Author Archive for Mallory Bracken

Sébastien Van Malleghem – Nordic Noir

Sébastien Van Malleghem

Nordic Noir

An artistic residence in Norway (Halsnoy Cloister, 2013) ignites a passion with the North. Iceland, then Scandinavia further fuels the flame, revealing a personal confrontation with an endless space, a passionate and brutal encounter.

Captivated by the Scandinavian lands from a residence in Norway, Sébastien Van Malleghem has since advanced his travels from Denmark to Iceland, passing through Finland and Sweden. Nordic Noir is the visual recital of this contrasting trek. With breath-taking and timeless landscapes, scenes of life and harsh portraits, the series is closer to a constellation than a linear path. In the explosion of emotions that is the series, the photographer finds the right balance between the sublime and the banal, between the grandiose and the intimate. Leaning towards reverie in this work, Sébastien Van Malleghem’s eye remains sharp and keen; just as well when the scenery lends itself to pure contemplation, to the exhilaration of large spaces, to the experience of solitude where he captures a carefree and unbridled youthfulness that lays itself unreservedly open in front of the lens.


Sébastien, i know for you this has been a deep personal project, a sort of “personal long love story” as you described it, so i want to know more what keeps you close to this work and how you see it after years. The way you are looking at it has changed?

No, not at all. Nordic Noir, made me look deeper. That work I started in 2012 gave me the guts to do what I love to do and to believe in it. So far, making these photographs made me extremely happy and more confident. I didn’t change my way to look at the world, that work didn’t change it either, at the opposite: it confirmed it.

And are the pictures telling new things to you after years? I mean are they showing some secondary layer you didn’t see at the time?

I don’t think so, everything became clear when I looked at the book and when we made it.  If my photographs would mean something new, it would just be my mind going in different mood looking at them, but I know their origin and what surrounds them – when I made them, why I made them, and how I presented them. Nordic Noir is a big part of my life and what’s going on in my mind when I’m looking at reality. It is presented with exactitude in the photography book « Nordic Noir » published at the end of 2017. 

Do you miss the way you were looking at world at that time?

That questions sounds like you can have a way to look at the world and then change it. As it is a style or a filter. That is totally not the case for me. Nordic Noir is exactly how I feel and sense the world that surrounds me. Yes, I love black in my photographs, yes most of my reports are about the people in the margins, yes these are important reports that deserves attention; and Nordic Noir is my own wild run. 

I can’t « miss » this way to look at the world, because it is inside my DNA. Going to the extremes, with Nordic Noir was deep honesty towards love, photography, and the main themes that I’m questioning. I can’t miss my way to look at it cause I’m still shooting there. I still need it, it became a necessary part of my life: a balance. I’ll be back in Iceland in few month, and later on in winter 2019 I have been invited to an Artist Residency in North Norway: Vesteralen. I never stopped being up there, even after the book was published I was making photographs in Norway… 

I explain my question in a different way.. sometime when a project is finished we close that chapter inside us and we start exploring different directions opening deeper level of our perceptions. Yet, after a while, sometime after years, the immediate and first way of looking and capturing moments that we had on our first big project is something that we miss because we realize we cannot replicate. 

The key is that Nordic Noir isn’t my first big project. Nordic Noir was made in parallel of my work of reporter. So when I was documenting the Mexican Morgues, or the Heroine crisis in North of France, and other reportages in EU I needed to breathe. Therefore I would head up to Scandinavia and just photograph what I was personally interested by, and confront myself to quiet places. That is why that work is personal and spread over 5 years. Because it’s not a first, and after 11 years of being a photographer I know how to close a reportage, but personal works are limitless. It just depends of your mood and feeling to continue it or end it, but in anyway it sticks to your soul.
Now I’m working on this new personal project and reportage in the USA, I evolved from Nordic Noir, and I can  do the distinction with the new project and the one still running. 
It’s a personal choice to continue something with will and desire or to start something new. 

Short Bio

His long-term projects focus on the idea of justice in contemporary Europe. For four years he followed the daily job of police officers and their interaction with the public, then he decided to enter inside Belgian prisons for more than three years from 2011 until 2014. Sébastien went in Libya in 2012 to work on the ruins of the power after the death of Kaddafi. He covered the daily life of the people living in the streets of Berlin during five months in 2013. Van Malleghem focused on the Mexican Morgues in 2017, Heroine addicts in North of France in 2018 and went back to Belgium to photograph asylums in Flanders. Next to his European reportages, Sébastien started another long-term project in 2012 focused on Scandinavia, which has been published in 2018 under the name of Nordic Noir and selected has one of the most captivating photo-book of the year by the independant magazine Mother Jones (USA)


Related Links


Andrew Sullivan – Endangered Species

Andrew Sullivan

Endangered Species


Mexico’s murder rate went up 16% in the first half of 2018, a grim statistic that suggested this year would be the bloodiest in the country’s history. Time magazine approximated that someone was killed every 15 minutes in May. Where I live in Mexico has the reputation of being a safe haven. In travel around the country, I have seldom been in danger, yet I worry about personal safety. Reconciling my daily life with the headlines I see in the “prensa amarilla” leads to thoughts that I’m living in a fantastical bubble while a war rages closer than I want to believe.



While I recognize that I am not a target of the violence between rival criminal cartels, that sense of unease provided the idea for this project. I thought of looking over my shoulder on a quiet street in a strange town, and noticed Mexicans doing the same as I would pass in the street. I sensed a certain vigilance, and started to photograph scenes that seemed to signify something other than what was depicted. I didn’t want to photograph blatant violence. I wanted the photos themselves, and the relationships between pictures, to suggest that something was awry, that something lay beneath the surface. Mexico blends beauty with the sinister, joy with despair, and mystery with the mundane. It’s those contradictions that interest me- and make me uncomfortable.




Short Bio

Andrew Sullivan has worked as a photographer in Kenya, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. His work has been published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the United States Olympic Committee, and many publications around the world. He has exhibited at Universidad Veracruzana, and other galleries in Mexico, Italy, and the United States. Based in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, he uses photography as a tool for trying to understand daily life. He believes that photography can investigate truths in a way no other medium can. 


Related Links

Yorgos Yatromanolakis – The Splitting of the Chrysalis & the Slow Unfolding of the Wings

Yorgos Yatromanolakis

The Splitting of the Chrysalis & the Slow Unfolding of the Wings


‘The Splitting of the Chrysalis & the Slow Unfolding of the Wings’ arose from my unforeseen return to my homeland and my residence there for four years. Isolated in the countryside of the island, I was constantly confronted with my traumatic past, my memories and myself.



Gradually, through wandering in nature, a conceivable field of action was created within me, an intermediate space full of transformative dynamics, a place of becoming. I surrendered to the fluidity of this space, to a paradoxical and cosmogenic ceremony. I was faced with the most enigmatic aspects of myself; I was searching for a new reality in which I would be able to exist. These photographs are part of a notebook, constructed through this experience, attempting to capture the cycle of an internal process of metamorphosis.




Short Bio

Yorgos Yatromanolakis lives and works between Athens and Crete. He works on long-term photography projects and turns them into books, experimenting with storytelling, materials and design. He has published three books, ‘Roadblock to Normality’ (2016), ‘Not provided’ (2016) and ‘The Splitting of the Chrysalis & the Slow Unfolding of the Wings’ (2018). He is co-founder of artist- run space ‘Zoetrope’, in Athens.


Related Links


M.H. Frøslev – Unsettled City

M.H. Frøslev

Unsettled City


Unsettled City is a journey of a human in a metropolis. It portrays despair and love in a place where life at times can be very uncertain.


The book is a personal depiction of a claustrophobic environment with the cityscape as framework, captured in the cities of Saint Petersburg and Moscow over the last ten years. Through ninety-five photographs in contrast monochromes and dusty colours the book unfolds the night as a motif. Here we meet bulldogs, street fights and abandoned roads alongside loving glances, intimate moments and faded buildings, all quietly standing still, waiting for the night to die down and the light to rise again. Through disquieting atmospheres and raw sensitivity Unsettled City shows us how the people of the night alternately love and fear both the city and each other. With this book M.H. Frøslev portrays feelings of alienation, inequality and pain on a par with love, intimacy and fascination.



“As a narrator, I am looking for a place I can relate to and that moves me. These photographs are based on my own life and relations. The book is my encounter with the metropolis, but it is also a rediscovery of myself, and an examination of the feelings and relations that are associated with being connected to another person, a time and a place. I photograph my longing, my presence, my love and my fears. I photograph because it helps me understand my feelings. For me Unsettled City is about people finding love in the dark streets of a metropolis, where the night will either save or destroy you.” – M.H. Frøslev




Short Bio

Born 1988 in Copenhagen, Denmark. M.H. Frøslev worked in 2008 as photographic assistant for Danish Magnum photographer Jacob Aue Sobol in Copenhagen but moved initially in 2010 to Moscow and later to Saint Petersburg where he started the project Unsettled City. His infatuation with making pictures is what led M.H. Frøslev to explore the silent and haunting experience of walking after dark in the streets of Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Here he developed his photographic sense and his intimate relationship with the Russian cities.


Related Links


Kaja Rata – Kajnikaj

Kaja Rata


[ EPF 2017 – SHORT LIST ]

Sometimes it seems to me that everything is going to collapse. The houses, grey from soot, and the broken pavements will fall on the mine corridors below. I live in a small town in Silesia, and at some point there might have been something interesting going on here, but it was so long ago, that it is long since buried in memory. It is neither pretty nor ugly. There is no heritage of previous generations, not even any hint of flair in the current ones. If not for the dead mine shafts protruding from below, my town might be located anywhere. Or perhaps here and there.


“Here and there” is “gdzieniegdzie” in Polish. But it also has its equivalent in the Silesian dialect – “kajnikaj.” If we use the latter, my place will become less “here and there.” This is an obvious form of taming the reality, allowing us to build upon it and create a mythology of sorts.

When I look at the sky over the decaying town, and when I build rickety contraptions I am trying to find means to escape from the place I was born and raised, even though I know that it is a futile attempt.



Short Bio

Kaja Rata was born in 1987 in Myslowice, Poland. She is a Polish photographer based in Silesia district. She graduated with a BA in Photography from University of Arts in Poznan, Poland. Before this time, she was studying Polish literature at Silesian University. In 2016, she finished Sputnik Mentorship Programme in Warsaw, where she started her actual project “Kajnikaj.” In her work, she is trying to balance between reality and documental fiction.


Related Links



The Emerging Photographer Fund is supported by generous donors to the Magnum Foundation

Magnum Foundation