A Photographer Explores Sweden’s Secret Summer Camps
Every summer in Sweden, abused women and their children are transported to an undisclosed location for three therapeutic days of lake swimming, music, and bonfire parties. According to photographer Åsa Sjöström, many of them immigrated to Sweden from places like Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan and are now living in shelters to escape familial abuse, honor killing, or genital mutilation.
These women require the utmost protection, as any information about their whereabouts can be dangerous.
The camps are lush and scenic, and the women’s stories are compelling, but how do you make a portrait of someone whose identity needs to remain hidden? Sjöström’s project “Secret Camps” captures the women and children at play while creatively obscuring their identities with balloons, hair,