Kicking off the summer season before the crowds set in on the East End is never a bad idea. And c/o The Maidstone took full advantage of the warm temps and sunny weather to fête the arrival of their most recent art display, a collection of photographs by Josefin Hardinger, which arrived in East Hampton via Luleå, Sweden. Revelers decked out in light summer wares, accessorized with a glass of Wölffer rosé, wandered about the hotel to peruse the provocative selection of works, most of which are self-portraits of Hardinger (the rest feature her close friends). The crowd also lingered in the outdoor garden, nibbling on Swedish treats and musing on the imminent approach of summertime.
Following the opening was a private dinner, where Hardinger spoke about her entrance into the photography realm: “When I was 12, I started by photographing my Converse shoes, flowers and other silly things, but then I started to photograph my friends. When I was 14 or 15, my sister introduced me to Photoshop and I became obsessed.” While the frequent occurrence of self portraits in the collection might bring to mind the current selfie craze, Hardinger’s work is far from those often-mindless snaps. In her favorite picture in the show, titled “Gender”, she altered her own image to include a beard and a light dusting of chest hair. Topped off with a fuzzy pink hat and dangling earrings, it provokes not only emotion, but the question ‘What is that, a boy or a girl?’ So why does Hardinger choose herself as the main subject? “I’m always available! If I can’t sleep at night and I get an idea, I can’t call my friends to pose for a picture at 2 a.m. But I’m awake and I have nothing else to do.” Seems like the 21-year old’s very first solo exhibit was a smash success: she sold a handful of prints within the first few hours! Head over to c/o The Maidstone throughout the summer to check out the prodigal Swede’s work.