Ulrika Kestere is a 23-year-old photographer from Lund, Sweden, whose passion for photography began at age 12 when she picked up the digital camera her father brought home, is inspired by the works of William Wegman, Tim Walker, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Robin Schwarts and Paolo Roversi. Eschewing the candid, photojournalistic style practiced by many of her contemporaries at the moment, Ulrika is following in the footsteps of her influencers and creative composed and dramatic portraits and landscapes that are drenched in an icy distance, as though to keep the viewer at arm’s length. Expressions seem worried and mountains seem all the more treacherous when captured with her lens.
But of course there is a beauty in this distance. Many of Ulrika’s most striking images are presented, not alone, but rather as part of a pair. She explained to us that this desire to compare and contrast her work with itself affects herself as much as it does us. “It’s amazing how two pictures next to each other, often portrait and nature, can bring out different moods from each other. I start with a portrait and then I look through my nature/location photos to see if I have something that would match with the picture. And often I find something that just makes the portrait pop beautifully—that simple picture will say something about the person on the portrait paired up with it.”
Ulrika began making a serious dent in the art world recently when her series, Girl With 7 Horses was picked up by a number of prominent art blogs. “People have really fallen in love with the series and have been so kind expressing this to me,” she tells us of the reaction to the series, which began solely as a way to incorporate animals into her images despite not having access to any. “I shot the first horse photo in early autumn last year and on my way home the story about the girl and her seven horses just came to me.”
The story she refers to goes like this:
Once upon a time there was a girl who had seven invisible horses. People thought she was crazy and that she, in fact, had seven imaginary horses, but this was not the case. When autumn came, the girl spent a whole day washing all her clothes. She hung them on a string in her garden to let the gentle autumn sun dry them. Out of nowhere, a terrible storm came and its forceful winds grabbed a hold of all her clothes and all seven horses (since they are invisible they obviously didn’t weigh much). The girl was devastated and spent all autumn looking for each horse spread around the country, wrapped in her clothes.