The complexity of the human brain and the multiple states of mind of the subjects portrayed in Fryd Frydendahl’s photographs explored in the book Salad Days and the exhibition MAZE – Potential Archives at the Fotografisk Center in Copenhagen.

Fryd Frydendahl portrays friends, loved people, famous and unknown, exploring through their faces, the positions they assume and their emotions that pervade the moment, provoking in the photographer a sense of affinity and closeness. Her shots tell of the innocence and chaos of young people, reading in their eyes the complex personalities that accompany them in the best years of their lives. Fryd does not identify his work as documentary because the reality told in his photographs is slightly distorted and twisted from his character and her identity, which are both integral parts of the image. Salad Days, published by Marrow Press, collects 150 portraits taken by Frydendahl between 2012 and 2022, which investigate her artistic, experimental realm while also considering the more commercial side of the project, blurring the boundaries between them resulting in a book that reveals the photographer’s progress and through the portraits of others her personal profile is outlined.

“I’ve always used my practice as a way to deal with my own feelings.”

– Fryd Frydendahl

Salad Days, Fryd Frydendahl.

Fryd’s shots break the mold by detaching himself completely from classic portrait photography, showing his ability to create a path for the viewer to a world where social and cultural differences do not exist, where aesthetic diversity is a virtue, discovering a pure space where different themes are encountered including that of pain, loneliness, identification, friendship and family: each of these is addressed by always showing the thousand facets that belong to us, depending on the subject and according to what he wants to show of himself. The photographer’s approach is intuitive and careful, placing the relationship between her and the person portrayed at the forefront, which initiates a series of links between them, the image and the viewer. Frydendahl brings family and friends into her projects by amplifying the sensitivity that characterizes her work and developing an immersive visual narrative. The shots express vulnerability, innocence, enthusiasm, purity, and embarrassment: the book’s title refers to the time when a person peaks, thus showing the different emotions at different moments in life; usually the climax is caught during adolescence, but for some it occurs earlier and for others much later. Salad Days deals with the complex difficulty that pervades a person of not knowing everything yet, regardless of age, showing him more sensitive side and his doubts about the person as a human being. Fryd Frydendahl moves with mastery in the borderlands between art and photography by developing shots that break down the limits between documentary and reality, exploring what portraiture is, what it can do and represent.

Salad Days, Fryd Frydendahl.
Salad Days, Fryd Frydendahl.

“All her images exude a sincerity and freedom that has made her work so pervasive. She takes this idealism with her into every new collaboration, and because of that her Salad Days are far from over.”

– Elizabeth Renstrom

Fryd Frydendahl’s approach to photography is also explored through the exhibition at the Fotografisk Center in Copenhagen: MAZE – Potential Archives tells of the works as visual references that investigate and pay homage to the complex systems found in archives and collections, including shots in which the photographer interprets books from the Hillerød Library in relation to the Lanerkort exhibition at Vandrehallen Kunsthal. Fryd again demonstrates a strong fascination with human tendencies and a driven curiosity for the emotions and moods of the people she encounters that result in an explosion of references and questions. In the account The Library of Babel, Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges describes a fictitious, infinite library where everything that can be written has already been written down, emphasizing, however, that contrary to how it seems, infinity is a purely potential greatness that will never be reached. Fryd explores this principle, making photographs that lead the viewer toward the exploration of circularity and the idea of originality, asking multiple questions. “How can something original be born in an inhibited network of references? And how can references arise in a finite archive of information?” 


The word “maze”, the title of the exhibition, proves to be fundamental from the moment the exhibition space is transformed into a labyrinth composed of three layers according to the classification of the works: the first is a factual level, the second a metaphysical one and the third a fictitious one. The exhibition analyzes human fascination, the moods that characterize the subjects and the need to organize the incomprehensible to contribute to the store of memories and knowledge. The different subdivisions of the archives into indexes and categories and the classification systems appear complex and cryptic, just like a human mind, which often and often has all the shape of a labyrinth where one never actually gets lost. Through the book and the exhibition one gets an almost complete view of the artist, understanding much about her and her relationship with photography that goes beyond the possible, reaching even to the portrayed subject and the viewer. The shots mirror her feelings through which she manages to bring order to the jumbled collection of thoughts and endless questions. Salad Days for her seem to never end, always transporting her emotions to the fullest to explore the power of portraiture and its representation.



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Cover Salad Days, Fryd Frydendahl.


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