återvändarna / the returners

Återvändarna / The Returners is a series of anthotype prints inspired by re-appropriated archival photographs of Swedish-American migrants taken between ca. 1850-1920 from Nordiska Museet archive, Västerbottensmuseum archive, and the Högsjö Hembyggdsförening archives.

 

The plant-based anthotype process invented by John Herschel in 1842 has been largely ignored for its inherent impermanence; its inability to remain fixed. This trait, once seen as a drawback, is re-envisioned in Återvändarna. The archival images are digitally captured and reworked before being exposed on hand-dyed paper for 2-6 weeks using sunlight. The emulsion itself is made from blueberries (often described as a native plant tied to the Swedish self-image) and Lupine flowers (often described as an “invasive species” brought to Sweden from North America ca. 1870). The process becomes a way to visualize the transience of the migrant experience and also raise questions about the impermanent nature of the human condition.