emma Sarpaniemi (FI) · Frederik Danielsen (DK) · Jenni Tovoinen (FI) · Mathias Eis (DK)

Photo Credit: Jenni Toivonen, FUTURES Nordic 2024
Futures Nordic Talents 2024

Still Life of Teenagers Barbara Marstrand 2023 Denmark

Still Life of Teenagers by Barbara Marstrand is a series that delves into the ways young people engage with the world through photographs of their homes. Centered around the teenage bedroom, the series offers a personal insight into contemporary Danish youth life.

The snapshots capture aspects of everyday life that we often take for granted or perhaps even overlook. Interiors, technology and everyday  clutter fill the rooms with information and stories about the lives that unfold within and around them. The project was published in book form by Disko Bay in 2023.

“Barbara Marshtrand’ s photo book offers a keenly observant sociological study of the Danish youth culture of today. […] We go hunting for signs in the pictures ; we sense, feel and construct stories about the rooms ’ inhabitants .”

– from the book ’ s opening essay by Mette Sandbye.

“Marstrand (b. 1994), who is based in Copenhagen, has been selected for her project Still Life of Teenagers which was published in 2023. The project playfully portrays the lives of Danish youth. Marstrand approaches photography with a curiosity about different groups of people, and with her background in research, she offers a unique insight into different groups, combining her artistic practice and keen eye with sociological methods.” – The Programme Committee

Futures Nordic Talents 2024

Two ways to Carry a Cauliflower Emma Sarpaniemi 2021-now (on going) Finland

Two Ways to Carry a Cauliflower by Emma Sarpaniemi is a performative photography series exploring women’s self portraiture through play. To free the subject from the male gaze, the character depicted in the images is portrayed playfully and tenderly as a woman who behaves, looks, and performs on her terms and rules. While playfulness can often be perceived as naivety in the context of female artistry, Sarpaniemi turns it into a resource, possibilities for new ways of being. 

The starting point for self-portraits in the project is often an object or clothing found at a flea market, from which the artist begins to construct a photograph. Sarpaniemi selects the clothes, stages the scenes, photographs and designs the self-portraits herself. She is interested in using everyday objects in an unpredictable manner to create contradictions and alternative symbolic meanings within the photographs.

“Emma Sarpaniemi (b.1993), based in Helsinki, Finland, holds a BA from Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague. Sarpaniemi has been selected for her project ‘Two Ways to Carry a Cauliflower’ (2021- ongoing) because of her refreshingly different, satiric and at the same time intimate way of exploring identity. Through both performative and satirical self portraits, Sarpaniemi challenges traditional femininity and gender roles.” – The Programme Committee

Futures Nordic Talents 2024

Brandtræer på Als Frederik Danielsen 2020 Denmark

Brandtræer på Als by Frederik Danielsen investigates the cultural myths and ritual practices surrounding specific trees on the island of Als. By combining photography, found objects, and archival materials from the past with the present, Danielsen creates a timeless narrative filled with mystery.

Brandtræer på Als stands on the shoulders of the archival material collected between 1907 and 1950 by Jens Raben, Museum Inspector at Sønderborg Museum. This archival material serves as a gateway to a time when people lived closer to nature and understood its powers. Brandtræer på Als aims to contribute to the preservation of these stories as part of the local identity and to serve as a warning of what might happen if we lose our respect for nature.

“Frederik Danielsen (b. 1995) has been selected for his work ‘Brandtræer på Als’ revolving around the myths of Danish island Als, where the artist grew up. Danielsen manages to evoke the viewer’s curiosity for these local places and stories by applying a photographic approach that combines documentary photography and conceptual art, using both his own photographic as well as found material from local archives. Danielsen is studying photojournalism from the Danish School of Media and Journalism where he also had an exchange semester in Photography at Valand Academy of Fine Arts. He also attended the Royal Academy of Arts, Hague in 2019-2020.” – The Programme Committee

Futures Nordic Talents 2024

Are We There Jenni Toivonen 2021 Finland/ Brazil

In 1929 a group of Finns, including Jenni Toivonen’s great grandparents and their family, set out to Brazil to build a utopian community in the tropics. Their mission was to live in harmony with nature, separated from the capitalist society and to lead a life based on vegetarianism. Decades later, the artist grew up listening to melodies from Brazil, and this ambience led her to the old village which is nowadays surrounded by the memory of the utopian era.

Are We There by Jenni Toivonen investigates migration, memory and the connection between human and nature. It reflects on history in today’s world, as well as about the concept of utopia and longing for something distant as a catalyst for human action. At the core of the work lies a performative journey to the old village, where she tries to build a connection with the past by re-imagining and reconstructing it. Through rituals that immerse the human body in its environment, Toivonen explores the questions of origin, belonging and coexistence.

“Jenni Toivonen (b. 1993) has been selected for her project ‘Are We There’ (2021). Toivonen has a inquisitive and different way of approaching photography which is shown in the way she combines her own family story with found material and archival photos. ‘Are We There’ is a performative journey to the old village Penedo where Toivonen’s grandparents were set to build an utopian community in the tropics and the project becomes an investigation of migration, memory and a reflection of history in today’s world. Based in Helsinki, Finland, Toivonen holds a MA of Arts and Photography from Aalto University, Helsinki.” – The Programme Committee

Futures Nordic Talents 2024

Are we nearly there yet? Mathias Eis 2020-now (on going) Denmark

Tucked away from the rest of society, the rest areas along the highways are meant to be a much-needed respite on the way to one’s final destination. In Denmark, there are 148 rest areas with open toilets supervised by the Danish Road Directorate. But these paved oases also have a life of their own, although hardly anyone stays more than 10 minutes.

In his project Are we nearly there yet? Mathias Eis has visited strategically selected rest areas, preferably those that are still run independently of the big chains serving classic Danish dishes. The project creates a nuanced contemporary image of Denmark and the people who are either at work, traveling through the country, or just stopping at a rest area as a break from everyday life.

“Mathias Eis (b. 1995) has been selected for his long-term project “Are we nearly there yet”, exploring life at the 148 rest stops along the Danish highway. Although most people have visited one of these stops, few people attach any value to these places, but Eis’ keen eye transforms these otherwise bland locations. Eis holds a BA in photojournalism from the Danish School of Media and Journalism, and has also attended the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, where he studied Fine Art Photography.” – The Programme Committee