Charlotte Fröling often looks for inspiration for her motifs in art history and her photographs have a painterly quality. Starting from a specific subject she works in series in which, for many months, she will collect material, visit different sites, create compositions and study the light and the weather conditions. It is not the motif as such that is her primary concern but the form, the composition and above all, the light that she is constantly looking for and that she returns to.  Over the years the content of her visual images has been reduced and the motifs have become increasingly abstracted. The relation between light and darkness becomes increasingly apparent.


Swans are a recurrent subject in the history of art and have been interpreted in many different ways. In Greek mythology the god Zeus transforms himself into a swan when he senses erotic desire for queen Leda. In his paintings the 18th century French artist François Boucher returned to the dramatic scene in which the swan symbolized both irresistible desire and a threatening being. In one of René Magritte’s best known works L'art de la conversation, in a nocturnal scene he has painted two swans that symbolize eternity and ever-present love.


The swan is also a symbol for the supersensual aspect of many mythologies and religions. In Hinduism, for example, the swan is Brahma’s method of motion, symbolizing the soul. and for Hilma af Klint, with her interest in theosophy, the swan was a central motif. In the course of numerous spiritual séances and spiritist gatherings, between 1906 and 1915 she created her Paintings for the Temple, a suite of 193 paintings in series and groups in which the word temple can rather be read as a metaphor for spiritual development. The last of her paintings featured the swan motif with the swans in various degrees of abstraction in which she studied polarity by means of a black and a white swan striving to find unity.


One cold January morning some years ago Charlotte walked through a wintry Stockholm and caught sight of a pair of white swans in the dark water. This was the origin of her series entitled­ Swans – Visions of light and darkness. Over a long period she made a detailed study of swans photographing them at regular intervals. Her view of swans as beautiful and monogamous birds changed as time passed. Swans turned out to be much more complex than that. It is true that swans have a partner for life but only if this leads to progeny. Failing this, they abandon each other and search for new mates.  Initially the sexual act of swans is a beautiful and sensitive dance until, at the instant of mating, the male bird forces his mate down beneath the surface of the water. In other matters the pair are commendably equal with both partners sharing responsibility for brooding and, often very violently and aggressively defending their territory against intruders.


In her series of Swans – Visions of light and darkness, the behaviour of the swans can be seen in a more universal perspective. Light contrasting with darkness, community contra solitariness. Even when the swans are together they appear as being solitary, enclosed within themselves, vulnerability contrasting with strength. As well as the dramatically visual aspect in which the light forms appear clearly as they contrast with the darker aspects, the images communicate an existential depth regarding life’s fragility.

Lena Rydén, Bukowskis


The constantly changing Seascapes and beaches in Falsterbo is a never-ending source of inspiration for Charlotte. She started shooting the Seascapes and Colourfields series in 2020. She loves shooting pictures, inspired by the Skagen painters, and the white beaches of Falsterbo provide a perfect setting. Young ladies walking along the beach in the soft early morning or late afternoon light. The pictures chosen for the exhibition were later edited into an even more painterly quality. During the summer of 2020 she spent lot of time shooting the sea and the sky at different times of the day. Inspired by the painter Mark Rothko she tried to refine the Sea and sky into pure Colourfields.


For many years Charlotte dreamt of shooting still lifes, based on historical paintings. Still lifes from the Dutch word "still leven" means quite simply motionless things. Of main importance is a table upon which the objects can be arranged and depicted. The theme of the transitory is fundamental to 17th century still life painting, as if the paintings in themselves sought to convey the idea that life is short whereas art is eternal. She put a lot of effort into the details, trying to find antique objects, game, vegetables, fruits, flowers etc. resembling those in the old masters paintings. When photographing the still lives she sought to arrange them to achchieve the best possible angle of vision and the best light. All photos were taken in natural light on a table in her entrance hall.


Through centuries artists from all over the world have been trying to depict the divine beauty of nature in their paintings. Charlotte's inspiration to the Garden of Eden series were the harmonious compositions of the baroque landscape paintings. The light played an important role and she wanted it to flow through the various colours of the leaves, like in the impressionists’ paintings. Impatiently she followed the weather forecast to be able to catch the gardens in mist, giving the work a soft light quality. 


The Flowering beauties series was inspired by the gorgeous still lives paintings in the "Dutch golden ages", painted in the 17th century. Instead of depicting many flowers Charlotte chose to shoot close-ups of carefully chosen flowers. She tried to find the most beautiful flowers and shot them against a golden background instead of the traditional dark background.


The motifs in the Nature in Harmony series are all from Falsterbo, a small village in the soutern part of Sweden. In these, Charlotte tried to catch the serenity and  the tranquillity of nature of Falsterbo. The landscape pictures were taken on the beautiful white sand beaches along the sea. The flowers were mainly from her garden.