The concept for Postcards from Copenhagen is simple. Over one long-weekend, three photographers will travel to Denmark’s capital to explore and document the city in their own unique style. The photographers will be encouraged to steer clear of tourist hotspots and instead explore Copenhagen’s lesser-known sights. The project brief was designed to be as open as possible. In not dictating exact locations to photograph and themes to explore, the three photographers will be granted as much creative freedom as possible.

Postcards from Copenhagen is organised by British Journal of Photography with the generous support of Wonderful Copenhagen. After a lengthy judging process, lasting several weeks, three winners have been selected.

Marco Kesseler, Peter Holliday and Laura Stevens will travel to Copenhagen from London, Helsinki and Paris to join BJP on the commission. While Stevens will explore Copenhagen’s unique relationship with water, Holliday will document man-altered landscapes as a means to investigate the aspirations of the city. Kesseler will take a more serendipitous approach. Following the Carlsberg Fault zone, a tectonic formation that lies beneath the city, the photographer will spend three days documenting the unexpected idiosyncrasies of daily life in Copenhagen.

Below, the three winners discuss their plans for the commission.

Peter Holliday

I have always been fascinated by the concept of ‘The North’ and how different societies draw their culture and mythology from the topography of this vast region. One area of particular interest is the city’s cultural history – its transformation from a compact fortified citadel at the heart of the Danish Empire to today’s modern cosmopolitan sprawl. Copenhagen is a fascinating city of contrasts where the map is always being redrawn. Suspended between the past and the future, I view Copenhagen as a space that reflects humanity’s desire for continual expansion where the physical restructuring of our shared experience never ceases.

I aim to produce a body of photographs made in and around Copenhagen that navigate spaces where the artificial urban landscape reconciles with the natural. Combining landscape imagery with portraits, I will document the man-altered terrain and investigate the human ideals and aspirations latent within these peripheral spaces. I will focus on sites where the utopian visions of mankind converge with the wild and untamed: waterways, inner-city parkland, suburbia and industrial areas. The series will be based on the present-day landscape of Copenhagen, simultaneously drawing from the physical memory of the city’s past. It will reflect the city’s industrial successes as well as the inevitable vicissitudes of continual expansion. © Peter Holliday.
© Peter Holliday.

Marco Kesseler

I am keen to deviate from Copenhagen’s landmarks in order to see an alternative side of the city. I would follow the Carlsberg Fault zone as a psychogeographic narrative to determine my route. The Fault zone, a tectonic formation spanning 12km from north-west to south-east Copenhagen, is an invisible division intersecting the city from Lake Furesø in the North to the small coastal town of Søvang in the South. Using this as a reference point to explore a route through the city, I would look to document the unexpected idiosyncrasies of daily life. The route would take me from the seas, which surround the city, and through small communities, which help give Copenhagen its unique charm. © Marco Kesseler.
© Marco Kesseler.

Laura Stevens

I am interested in exploring how Copenhagen is carefully interlaced with natural beauty. The city has an abundance of water. From the surrounding sea to the lakes and canals, water is a constant presence and creates a special consciousness. On foot, bike and boat I would spend each day of the commission – from sunrise to sunset–  travelling between Copenhagen’s parks, canals, beaches and harbours.

Moving through the many natural environments of the city, I would interpret the connection between urban and natural living and the ways that people interact with these environments. Finding moments that poetically depict a stillness and beauty in nature, I will create a series that represents the city’s deep association to nature and water. Light and colour are important aspects in my work and I search for ways that they can influence the emotional interpretation of a photograph. The northern light in Copenhagen is supposedly particularly special and I would like to make this part of the work, paying particular attention to moments at dawn and dusk. © Laura Stevens.
© Laura Stevens.

Postcards from Copenhagen is a British Journal of Photography commission made possible with the generous support of Wonderful Copenhagen. Please click here for more information on sponsored content funding at British Journal of Photography.