Fryd Frydendahl – Salad Days: Portraits 2012-2022

Review by Gerhard Clausing

I really love portraits that are mysterious and different. Fryd Frydendahl has definitely succeeded in consistently producing such unorthodox portraits over a ten-year period that fit the bill, and then some. This photobook gives us insights into her method.

If you look at the front cover above, you find one of her portraits partly blocking the title of the book. You need to turn to the rear cover to see the full title and some more examples of her craft:

The images in this photobook are similar to the approach to the design of the cover, in that the individuals shown are only partly definable. Sometimes hands are in the way, and at other times the unusual position of the person makes you wonder what they are all about; these are just two examples of many, as you can see below. We want to get to know the person behind the portrait in order to find out what makes her or him tick.

One of the secrets of  Frydendahl’s success seems to be that she takes special care to first get to know each person she portrays. This allows her to create an informal and more personal setting in which to discover special moments with her camera. When the sitters have been put at ease, they can be more natural and also seem to be willing to disclose more about themselves. Some of the gestures, body positions, and other ways of presenting are far from the formal posing of traditional portraiture; these are fabulous individual moods “captured” in more natural poses. The vulnerability and openness shown by Frydendahl are collaborative magic.

Frydendahl also is very aware of her own individual development, observing herself as a prime example. Throughout the book, she intersperses images of herself, taken in an old-fashioned photo booth, which harkens back to a method of how we took selfies before the era of smartphones. We get a sense of her amusement in experimenting with the depiction of people, starting with herself (sample on page 95 below).

The joy of authentic naturalness exudes from all the images in this book. The design of the sequence involves various sizes and placements, as you can see, to keep our interest throughout. In the extensive notes in the back, Frydendal provides extensive information and thoughts about the purpose and nature of the genesis of each image, even about some of the individuals portrayed. We get a very together holistic approach. May we all have endless “salad days” (prime creativity)!


Gerhard Clausing, PBJ Associate Editor, is an author, photographer, and synthographer from Southern California.


Fryd Frydendahl – Salad Days: Portraits 2012-2022

Photographer:  Fryd Frydendahl (born in Hvide Sande, Denmark; based in Copenhagen/Hvide Sande with close ties to NYC)

Editors:  Finn Wergel Dahlgren and Jacob Haagen Birch

Publisher:   Marrow Press, Copenhagen, Denmark; © 2023

Essays and Texts:  Editorial note; essay by Elizabeth Renstrom; end notes by Fryd Frydendahl; poem by Jesper Elg

Language:  English

Illustrated hardback, sewn; 248 pages; 22 x 28 cm (8 x 11 inches); printed  in Latvia; ISBN 978-87-973811-0-6

Photobook Designer:  Spine Studio


Articles and photographs published in the PhotoBook Journal may not be reproduced without the permission of the PhotoBook Journal staff and the photographer(s). All images, texts, and designs are under copyright by the authors and publishers.

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