I spoke with Maja Daniels in November in the office of Simon Baker at the Maison Europeene De La Photographie about her wonderful book Elf Dalia published by MACK. The conversation was one of the first in the series when I was thinking of what would become Nearest Truth and it still exemplifies a number of qualities that I want to emphasize about voice, laughter and conversation being excellent antidotes to the times we live in.
In the conversation, we speak about her work in Sweden with the Tenn Lars Persson archive. Maja has successfully woven her photographs to the archival imagery of Persson and the resulting book is composed of strange interludes where folklore meets a fleeting interest in geography and esoteric thought. Persson was interested in the sciences, but also made many studies of local “pagan” folklore. The backdrop to Maja’s book is dense and layered with historical questions about “othering”, witchcraft and the local Älvdalen communities insitence on keeping their unique language during times of political change during the past four centuries. The story and the work are fecund with parable, but also exemplify Daniel’s incredible talent in weaving her own chronology and place with Persson’s.
I have some regret that in my rush to excitement, I often found myself wanting to ask another question before she had finished her sentence and for this I apologize to those of you listening who might feel it was a bit out of place. I have learned quite a bit since November and I hope Maja can forgive this.
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