Hi You Are Beautiful How Are You

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Arvida Byström is a Swedish artist, model, Tumblr blogger, and internet sensation. Valerie Phillips is a fashion photographer I was lucky enough to interview for THE LE SIGH a while back (you can find the piece in my sidebar); you are almost definitely familiar with both their work, even if you don’t know it. Phillips has shot ads for brands like Dr Marten, Converse, Sloggi, and Virgin. Byström’s Instagram alone has over 28k followers. When I heard that a photo-book collaboration between these two women was coming out, it seemed utterly perfect to me; their candy-coloured, rave-and-skate influenced aesthetics gel so perfectly. But according to Phillips’s introduction in ‘hi you are beautiful how are you’, it didn’t go so smoothly at first. Byström is an unsettling, serious personality and was unenthusiastic to have her picture taken. Nevertheless, they were soon taking over a house in East London, painting the walls and the carpet, with Valerie taking pictures along the way. The resulting images are raw and bright and young, Byström’s hair changing colour as you flick through the pages. She seems like a kind of modern mermaid as she sits, in one image, naked in the bath, tipping a cup of water over her own head, with tattoos and body hair and a beautiful childlike face; only showing some fragments, here and there, of who she actually is.

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