Barbara Marstrand

Photo: Carsten Pedersen

In the exhibition Teenage Dreams, you can experience the photo project Still Life of Teenagers by sociologist and photographer Barbara Marstrand, presenting snapshots from contemporary teenage bedrooms.

In Marstrand’s photo project, often overlooked or inaccessible parts of everyday life as experienced by Danish youth today are captured. Clothing, appliances, and everyday clutter fill the inventory of the photographs with traces and narratives from the lives unfolding in and around the rooms. Behind these often closed doors lie important testimonies about the daily lives, preferences, and values of contemporary youth. With her visual portrayal of colorful and quirky details, Marstrand encourages an open and curious approach to the world around us, inviting the viewer to explore a variety of teenage universes.

In the exhibition Teenage Dreams, you can experience a special selection of Barbara Marstrand’s photos.

4 Questions

What is the inspiration behind the photos?

»Before starting the photo project, I had written a thesis in sociology about young people’s relationships with the residential areas where they grew up. In that process, I became intrigued by sociologist Hartmut Rosa’s theory of resonance, which provided me with a way to reflect on and rethink our relationship with the world around us. At the same time, I was fascinated by photography of everyday subjects, especially objects, and by a colorful and immediate aesthetic. The teenage bedroom caught my interest as it represents an oasis with its own logics and can provide a materially grounded insight into the youth lives unfolding in and around it. We rarely get insights into these rooms, which turn out to be rich in information.«

What should you take away from a visit to the exhibition Teenage Dreams?

»I aim to offer an approach to portraying people and culture that focuses on surroundings and traces of life rather than individuals. Additionally, I hope to provide a glimpse into youth life that can hopefully foster empathy and, in turn, recognition of young people’s right to exist in the world on their own terms. I hope to inspire a curious and open approach to the world around us, including people and objects that are different from ourselves and our own preferences.«

How do your photos point towards the future, and what trends are they connected to?

»The photo series can be seen as a snapshot in time, both in relation to a specific phase in life, but also in relation to the contemporary society we live in. The photos depict the lives of Danish youth today, while also drawing connections to past teenage bedrooms and hinting at elements that could find a place in the future. It’s important for me to emphasize that the photos are created from my aesthetic perspective and therefore cannot be seen as representative of an entire generation.«

What do you think teenagers need in their own space?

»I believe teenagers need the freedom to choose what goes in their rooms, so it supports their hobbies, interests, and preferences.«

Photo: Carsten Pedersen

Who is Barbara Marstrand?

Barbara Marstrand (b. 1994) is a photographer and holds a degree in sociology from the University of Copenhagen. She is dedicated to examining and highlighting groups, phenomena, and objects that are rarely portrayed but reveal something unique about our culture and the times we live in.

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