photographic index

ba digital photography london south bank university

Helene Ohman



 I heart Jesus!
Artist: Hélène
Type: Inkjet photographic print
Date: 2007

Description: “Subculture is a set of people with a set of Behaviors and Beliefs”. I have chosen to follow a group of 14-15 year olds during the time of their Christian Confirmation at a Church camp in Stockholm, Sweden. Made in response to Anita Corbin’s photographic series ‘Visible Girls’, Girls Subcultures box held at the London South Bank University, London. A series of 6 Images.
Subject: Christian youth
Measurements: 42×59.4 cm
Location: London South Bank University Digital Photography Dept

ID Number: PI-RGSB-HO0001-HO006

Licensing: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales, Hélène c/o London South Bank University, Digital Photography Course, UK

I heart Jesus!

My Photographic project is called “I heart Jesus”. I have been working closely together with a group of 14-15 year olds from Stockholm, Sweden. I decided that I wanted to work with a group of youths from my own country because I have been there myself (a youth that is!) and I wanted to be in my birth country Sweden.

I started of by doing some research and found a lot of different subcultures that I found interesting. The one that stood out the most and was closest to my heart was the religion Christianity. In Sweden when you are 14- 15 years old you get the opportunity to partake in a Confirmation ritual. Confirmation is a rite in many Christian Churches. You can only do this if you are baptised in the Swedish Church or any other Church for that matter. It has always been popular to undertake in the ritual of Conformation among the youth and a lot of them do so. Sadly the number of youths partaking and actually graduating has greatly declined as its popularity has plummeted over the last decade because many young people have found it to be “un-cool” to be Confirmed.
When I received my Confirmation ten years ago the interest was still high and a great number of my friends and peers also partook. But looking at the numbers today, we can see a clear reduction. That is one of the reasons why I wanted to do this project.

I was lucky, a couple of weeks before Easter I got an offer to work with a disabled girl that was going away on a church camp. I happily accepted the offer and attended the church camp with her and the rest of her Confirmation group. I thought it was a perfect opportunity and asked the priests if I could document their five-day stay. They said yes to my delight! At first I thought that I would just photograph the girls because that we were supposed to do the reinterpretation of the “visible girls” but after some reconsideration I decided to photograph both genders. My thoughts where, that it would give the wrong impression if I documented just the girls. After all it was a “mix” camp and that is usually how it is in Sweden even when it comes to most schooling.

Subculture is “ …a set of people with a set of behaviours and beliefs, which could be distinct or hidden…” (Wikipedia/ subculture).

That is the perfect description for the subculture that I have chosen. A group of teenagers studying the Christian religion during a certain period of their lives, behaving as a group different from those around them. They attend classes 1-2 times a week, followed by a five day long camp and finalised with a presentation for friends and family where they receive the sacrament of Conformation.

I have researched many different Photographers and discovered a large number that specialise in photographing youth subcultures. Here are some examples: Niclas Henriczon, Christer Stromholm, Laureen Greenfield, Wolfgang Tillmans, Maria Eberfors, Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, Anita Corbin etc. (All websites will be provided under “references” on the last page). I also been looking at several different websites and they will also be stated on the last page.

I decided to print my Images in A2 because I prefer the larger size, and in this content it is more powerful. I was also using high ISO setting on my camera because I wanted them to look a bit grainy and noisy. I wanted to create an “old feeling” in “modern time”. The yellow lighting in the images is natural lighting and is coming from the burning candles inside the chapel.

Popular culture is something that is always around us. We live in a world that is using popular culture daily. Some examples could be: music, fashion (and all other entertainment), sports, mass media etc. Youth subculture is very similar to pop culture but as the word youth suggests it is based more on the younger generation and their interests. Some examples could be: Special clothing, hairstyles, footwear, and choice of music, different dialects and slang.

I have really enjoyed working on this project and I have had a fantastic time with the youths! This was an experience that I will never forget and will always remember it for what it was. I will most likely work with new Confirmation group’s years to come!

I heart Jesus!


4 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    I’m quite a skeptic, but I think you could convert me. Very sorry about the other messages – didn’t understand the situation. I did get to the Ministry the next time, it was okay. Must get over to Sweden sometime soon… All for now.

  2. Danny says:

    ‘Amazing…. well done! I love the lighting.

  3. Aiden Phayer says:

    I loved this as a colloctive of images about the youth culture. The idea of difference within the youth culture of people worshiping god, being no longer the norm of current society.the lighting insde of each photograph gives off an impression of peacefullness and comfort within their beliefs.

    The joys i found of these photos as well is the presentation of group images to individuals. This gives a sense of collective worship along with a group within youth culture, yet also the focus on the individual gives the sense of warmth to the images.

  4. Bethany Cragg says:

    I really connected my past to this collection of photographs. I have grown up in a Christian family and have attended church, the camps and have been baptised. England is a very secular country now and as you have said Christianity is seen to be very “un-cool” in my generation.

    I really like the lighting used in the series. It gives a sense of warmth to the people in the photographs. The photographs are “what you see is what you get”, a fellowship of people sharing their beliefs.

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