Houses of Grez-sur-loing
During the spring of 2022, I spent a couple of weeks in Grez-sur-Loing. It was at the end of the pandemic and the journey from Sweden to France was by train through countries that all had their own restrictions and solutions – for how to use the mask, what distance you should keep to other people and how you should behave in public transport. The attention was drawn to the invisible border between us. I have never been so aware of how my own body felt and its existence in relation to the public space.
Once I arrived in Grez-sur-Loing, there was something about the small houses that I found intriguing. At first I couldn't understand what it was, but I soon realized that the short side of the buildings had no windows. The houses were surrounded by neat little gardens with a beautiful wall or hedge which were neatly kept, but whose main purpose seemed to be to mark a boundary, not to be aesthetically pleasing. It made the houses look more like small forts than houses for someone to live in. At the same time this put focus on a rather obvious contradiction – the lack of windows provides protection from the outside but it also makes it difficult to see out. In some way, the body of the house became a reflection of my own body, in this unfamiliar place during this strange time.
in collaboration Fredrik Åkum
The publication is based on the principles of Chinese whisper, where the message is distorted and changed along the way. Instead of words, Fredrik Åkum and Emanuel Cederqvist sent images to each other, through a slow wordless conversation, where each image changes its meaning in relation to another, as the amount of images grows. The exchange of pictures took place between during the period 18/4 and 20/6 2022.
The Ditch recounts the story of a forgotten defence line built on Öland, a small island on the east coast of Sweden, during the Second World War. The line was intended to act as an obstacle for tanks, splitting the island into two parts near the village of Föra. In the book, Cederqvist’s images are combined with documentary material from the Swedish War Archive, records which remained classified until the 1980’s.
Work on the defence line was based on a number of strange assumptions and it was not long before things started to go wrong: the ground swallowed more water than planned, the pump was undersized and costs skyrocketed. Eventually, the leader of the project, Raoul Thörnberg, was court-martialed. The so-called ‘Föralinjen’ came to represent a notable failure for the Swedish military, and something they would prefer to forget. Traces of the project – reminiscent of an abandoned piece of land art – remain visible in the landscape.
The Margin of Error
The Margin of Error is based on two different archive materials that both depict Sarek's National Park in north of Sweden. The pictures are partly Emanuel Cederqvist and partly Axel Hamberg's 100 year old photographs from a relatively unknown archive. As a landscape, Sarek hasn’t changed considerably since the last ice age around 10,000 years ago. The difference between the photographs is almost indistinguishable. It’s only the camera and the position in the landscape that set the pictures apart.
Cederqvist is interested in how the camera was seen as an instrument, a tool to measure, and take control over the nature. His own approach to hiking, and nature in itself, is more an opportunity to let go of control - to be open to the unpredictable. As a starting point for this project Cederqvist found a story about an weather observer, also named Emanuel, who worked at a weather station in Sarek. In september 1917 the observer disappeared in a snow storm and his body has still not been found.
Awarded in the Swedish Book Art 2020.
At a plateau at 1830 metre altitude, just below Pårtetjåkkås peak, lies the weather station Cederqvist visited and photographed. The weather station was built by Axel Hamberg and was completed in 1914. During 1914-1918 the station was inhabited by two weather observers who performed precise measurements of the weather around the clock. In 1917, an accident occurred at the weather station at Pårtetjåkkå and one of the observers disappeared in a snowstorm. The accident remains a mystery, and the body was never recovered. Because of the site inaccessible geographical position, the station and the abandoned measuring instruments remained untouched for over a hundred years.
Awarded in the Swedish Book Art 2017.
Emanuel Cederqvist's photo book "Det som blir kvar" is a moving documentation of what is left of an estate once its contents are divided up and sold off. His photos captures the intermediary stage between one life and the next, whilst retaining the objective gaze of administration.
"I have been a photographer for real estate agents in Gothenburg since 2009. The homes I visit are often clean, styled and the personal belongings are removed, nevertheless what is private is clearly visible. There are many different reasons why a house will be sold. Often it’s because someone’s life situation has changed radically. Separations, births or death. There is something extremely sad with the homes where someone has died. There is always a certain sentiment in the air. What remains is a collection of photos from the estates where someone just died, taken between 2009 and 2013."
Awarded with a gold medal for best book design in Kolla 2015.