VODA – Us and them- is a documentary photography project by Elin Berge, David Dahlberg, Alexandra Ellis, Malin Grönborg, Johan Gunséus, Sara Lindquist, Linda Thompson and Lars Öberg. This work is part of Umeå2014.

Us and Them shakes up ingrained notions about who sees, and who is seen. By inviting others to participate in the creation process, the eight photographers in the exhibition aimed to nuance the picture of our time and of people’s lives using documentary photography.

In a collaboration based on eight independent projects, Us and Them democratises control over the narrative and challenges the accepted role of the photographer. VODA gives “Them” the tools to make their own lives visible – a view from the inside and a view from the outside in two parallel creative processes.


In the project Selves, Elin Berge invited people into her studio to take self-portraits under her guidance. Selves is a study of how people view themselves and at the same time a professional experiment. What happens to the image’s expression when the photographer chooses to share the crucial moment? The participants are her friends and acquaintances as well as strangers who responded to an advertisement about the project. The individuals decided for themselves what they would wear and what might be put into the picture. Elin’s contribution was as a creative sounding board and she was also responsible for the technology for producing the image. When it was time to take the picture, the person was left alone in the room with a mirror and a self-timer. The biggest challenge was that they were all permitted to take only a single exposure.  That meant having the courage to confront themselves for 1/80th of a second and then accepting the image that was captured.

The exhibition VODA can be seen at Sune Jonsson Center of Documentary Photography in Umeå until 1 of February 2015.

This week 15 of Elin Berge’s images can be found in an outdoor exhibition at the bus stops at line 2 that goes through Umeå city.