“I have this urge to distort or glorify the mundane and unnoticeable,” says Malmö-based photographer Rickard Grönkvist, whose colour-drenched images are shown here. “Most of my photos are centred around an isolated subject: sceneries, places, living and dead objects.” Plastic bags get caught in barbed wire, basketball hoops cast silhouettes, tree trunks glow in the darkness.
This body of work spans illustration and graphic design, with many pieces united by a signature colour scheme: something Grönkvist sees as central to the creative process. “Pink and blue seems to be a recurring palette… I’m obsessed with this combination, and it’s something you can see in my illustrations as well. It most likely dates to my childhood in the 1980s, back when the graffiti scene was booming.”
But these shots aren’t only about bold aesthetics; Grönkvist is keen to convey a sense of emotion, too. Each photograph encourages us to pause and consider our surroundings. “There’s this fine line between joy and sentimentality,” the artist notes. “It usually comes across stronger once I pair images together. I create a narrative or antithesis between two objects that otherwise wouldn’t be paired.”
In this way, Grönkvist treads the line between real and unreal, reality and hyperreality. Everyday places are elevated and abstracted, transformed into mysterious, cinematic locations. The resulting scenes are defined by the strange and unusual: a series of rocks encircling a lamppost; unexplained light illuminating a tree trunk; highly saturated gradients following the setting sun.
Words: Eleanor Sutherland
All images courtesy Rickard Grönkvist.