In our latest exhibition, “Beyond the Hill,” we delve into the captivating work of emerging photographers as they explore and interpret nature. This month, we had the privilege of visiting Émilie Vesvre’s studio to discuss her journey, inspirations, and the profound themes that run through her art. Below is an edited transcript of our insightful conversation with Émilie.

The following interview has been edited and condensed.


COMA: Could you tell us about growing up in Paris and Knivsta? How did these experiences influence your journey into artistic photography?

Émilie: I was born in Paris, but my family moved to a small, safe town with lots of forests and free schools when I was very young. My connection to art began with my grandparents in Paris. They introduced my sister and me to museums, operas, and theaters every summer. Although my parents had no interest in culture, my grandparents valued it greatly, and this opened up a new world for me. It sparked my love for art, and I’m very grateful for that.

COMA: Did that early exposure to art shape your desire to become an artist?

Émilie: Absolutely. Although I never had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life, I was in love with Paris and felt at home there. After finishing gymnasium, I lived in Paris for a while and started searching for art schools. Initially, I applied for painting, but I wasn’t very good at it. However, a friend introduced me to photography, and that felt right. I realized I could study it in an artistic way, which opened a new path for me.


COMA: How did studying photography at HDK-Valand shape your artistic vision and technique?

Émilie: Studying photography at an academic level was significant for me. It validated my work and gave me confidence. The theoretical education at HDK-Valand, where I studied, empowered me to understand and articulate my art better. It taught me that everything in art, including what I do, has a unique value and context.

COMA: Were there any mentors or experiences during your studies that were particularly impactful?

Émilie: Many mentors were important, but two stand out. One was our teacher from the US, Res, who gave us tough but valuable critiques, pushing us to take ourselves seriously. Another was Nina Mangalanayagam, who challenged me with critiques I didn’t want to hear but needed to. Both provided essential guidance and support, especially during our final year with the pressures of the exam show.

Émilie Vesvre interview


COMA: Moving on to your artistic vision, your work often connects to themes of magic, the forest, and a post-anthropocentric perspective. Can you elaborate on this?

Émilie: These themes are deeply personal and reflect my worldview. We live in an anthropocentric world where mankind dominates, but the post-anthropocentric perspective envisions a world where nature and humanity are equally valued. My work aims to reconnect us with nature and our own spirituality. Photography, for me, creates its own magical world, capturing moments and emotions that transcend what we see with our eyes.

COMA: You mentioned that photography can build places that can’t be seen by the eye. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Émilie: Every photograph creates its own world. For instance, a simple photo of a couch becomes something more than just an image of a couch. It captures emotions and memories, becoming a magical place on its own. In my work, I use photography to highlight elements that may not be visible to the naked eye, like the lighting on a forest path, creating a new, enchanted reality.


COMA: How does your work contribute to the healing process you mentioned, particularly regarding mankind’s ego-based past?

Émilie: My work doesn’t claim to heal the world entirely, but it starts a conversation. It invites viewers to reflect on our current ego-based, individualistic society and the need to reconnect with nature and each other. By addressing these themes, I hope to contribute, even in a small way, to a broader healing process.

COMA: Have you seen your work spark such conversations?

Émilie: Yes, often. When I explain my work, especially themes like witches and magic, it opens up conversations about spirituality and personal beliefs. People start to see magic in their own lives, which is incredibly rewarding.

Do you believe in witches artwork
Do you believe in witches artwork


COMA: Can you share more about the historical context of the witches’ hysteria at Häxberget and how it influenced your work?

Émilie: I was fascinated by the history of witch hysteria in Sweden, where women were accused and executed based on unfounded accusations. This tragic history made me reflect on sisterhood and the harm caused when women turn against each other, often instigated by men. My work in this area aims to honor these women and explore the idea of reclaiming their stories through a spiritual lens.

COMA: Are you continuing to work on this project?

Émilie: Yes, it’s ongoing. Although it’s become a significant and personal project, I plan to continue exploring it. The pieces evolve naturally, and I aim to delve deeper into the history and spirituality connected to these themes.


COMA: Zooming out a bit, who or what inspires you today? Are there any other artists or photographers that you look up to?

Émilie: I draw inspiration from many sources. Leonora Carrington, an artist who was both a painter and an author, inspires me with her blend of art forms and her embrace of spirituality. Stephanie Solinas, a contemporary artist known for her humorous and thought-provoking works, also influences me. Both reflect a playfulness and depth that I admire and aspire to in my own work.


COMA: What upcoming projects should we look forward to?

Émilie: In the next few years, I hope to continue developing my current project. Right now, I’m focused on the process rather than the final product. I’m experimenting with test pieces and exploring new ways to express my ideas. It’s a journey, and I’m excited to see where it leads.

Stay tuned for more artist interviews and insights into our ongoing exhibition, “Beyond the Hill.” Visit our website and Instagram for the latest updates and to explore the incredible work of emerging artists like Émilie Vesvre.

July, 2024 - COMA Editorial team