Charlotta Hammar

2018 - Ongoing

Styrsö, Västra Götaland, Sweden

When I was a kid I had a strong longing for the catastrophe, which was also my biggest nightmare. Now I am a grown-up and I constantly wait for something bad to happen and want to be prepared.

My work (2018-ongoing) is consisting of concerns about an unstable world and suggestions on how to cope with living in this world in the age of the anthropocene. I base my research on everyday life affected by an on-going alarm saying that if we don’t stop now, there will be nothing left to save.

I photograph with a Rolleiflex camera from 1939, when the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had the estimated value of 311 ppmv. A hundred years before that the amount was 285 ppmv. The level of today is 411 ppmv and it’s increasing with a terrifying pace*. I’m not very optimistic about our future but this work gives me comfort somehow. When I am photographing, I feel that I connect with my environment in a different way and I see things I wouldn't have seen without my photographic gaze so to speak. All of a sudden I observe things in nature that looks surreal – a bending tree stem, a birch looking just like a dog – it's almost as if nature is trying to communicate with me. But what's the message?

The title is a phrase from the brochure “If War Or Crisis Comes” that was sent to every household in Sweden in 2018 by the government with the purpose to prepare the citizens how to act in a national emergency situation.

Questions on protection and existential threats, both literally and figuratively, lie in my interest such as how these eventual threats are communicated and managed in our society.

Photography as a therapeutic method is a way of mental prepping and gives me the feeling of taking action by tweaking reality into how I interpret the world. My imagery depicts a narrative where dream and reality is intertwined and it presents a mental state of uncertainty when it is more important than ever that you take responsibility. I am a mother of three daughters and the word "protect" has became even more loaded since I became a parent. How can I as a parent prepare my daughters to feel safe in a world that is scaring the hell out of me?

Every image in this work is shot on the little island I live on. The island works as a metaphor of isolation and vulnerability but could also be interpreted as the last safe space. To me, working locally where I live is also an environmentally-friendly statement and a protest against the conception that you have to travel to be able to tell a story.


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