Tell us a little bit about you; who you are and what you do
My name is Celine Lundqvist. I am a 23 year old Swede who’s been living in Edinburgh for the last four years. I just graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a Bachelor Honours in Arts, Photography, I’ve recently signed the contract as a Photography Trainee for a luxury resale shop in London, so I’m just about to move down there, and start this new chapter of my life. It feels incredibly scary, and kind of sad in a way, to leave my life in Scotland behind. But at the same time I’m excited for what lays ahead of me.

At what point in your life did you know you wanted to pursue a career as a photographer? Do you remember a pivotal moment?
I grew up with my dad and my grandfather being very enthusiastic hobby photographers. My dad was always taking pictures and my grandfather would show me pictures he took in his youth. That definitely shaped me growing up, and I have always had a big fascination with how you can capture any moment, big or small, in photographs. 
The first pictures I remember taking were off my Barbie dolls lined up on the living room table, dressed in their best dresses for the occasion, I couldn't have been very old when I took those. 
Photography has just been something I have always been passionate about, so I think everyone around me assumed that was what I was going to grow up to do, so for me I feel like there has never been any other option. Photography is what I do. 
You recently completed a project called ’WOMEN’, can you tell us more about this?
WOMEN was created as my final bachelor’s project for my studies at Napier. This was a project that I started in September 2020. Initially my plan was just to create some sort of fashion magazine, however after the summer of 2020 when Black Lives Matter kind of took over the world it felt very weird for me to create a fashion project without addressing the injustices of representation and diversity in the fashion industry as they’ve been stuck in my mind all summer. It was an issue I found myself being very upset over. So my first idea was to create a magazine where I kind of presented facts about the lack of diversity in the fashion industry through using a diverse range of models. I wanted it to really address the industry broadly, questioning why there is only one body presented, one length, one cultural background, one age-group etc etc. However as time went on I started to feel like I spoke FOR the models I included in the magazine. And as a white woman who suits the ideal in many ways, I felt like it was a big overstep of me. So instead I started to interview my models and asked them about their experience with the industry as a whole. And the result of it was great, I got to hear about so many different opinions and views about the industry, and I loved that the models themselves kind of shaped the project to become what it was. In the end all of the 22 models who participated agreed on one thing: We need to see more diversity in the fashion industry, in all of its forms. 

After the summer of 2020, when Black Lives Matter kind of took over the world it felt very weird for me to create a fashion project without addressing the injustices of representation and diversity in the fashion industry

What inspired the project? Is this something you have wanted to address for a while?
The lack of diversity in any form in the fashion industry is something I have always been very aware of. As a young girl it really did affect me a lot and because of the pressure the media put on us women almost led me into an eating disorder. And for a long while I tortured myself every day with how much I hated my looks. I was so different from these perfect bodies you saw on the front pages of the magazines. I was not tall enough, my face was not pretty enough and I was not thin enough.
But the summer of 2020 with the BLM movement being in the center of every topic I also realized my privilege. Because even though there were so many differences in between me and these models I could still relate to them in some way, even if it was just in the texture of their hair or the color of their skin, many people have never seen anyone remotely similar to themselves on the covers of the fashion magazines we see here in Western Europe, and I wanted to change that.

The WOMEN magazine surrounds the important ongoing issue regarding how women are represented in the fashion industry. Is this something that you were aware of growing up, on television and social media?
Yes definitely. As I mentioned above I would compare myself to these women so much as a young teenager. I feel like we all compare ourselves to these standards society has set for us, in one way or another. I think there is absolutely a reason why fillers, botox and plastic surgery have become so normalized over the last few years, the fashion industry is definitely to blame for that. Not to mention the lack of diversity and presentation of anything other than white, western European beauty. It’s actually insane to think about everything we let the industry get away with, it’s time for a change.

I think there is absolutely a reason why fillers, botox and plastic surgery have become so normalised over the last few years, the fashion industry is definitely to blame for that.

You have done an amazing job at addressing the issue! Do you think that enough is being done to work towards a more realistic and diverse representation of women in the fashion industry? What else do you think that fashion photographers in the industry can do to work towards a positive change?
Thank you! I feel like we are slowly starting to move in the right direction. Over the last year I’ve definitely started to see some development in the industry. But a lot of the time you wonder if it is actually genuine or something the companies do just to get clout? A lot of the time I feel like it’s only done as a marketing strategy. It’s also common to see them throw in one POC or plus sized women in an ad with 5 white thin women and call it ”inclusive branding.” The fact that we still applaud brands that show diversity is also really problematic in my opinion. As my model Kadie expressed in WOMEN: "We should not have to find ourselves positively surprised to see different ethnicities presented in the industry, it should be something normal. As long as it’s not I feel like there still is a long way to go." 
There’s also a lack of representation of the average body in the industry. It’s either a size 4 or plus size. Most of the population are in between sizes and they are simply not presented. All acne and facial imperfections are still being edited away in beauty editorials. The models are all under 30 years old. There is still a lot left to change for the industry to be truly inclusive.
It might be hard for photographers in the industry to make a change as they usually might be working under a brief where they’re not actually casting the models. But for people working with fashion overall I think it’s important to think twice about the models you cast, and how diverse your range of models really are. 

There’s also a lack of representation of the average body in the industry. It’s either a size 4 or plus size. Most of the population are in between sizes and they are simply not presented. All acne and facial imperfections are still being edited away in beauty editorials. The models are all under 30 years old. There is still a lot left to change for the industry to be truly inclusive.

Throughout history, young females have felt pressure to look a certain way to meet the ”beauty standards” presented in the media. These issues have been further enhanced with the ever growing social media platforms. 
Do you believe that a more realistic and diverse representation of females in the fashion industry would lower the expectations of looking a certain way for young women/teenagers?
Yes absolutely. We all strive to look like the women on the fashion magazine covers in some way don’t we? I think young women will be more likely to accept their flaws if they see that the models on the front covers on the magazine have them too. And I think young women from different ethnicities, backgrounds and body sizes will feel more comfortable in themselves if they see other people like them on the covers. It’s insane when you think about it - the models themselves don’t even look like they do on the covers after the post-production. Absolutely no one can relate to these pictures, should that really be the case?

the models themselves don’t even look like they do on the covers after the post-production. Absolutely no one can relate to these pictures, should that really be the case?

I think that using art as a way of addressing contemporary issues is such an effective solution. Are there any other important issues you would like to address using your photography?
I’m actually currently working on a project which I hope will raise awareness about endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places. Endometriosis can affect women of any age. It’s a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on your life. Endometriosis growths may swell and bleed in the same way the lining inside of your uterus does every month during your menstrual period. There are many symptoms that people with endometriosis might experience, but the most common one is severe pain that might make it hard for the people with the condition to live a normal life. 
It is believed that 1 in 10 women suffers with the condition. However it is hard to pinpoint exactly how many women are affected by it exactly, as many suffer from endometriosis without ever knowing. 
Through this project I have reached out to women with endometriosis and asked them about their experience of living with it. I believe that there is a big lack of knowledge about the condition, so with this project I hope to raise awareness of endometriosis. This condition affects so many women globally around the world, and still we barely know anything about it.
This is a subject very close to my heart as I suffer from endometriosis, and all my life I found that there is a huge lack of ignorance about the condition, not only from friends, employers and teachers, but also from actual doctors. I hope that this project will make more people understand what the condition is, and how it affects people living with it.​​​​​​​
Do you have any favourite project that another photographer has done to address an important issue?
It’s not really a project, but I’m crazy inspired by Nadine Ijewere’s overall work. She is a fashion photographer that focuses on presenting different kinds of beauty that she believes that society needs to represent more. She was a big inspiration to my WOMEN project and I looked at her work a lot. She believes in her models' individual beauty, rather than the standards that society sets, and I just love it. She is amazing and such a big role model for me.

If you could collaborate with any photographer, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would love to assist Julia Margaret Cameron for a photoshoot, I’m very fascinated by her images and they have inspired my own work a lot, much of my portraits are influenced by her work in one way or another. I just admire her a lot.

What inspires you to stay motivated when you’re not feeling so creative?
Looking at other creatives' work. I draw so much inspiration from all of the pictures I see every day on social media, Instagram can be such a great way to find inspiration if you use it in the right way. I try to only follow people that motivates me and makes me feel inspired.

Instagram can be such a great way to find inspiration if you use it in the right way.
Do you have any female role models or mentors who helped shape your career as a creative?
Not really role models or mentors no, but my friend group at university has been so important to me during these past few years. Having such a supportive group around me during the uni years has really been so important for me. Without them I would not be the photographer I am today. I’m so grateful for them, for every time they’ve agreed to model for me, helped me out with photo ideas, guided me through decisions I could not make on my own, inspired me and just been there for me. They’re such an important part of my life as a photographer, I am happy that I have been able to experience these last few years together with them. 

Where do you see yourself in 2 years time?
In 2 years time I'll probably still be in London. Hopefully I’m still creating work like WOMEN.

What’s a quote/saying you live by?
I don’t really have a quote or saying that I live by. But I have always believed that anything is possible as long as you work hard enough, stay focused on your goals and believe in yourself. ​​​​​​​

I have always believed that anything is possible as long as you work hard enough, stay focused on your goals and believe in yourself. ​​​​​​​

Big thank you to the amazing photographer, and good friend of (Laura's) mines for collaborating and being apart of the Point of You gang. You can follow Celine and check out her other photographs on her links below:

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