Award-winning documentary photographer Marie Hald from Copenhagen is the Young Nordic Photographer of the Year 2018. Paul Hansen will be her mentor. She will hold a solo exhibition at Fotografiska which will open on 31 May. “Among other things, it was Marie’s unique imagery with her melancholic and calm expression that captivated the jury. In a personal and intimate way she explores social problems and society’s impact on us in general and on women in particular.” As one of the world’s largest meeting places for photography, Fotografiska’s mission includes disseminating knowledge and experiences of photography’s infinite number of expressions and meanings. As part of this mission we have launched a new Major Documentary Photo Prize, which can be applied for by professional documentary photographers based in Sweden. Another part is our annual Young Nordic Photographer of the Year (YNP) grant, which is awarded to a young Nordic photographer.
This year’s winner, 30-year-old Danish documentary photographer Marie Hald, was selected by a renowned jury, comprising Akseli Valmunen, Zoe Christensen, Ingunn Strand, Sif Gunnarsdóttir and Johan Vikner. Of a possible score of 50 points, Marie Hald received 32, making her the 2018 Nordic Photographer of the Year. “Among other things, it was Marie’s unique imagery with her melancholic and calm expression that captivated the jury. In a personal and intimate way she explores social problems and society’s impact on us in general and on women in particular.” In 2013, Marie Hald received a World Press Photo award and the Danish Picture of the Year award. “I am very happy, surprised and excited about the prize. The Fotografiska Young Nordic Photographer of the Year award is a great opportunity for young photographers in the Nordic region and, of course, a tremendous honour. It is all very exciting. I realise that this wonderful grant will make the year a very busy one as I will hold a solo exhibition at Fotografiska, which will open this spring. It will also be a thrilling experience to have Paul Hansen as my mentor. Imagine, an entirely new person to learn from and be inspired by,” says a very enthusiastic Marie Hald, who works as a freelance documentary photographer and is based in Copenhagen.
Marie Hald applied with a photographic series documenting the daily life of a Copenhagen mother of three who works in the sex industry. “As a photographer I am driven by stories that fascinate me and arouse my curiosity. I often try and get close to people and contexts. I like to have as few filters as possible between myself and the real world, and even if I were not a photographer I would want to be involved in these areas. With the powerful tool that the camera is, I have the opportunity to highlight important issues and influence people. Possessing this power is a gift, and I am very much looking forward to putting it to good use in my exhibition at Fotografiska.” This approach to working with photography is shared by her new mentor, award-winning photographer Paul Hansen.
”Marie Hald is not in need of a mentor. Her narratives revolve around subjects focused on vulnerability. She creates intimate portraits of people, who grant her access to their lives. She has a sharp eye that is never cold. Regardless of the subject, she never deprives people of their dignity or reduces them to visual clichés. As newly appointed mentor to Marie Hald, I would like to start by saying that Marie Hald does not need a mentor. Not in the traditional sense of being a counsellor or, for that matter, a guide. Having said that, it is an honour to be able to be some kind of conversation partner on her future journey.”
Bringing these two photographers together is a great source of joy for Fotografiska. “For us at Fotografiska who live with the motto ‘To inspire a more conscious world’, it is even more gratifying when the Young Nordic Photographer of the Year shares our driving force. We are very much looking forward to curating Marie Hald’s exhibition,” says Johan Vikner, Exhibition Manager at Fotografiska.
Facts: Marie Hald Age: Born in 1987 in Aalborg. Long-time resident of Copenhagen.
Profession: Freelance documentary photographer for the Moment Agency.
Education: Attended the Danish School of Media and Journalism and ICP in New York.