postcards - emilia bergmark-jiménez' stockholm

Emilia Bergmark-Jiménez was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden's vibrant capital city, so we figured she'd be a pretty knowledgeable guide for this month's Postcards feature. We asked her to take us around her hometown, and show us all the ins and outs that make it oh-so special.

As a photographer, she's also pretty handy with a camera, and you can see more of her lovely snaps on her blog or website.


Firstly, please tell us a little bit about the neighbourhood you live in.

I live in the south part of town, on Södermalm. If you'd come and see us - my boyfriend, my dog and myself - you would take the red line train to our stop, called Hornstull. At our stop you can shop in the hideous new mall, eat hamburgers, tacos and dumplings, have beer and drinks right around the corner and walk or bike by the water all the way around town. The walk by the water is my absolute favourite part of my city. A stroll in the morning with my dog, coffee in my hand, meeting a lot of nice people and adorable dogs.

What kind of house/apartment do you live in? Is it typical of the architecture in that area?
I live with my boyfriend and our dog in a really beautiful classic "funkis" apartment, which means good planning, a lot of light, big windows and even if the apartment is really small (one room and kitchen) it feels bigger. We also have a beautiful balcony with a view over the water.


What kind of stereotype has Stockholm earned, and how is it different to what people expect?
Oh that question is so hard! In a way I think all the stereotype things you hear about Stockholm are true, but in another way not, because they change once you know your way around and make some Swedish friends.... Stockholm is cold, expensive, high maintenance and stiff in some ways, but is also so, SO beautiful, fun, up-to-date and easy like Sunday morning...

How is your city changing?
Right now it is changing a lot, both socially and physically. We have bigger and bigger social problems in Stockholm, more and more people are losing their jobs, their homes, segregation is spreading out, people and different parts of town get more and more apart. You see a lot of homeless people begging on the streets and there is also a huge housing problem, with really expensive apartments and increasingly high rents. Right now there are also a couple of major building projects going on in the city, where they are building a new tunnel under Stockholm for cars and trains, changing the car routes around the edges of the city and building a new hospital that is going to be the largest in Stockholm.

But there are positive changes too: in my area more and more people seem to be getting into the food business, opening up small places like cafés and ice cream bars. In some way I feel that people are getting a bit more conscious about the problems that are going on around them. Also the city is growing and spreading out and parts that were considered outside the city are now a part of the city's core.


What album do you think would be the best soundtrack for walking around?
If you would come for a walk with me and my baby dog, it's probably Mama Cass - Make Your Own Kind of Music.

What is the local creative community like? Are there predominant local crafts?
The city of Stockholm just permitted food trucks, so I guess that must be it. There's a market every Sunday close to my house at a place called Hornstull Strand, where you can find a typical Swedish "loppis" (secondhand stuff from someone's home like porcelain figures and clothes) and trucks trucks trucks.


How does your city change with the seasons? How has this influenced your work?
The change of Stockholm with the seasons is almost too big to write about. It's something that has to be experienced by living here. How a city that is so absolutely beautiful and just vibrating with good stuff in the summer can be so totally horrible in wintertime just can't be described in words.

It affects and influences my work completely, since I am a photographer and work mostly with daylight. My busiest time is always from May to June and from August to October. In July all of Sweden just shuts down and everyone goes away on vacation trying to make the most of a very short but oh so sweet summer.


Tell us about the spaces and places you have photographed for us.
If you could come on Sunday to visit me I'd make you coffee at my house and show you my view and my plants. I'd take you biking around town – it's the best way to get around Stockholm, in all seasons except winter. I'd take you biking to my studio; it's in a big warehouse close to where I live. There is a beautiful art space there that always shows something interesting.

Then I'd take you for lunch and afternoon drinks at my best friend's house to meet her Cat Ullman (ull means wool in Swedish). After that we'd probably be a bit tipsy, her husband makes great drinks and Ullman always wants to make an extra toast.

When the sun starts to set (which is quite late in the summer time) we'd go swimming on Lilla Essingen and I'd show you one of my favourite views of town. Don't be what we call a "badkruka" (afraid to get in the water) because even if the water is quite cold it is one of the best feelings. Then we'd go to Urban Deli on Nytorget, have a seafood plate and pink champagne, and be broke but really happy!


Where is the best place to have a picnic?
There are so many places. Of course it has to be summertime, winter picnicking is best in the northern parts of Sweden where you have northern lights and glittering snow. But in summer in the city I'd say Reimersholme or Långholmen, two little islands in the south part of town where you can sit on the grass and then go have a swim in the city lake.

Where is the best place to see a gig?
The Royal Opera or Södra Teatern. The first for classical music and spectacular surroundings and the latter for booking some of my favorite artists, like Anna von Hausswolf and First Aid Kit. There's also a beautiful balcony with a view over Stockholm where you can have drinks afterwards.


Where is the best place to get a drink?
See above or my best friend's living room - her husband makes some mean martinis.

Where is the best place to buy a vintage dress?
At my great friend and endlessly talented designer Minna Palmqvist's studio you can buy a beautiful design piece off the racks and get something unique that will fit you perfectly.


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