Sweden’s largest photo contest set for spring

One of Sweden's oldest and most prestigious photo contests is returning in March, showcasing talent from around the nation - and more women than ever before.

Sweden's largest photo contest set for spring
Photographer Paul Hansen scored a second prize in the News Photo (International) category for this image. Photo: Paul Hansen/Årets Bild
The winners will be showcased at the 73rd edition of the national photo contest, Årets Bild, at the Fotografiska museum in Stockholm on March 14th, with the exhibition scheduled to go on national tour following the preliminary capital show.
The exhibition brings together snaps by some of the country's top talents in professional journalism – from photojournalists, to local reporters, to foreign correspondents.
The competition, first launched in 1942, is open mainly to members of Sweden's Press Photographers' Club.
Over 4,000 photos were submitted in 2014 for this year's prize, with first, second and third place prizes awarded in seven separate categories, including Portrait, News Photo (International), News Photo (Sweden) and Everyday Life (International) and Everyday Life (Sweden), Sport and an Open Class category.
Mother cradles her newborn, delivered just two hours after her first contraction. Photo: Moa Karlberg/Årets Bild
Winners in some of the categories were announced earlier this week – a first for the photo contest. 
Also a first for 2015 is the number of submissions from women – and the number of female winners.
Eleven out of the 21 winners are women.
"It's something I'm extremely pleased to see," Mia Karlsvärd, chairman of the non-profit trade association for photographers and photojournalists, which oversees the competition told The Local.
"I have waited for this moment year after year – to see as many women winners as men. This year is extremely different than previous years in that regard." 
Out of the 299 hopeful photographers who sent in submissions, close to three quarters were men, with 85 women participating this year – but this still represents a hike from previous years.

Karlsvärd added that other parts of Scandinavia have been observing a similar trend this year.
"Hopefully this is a trend that will continue, but we can't be sure."
Female winners include freelance photographer Moa Karlberg who scooped first prize in the Everyday Life (Sweden) category. Winners in this category in particular have generally been dominated by men, noted Karlsvärd.
The winning photo depicts a woman cradling her newborn in the back seat of a car – moments after the delivery occurred on March 23rd 2014.
"The idea was that I would document her birth and she had called me when she started feeling contractions so I got to the hospital before her," the winning photographer told Swedish broadcaster SVT. 
"As soon as she arrived, I went out and took this picture."
Also grabbing a first prize is Dagens Nyheter photographer Beatrice Lundborg, in the Open Class category, for her natural-light-infused shot of a young Russian boy hanging laundry.

Lundborg's image, captured in Vladimir, Russia. Photo: Beatrice Lundborg/Årets Bild


Stockholm’s giant penis mural to be covered up after complaints

A giant blue penis painted on a Stockholm apartment building is to be covered up after just one week, the company which owns the building has said.

Stockholm's giant penis mural to be covered up after complaints
The penis was painted in blue with a yellow background, perhaps reflecting Sweden's national colours. Photo: Photo: Hugo Röjgård/Graffitifrämjandet
Atrium Ljungberg said it had come to the decision after receiving a barrage of complaints about the five-story high depiction of a bulging erection.  
“Of course we care about artistic freedom, but at the same time we must respect the opinion of our closest neighbours,” Camilla Klint, the company's marketing head, said in a statement. 
“By letting it remain for a short period, we are offering anyone who's interested a chance to experience the work.” 
The company said that it had been given no prior warning that a giant penis was about to appear on one of its blocks. 
“On Wednesday morning, April 11th, we saw  Kollektivet Livet's new work for the first time, at exactly the same moment as all the other people who live on Kungsholmen did,” it said in its statement.  
Under their arrangement, the artist collective had total artistic freedom over the works it commissioned for the wall, at Kronobergsgatan 35 on the central Stockholm island of Kungsholmen.  
The decision will come as a disappointment to the artist Carolina Falkholt. Her first giant penis painting, which she plastered on a wall in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in December, lasted only a few days. 
She said on Wednesday that she expected her native Swedes to be more receptive. 
Atrium Ljungberg did acknowledge that many appreciated the painting. 
“Some people are positive about the work and see it as playing an important part in the debate around sexuality, the body and gender,” the company wrote.
“Others, particularly neighbours, have received the work less well, and experience it as offensive.”