Trine Søndergaard - Now that you are mine

Photo © Trine Søndergaard

Photo © Trine Søndergaard

NOW THAT YOU ARE MINE is a series of photographs taken between 1997-2000 by the Danish artist Trine Søndergaard, photographs of prostitutes on the streets where she used to live in the red-light district of Copenhagen.

Ethical considerations have always been an integral part of Søndergaard’s documentary works: works in which the investigation of the exchange of human contact – also between the photographer and photographed - merges with the artistic drive to transgress the boundaries of the private sphere. By choosing to work with a conspicuous flash and in colour in the late ‘90s, Søndergaard shattered the traditional narrative codes of documentary photography in a conscious challenge to aestheticised and distanced black and white ‘reality’ .

Photo © Trine Søndergaard

Photo © Trine Søndergaard

Søndergaard goes beyond the walls of the private sphere, following the women and their customers from the streets behind closed doors, but denies the very possibility of being a ‘fly on the wall’. Released from these conventions, Søndergaard’s work embodies and explores the dualities of her own role as an artist, but also as a woman.

The artist was personally and daily subjected to harassment by male customers on the street where she lived. Her own subjection to this male gaze marked the beginning of the project. She realised that she was not ‘seen’. That she existed only as a projected fantasy of a woman for the male customer. It is this fantasy her work ruthlessly exposes, a sexual fantasy in harsh contrast to the reality of infected needle sores and bruised skin.

Photo © Trine Søndergaard

Photo © Trine Søndergaard

During the development of the project an artistic exploration and experimentation emerged. Some of the images are in gaudy, bright colours, others in muted, pale tones. Late in the project she often eliminated the women who were her original subject from the final work, choosing a compelling minimalism focussing on details not immediately associated with the harsh realities and tired stereotypes of prostitution. This is the artist’s representation of a reality temporarily shared - but as she consciously and visually acknowledges - never lived. A central acknowledgement in Søndergaard’s uniquely respectful and moving portrayal of life on the streets and behind closed doors.

The series gave Trine Søndergaard her international breakthrough, and today she is an indisputably central figure in a new generation of art photographers. In 2000 she won the prestigious German Albert Renger-Patzsch Award dedicated to publishing monographs that do justice to the visual ambition and quality of the work of outstanding photographers. NOW THAT YOU ARE MINE was published by Steidl in 2002.

Text ©Finn Thrane, Museet for Fotokunst, Denmark
Rewritten in English by Jane Rowley

My words for Trine: Many thanks for sharing these photographs. "Now that you are mine" is among the strongest documentary work I have ever seen, it is truly excellent. Your commitment when sharing the every day life of these women, the passion in your images is something that has moved me deeply.

The book "Now that you are mine" is only available as a special edition (bookcase & 1 analog c-print, signed and numbered, edition of 50) They are sold Martin Asbæk Gallery

Trine SøndergaardBorn: 1972
Lives in: Denmark, Copenhagen
Latest exhibition: Musee Historique et des Porcelaines, Ville de Nyon, Switzerland. November 1, 2008 - March 29, 2009, groupshow, Søndergaard & Howalt./ Bornholm Art Museum, Grønningen, November 1, 2008 - January 18, 2009, groupshow, Søndergaard & Howalt./ O'Born Contemporary, Toronto, Canada November 22, 2008 - January 16,2009, groupshow
Coming, planned exhibition: 2009 Aros Aarhus Kunstmuseum, with Nicolai Howalt, Denmark, 2009 Martin Asbæk Gallery, solo, Copenhagen , Denamrk,
Film, digital or both: both


Anonymous said…
Brilliant ...strong !

Anonymous said…
This is really strong documentary pictures, brilliant work! And full of compassion.
Anonymous said…
this is a greatly developed project and your pictures are full of sensitiveness...
I like them a lot
Mikael said…
Some very strong and good photos!
Anonymous said…
great work..courageous and uncompromising. !!