Cecilia Svensson

In the World of Dreams

By: Beata Ulvsbäck | 9 may, 2021

Whimsical Dreams av Cecilia Svensson
Photo: Cecilia Svensson

Cecilia Svensson can be described as the fearless photographer from Smolandia, Sweden, creating straight out of her heart. She believes photography should be a boost for your soul, and in the importance of creating a process where certain things are allowed to take their time. And creating without rules. In her work we often meet the world of fairytales, beings, and mystery. There is certain darkness, but not without a glimmer of light.

– I have always loved fairytales and when you view my images from the outdoors a lot come from these tales, Cecilia says.

 

She tells me about a book by John Bauer she was gifted by her grandmother as a child, and about how the mood, the mystery and the darkness influenced her. And still infuses her imagery to this day.

”There is a certain darkness, but not without a glimmer of light.”

The art of Bauer is often in aquarelle or oil, and he is strongly associated with the telling of tales and the Swedish folklore. And as with the work of Cecilia, he often depicts dark forests with brighter beings.

 

– I think it’s all about me wanting to convey an emotion. And that the emotion becomes a story, a little saga. And then I take that one step further in the editing. I add a little. Then I let it rest, and pick up where I left off with fresh eyes. It’s not a speedy process, Cecilia laughs.

 

Cecilia moved from the rural county of Smolandia to Stockholm some 20 years ago where she met her partner and raised a family. She worked at a school and much focus was given to the family. But when their third child became severely ill at 5 years of age, life took another turn. A lot of time was spent at the hospital, being there for her child. As a very social person, Cecilia felt isolated. But in the midst of this darkness she was able to find a light, and an outlet for her creativity. And something to give her energy.



She created two children’s books, two top-ranked apps, and she also picked up digital photography as opposed to the film cameras she had been using before.

– This was completely new. I couldn’t even get out of the manual mode and just felt ”I’ll never make this work, stupid camera!”

Of course she made it out of the manual mode. With an incredible drive, engagement, and enthusiasm from Instagram among other sources, she pushed herself to evolve. She did her own thing, one step at a time. And in her guesthouse she built a studio to receive clients – and was able to squeeze an impressive amount of creativity out of a tiny space. However, Cecilia soon outgrew her tiny guesthouse and acquired a bigger space, which became Studio Lullaby where photographs babies and children’s fine art portraits.

Today she is showcasing her creative portraits as well as her fine art by the name of @photobycilia on Instagram.

Photo: Cecilia Svensson

By challenging herself and daring to try new things Cecilia of today is an award winning photographer, creating her fairy tale-like images using both heart and brain. She has competed in the Swedish Championships in 2020 and won both silver and bronze in the categories Classical Portraits as well as Portraits for Children.

Cecilia is able to find opportunity in adversity, and perhaps that is why her photography seemingly brings us into another world. Where dreams and reality co-exist, intersecting without borders. Her motto is ”Create the best you can with what you have in front of you, right now.” And it shows. On the one hand we have ingenuity, playfulness, and light. Images depicting clouds, dreamily lit forests and angelic beings. Moss-clad pinewoods where delicate dresses and butterflies create her fairytale mystique. And on the other hand, we have the darkness. That which chafes. And hurts.

This is all present in Cecilia’s personal favorite: Follow Your Path. A grand image depicting her daughter standing in front of a path, dividing a field of gold and rust wearing a bright red dress.

Photo: Cecilia Svensson

Follow Your Path is an image close to my heart, Cecilia tells me. ”I noticed this field I pass on my way home from work every day. It was a misty autumn day, the leaves were still hanging on to their trees, and I just had this urge to go there and shoot.”

 

The place became the inspiration.

 

– It’s my daughter Filippa in the image, so there are a lot of emotions attached for me. The photo is about following your own path and moving forward, even when the times are tough.

 

Perhaps it takes courage to gaze into the darkness in order to find the light, like in that book by John Bauer. And perhaps one doesn’t have to exclude the other. Perhaps the dark and the light can co-exist.

 

Either way one thing is for certain; Cecilia’s imagery speaks to us in the same way she creates them – through the heart.

Photo: Cecilia Svensson