It is difficult to photograph those we love. There are issues of depiction, loyalty, and authorship at play, and the complexities of those relationships are on display while constantly in flux. These primary relationships, however, can serve as a means of exploring and processing the various traumas that happen as we grow up.
The series ‘Nephews’, by photographer Fryd Frydendahl, speaks to that particular kind of artistic and personal maturation that occurs in the face of a life-altering incident. ‘Nephews’ is an ongoing collaboration between the artist and the two young boys her sister left behind upon passing. Fryd is neither mother nor sister nor aunt to the boys – the relationship is something else entirely that has no common name. Respectful, devoted, and affectionate, she has precociously explored the intricacies of this multi-generational and multi-voiced relationship in a creative way that speaks to her instincts both as a nurturer and as a photographer. Fryd began photographing the boys because she missed her sister, she says, and because she ‘needed to establish some way of keeping her close’. Over the years the project has become a collaboration, and what started as a ‘somewhat selfish need to fulfill (her own) void has turned into a communication across geographic and emotional barriers’ while turning into a ‘document of time and a family story about growing up and doing it together’. In collaborating, the three of them have renegotiated a tragedy that could have very easily set them all adrift. They chose each other, instead. The images speak for themselves, and the work is overwhelmingly generous of heart.
In collaboration with her long-term friend Halfdan Pisket, Fryd just launched a book called ‘Vinter’ (winter) exploring their mutual friendship.