A Constructive Scandal

Finally, after working on it for the better part of a year, I can hang this on my wall:

On the cover: Anna Utter, forest machine operator. Graphic design: Johan Dahlin, Baringo.

NYKS’ Equality Calendar 2022. For which I’ve had the honor to take the portraits and do the interviews, traveling to some of the most beautiful (and in some cases most horsefly- or mosquito-infested) workplaces in Sweden.

If you’re not familiar with NYKS, it stands for The Network for Working Women and Non-binary People in the Forest Industry. And if you don’t know the backstory about why this calendar was made, prepare yourself to hear an inspiring story about doing something constructive out of a scandal. (Interspersed with action shots and power portraits from the calendar.)

Lisa Göransson, timbertruck driver from Jämtland, and Elsa. »When there’s something you don’t think you will manage and then you solve the situation completely yourself – that’s such a boost.«
Cissi Svennblad, student at Ösby agricultural high-school. »After school, I will probably be an entrepreneur, as a harvester or forwarder driver. Then I want to study to become a forester in Umeå, because I want to be able to both be out in the woods a lot and plan for its future.«

Two years ago, it came to public attention (thanks to members of NYKS) that the Finnish forest machine manufacturer Ponsse for years had bestowed their customers with a calendar, produced by a German subcontractor, in which scantily clad models posed on top their forest machines.

The Swedish Forest Agency and several of the largest forest companies in Sweden agreed with NYKS’ criticism and put their foot down against Ponsse, who – despite many laugh-crying and boiling angry faces from men in comment sections – decided that it was time to leave the calendar-making business.

The story could have ended there. With a “what ?? do we live in the 1970s?” at the sight of the calendar, to an “okay, no, maybe it actually is 2020” when the forest industry condemned it. But NYKS was looking ahead.

Kari Hyll, researcher in measurement technology at Skogforsk. »I am a trained astronomer, but got the urge to do something more applied. Many of the techniques we use to measure planets and galaxies can also be used to measure forests and timber.«
Ylva and Mathilda Clausén Wingård, two generations of arborists working at Arborist Ylva in Halland.
Mathilda: »We must be able to trust each other one hundred percent. Because when you work with tree felling on the ground and a dangerous situation arises, you can go to the side, but you can’t do that up in a tree.«
Ylva: »We have worked together so much that I know what’s happening just listening to my mom’s breathing.«

It was Erika Alm, sustainability specialist at Stora Enso Skog and a member of NYKS, who called Ponsse Sweden’s CEO Carl-Henrik Hammar with an offer: to sponsor the creation of a more modern calendar.

Ponsse said yes without hesitation. As did I, when I was asked to take the pictures for it. I had seen the headlines about the scandal calendar and was very inspired when I heard about the new chapter in the story. That a company that “actually was involved in causing some of the challenges we work with today” – as Carl-Henrik Hammar puts it in his blurb in the calendar – takes the chance to turn things around and do something that could actually contribute to making the forest a more equal and inclusive place to work at.

Gunilla Arnesson, scarification driver from Blekinge. »When I started working in the forest, few people believed in me. But I’m still here, 14 years later. Same industry. I know what I can do, and I’m good at it.«

Hanna Flink, production and timber manager at Skogssällskapet. »The forest industry is not evolving fast enough. And that’s because people in it would rather hire people they’re comfortable with than those who are open and dare to question things.« (Hanna is flanked by Johan, August, Nomi and Saffron. I’ll let you guess who’s who.)

The greatest praise, however, should of course go to NYKS, who hatched such a brilliant idea. To make a new calendar and replace the stereotypes with portraits of 12 super-competent women and non-binary people who work in the forest for real every day, and perhaps succeed in inspiring more people to find their calling in the forest. You can’t be what you can’t see.

Anna Utter: »When I drive a forestry machine, I am one with the machine. It’s me. Like when you pick something up with your hand, that is what it feels like to me when I use the unit. I sense exactly what it will do.«

Thank you Erika Alm, Anna Schyman, Erica Björndotter, Emma Strandberg and Malin Eriksson at NYKS, for incredibly fun project group meetings and photo discussions. Thank you Ponsse, for saying yes to everything and giving us free hands. And a warm thank you to all the participants in the calendar, for the great conversations and for allowing me to intern with you (and your dogs).

By |2022-05-30T21:08:48+02:003 December, 2021|Okategoriserade|0 Comments

Swedish Gender Photographer Spends One Week Consuming Estonian Media

Do women and men bathe in hot tubs differently? Why is Dad not needed on the family photo? What is the Estonian equivalent of a Swedish Local Newspaper Disappointment™? And is it possible for an image to undermine a thousand words? These are some of the questions I had to sort out when the Estonian independent feminist publication Feministeerium invited me to review Estonian news magazines. Click here or on the image below to read the results.

By |2022-06-13T09:16:06+02:0030 November, 2021|Okategoriserade|0 Comments

Images that change the world (literally speaking)

When the City of Gävle and I released our guide book and photo exhibition about gender-aware and inclusive communication in Swedish in 2016 we chose the name Images that change the world. Despite the ambitious delimitation “the world” I don’t think we ever actually thought that the project would leave Swedish borders.

Now the photo exhibition exists in a revised, updated form translated to Russian, Chinese, Spanish, English, German, Croatian, Latvian and Italian, and has with the help of the Swedish Institute and Swedish embassies around the world been shown (so far) in Shanghai, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, Zagreg, Riga, Rome and Mexico City.

Opening at Taikoo Hui Mall in Shanghai. In the thumbnail is the transgender guy Jazz and his little sister Bobbo, who says: you’re a boy, and you’re also my big sister.

If you want to take part of the guide book and photo exhibition in English it’s available in it’s entirety as a toolkit at the Swedish Institute’s resource site SharingSweden.se: Images that change the world.

Here are some workshop images from the world!

Images from workshops and exhibitions in Riga, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Shanghai and Mexico City.

In connection to mine and the Swedish institute’s revision and internationalization of the project a movie was also recorded about my work, for those who want to see me in action portraying a boss (the City of Gävle’s then communications director Johan Adolfsson) posing upside down in various beautiful sofas.

Mini-documentary about my work as the Gender Photographer produced by the Swedish Institute.

By |2022-06-13T09:14:11+02:0030 April, 2021|Okategoriserade|0 Comments

Youth. Identity. Diversity.

After working on a couple of photo projects that have taken me years to complete (Images That Change the World, Who Are They?), in January this year I was given the refreshing task of taking all the photos for a photo exhibition in one day.

”Youth. Identity. Diversity.” is a photo exhibition consisting of my pictures of 19 young people from the southern Norwegian city ​​of Kristiansand, taken at a school photography pace on January 17 at the Kristiansand public library, and interviews with the youth about their thoughts on norms, ideals and prejudices tied to gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

So far it is unclear if the exhibition will get border-crossing legs, so I thought I would publish some of the pictures here.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Kristiansand public library, Skeiv Ungdom, Senter for likestilling and me.

Victor and Håkon

When Victor and Håkon entered the art hall, I thought: these sporty, popular guys probably won’t want to take too non-macho pictures.

I was completely wrong. Victor and Håkon was enthusiastic about the 19th century photos I showed during my workshops of men who, at that time, had an untroubled relationship with physical proximity and to expressing their love for their friends in pictures (I wrote about it in my blog post Men’s thighs were more used before). I don’t think I could be more satisfied with the result in the photo above, which I think has zero distancing backslapping-vibe.

In itself a bit of “masculine” behavior by Victor and Håkon; how competitively they tried to outdo their 19th century BFF soulmates … in cuteness!


A #womanspread by Line. Inspo for you who will take a seat in public transport or a TV sofa soon.


“I don’t like to smile in the picture,” Motaz said in his interview. That’s why we screened away a whole bunch of pictures where Motaz laughed and smiled at the picture. But this corner of the mouth-smile passed!

Izabella and Amalie

Izabella and Amalie had their posing idea ready when entering the room. Convenient when others do your job for you!

Abdallah, Hussein och Waad

I took a lot of pictures of Abdallah, Hussein and Waad as they stood and looked like this and looked into the camera, but I thought this – when they didn’t – became the most intimate. When they focus completely on each other. 


Henrik. Sophisticated and overdressed. I like the combination of the ‘come at me bro’ pose, which, according to Henrik, was ironic, and the semicolon tattoo.

Teodor, Neisse and Nada

This gang. Theodor, Neisse and Nada. Came in and owned the Art Hall. I almost too many good pictures of them. It was hard not to capture their infectious energy and fantastic charisma.


The hands in my pockets were my idea. Nelle’s confident look came with her into the room.

Camilla and Tine / Victoria

Camilla and Tine – demonstrating that no stoneface is needed to radiate authority. And Victoria – who demonstrates that a stoneface always works.


Hanna, who is non-binary. With the upper image we tried to get a masculine expression with the help of movement and lines. I asked them to walk a lap in the room, stop at the same spot and say “GO AWAY” to the camera. A simple trick for a masculine, cheeky look.

The lower picture was actually also thought of as a masculine pose first. Hanna had to pull her hand through the hair reminiscent of a sulky James Dean. But just in this frame I happened to capture Hanna’s hand as it left their hair, and got this softer and gender–norm/body language-wise more ambiguous and interesting image, which also became one of Hanna’s favorites.


For the interview that was done with Aman after the photo shoot, he was asked if he got to pose in any way than he usually doesn’t in photos.

“Yes, I got to sit with my leg up and things like that. Like a boss, right?”

Comfortably sitting with leg folded in the lap like a boss. Warmy smiling with his head tilted to the side, like a boss. (If it happened to be a woman.)

Youth. Identity. Diversity. will be touring in southern Norway (Agder), then the rest of Norway, then maybe in the rest of Scandinavia. The photo exhibition’s itinerary can be followed via Kristiansand Folkebibliotek’s facebook.

By |2022-05-18T10:19:29+02:0014 March, 2018|Okategoriserade|0 Comments
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