ARVIDA BYSTRÖM IS A YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHER, VISUAL ARTIST AND STAR OF SOCIAL NETWORKS THANKS TO HER PROFILE @ARVIDABYSTROM. IN THIS INTERVIEW SHE SPEAKS ABOUT HERSELF AND ABOUT THE BOOK MADE WITH MOLLY SODA "PICS OR IT DID NOT HAPPEN: IMAGES BANNED FROM INSTAGRAM" AN ARCHIVE OF IMAGES CENSORED BY INSTAGRAM.
How your passion for photography and art, was born? What are your inspirations?
I got into it at a very young age, about the time when the internet shifted from a more text based to a very heavy picture based medium. This was probably around 2002. I quickly learned that people that could create interesting images got a lot of attention on social media. Reading, friends and the internet usually give me inspiration, but actually I’m pretty twofold about photography.
How do social networks affect how to see the female body and sexuality?
In one way they made more important than ever since the visual medium, so in that way it probably puts more pressure on people to be visually beautiful. On the other hand people have a lot of tools to express themselves: from social to cameras. They can decide if they are subjects of beauty, before was left for other people to decide.
With what purpose born a strong and provocative project as ”Pics or It Did not Happen: Images Banned From Instagram”, created by you and Molly Soda (aka @bloatedandalone4evr1993), another important artist and personality of the internet?
Me and Molly Soda, another important artist who I made the book with, had a lot of friends being vocally upset about the censoring of their images on Instagram. It felt interesting to bring back what is put into darkness and put it into a book.
Why choose to make a book on Instagram’s censorship?
A book is a medium that can elevate these images to make them become even more important. To elevate what is taken out of our public digital memory and cement it into a printed book is a pretty strong way to get a glim of what is seen as bodies and pictures that are unfit to be on our social media channels.
The creation of the book was supported by contemporary artists as Petra Collins, Harley Weir, Amalia Ulman, Rupi Kaur and others. What was the creative process for choosing the photos to include in the book?
People sent us about 2000 photos. Molly has a certain aesthetic and favored phone photos. Important was also to focus on the issues that led to the censorship of the various photos.
How much is the real world influenced by the unrealistic view of social networks? How do you and Molly approach the unreal world of the social network?
Social networks aren’t unreal: they’re a part of our world. Photographs are only capturing a millisecond of the world from a very specific angle. Online have grown to be a very visual medium and probably affect a lot of us, both negatively and positively. The great thing today is that there are a lot of new voices that aren’t just fed from companies: you can grow a platform anyway. The negative side is that people with money more effectively and easily still have the tools to grow bigger and stronger voices.
As an artist and woman, what are the next goals to be reached to gain rights and freedom to express our body?
I don’t know. It is not like people have a list of things that needs to happen but one runs into challenges or interesting things to discuss.Just because we made this book doesn’t mean that anything with Instagram has changes.. There are a lot of discussions to be had surrounding bodies.
Interview Irene Bellucci
Photos courtesy of the artist