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Åsa Johannesson

PhD Work

The Queering of Photography

The PhD project The Queering of Photography argues for a queering ambition located within the photographic image. By turning to the technological and material conditions underpinning the photograph’s existence, it dislocates queer from identity to ontology. Developing from the late Modernist focus on medium specificity, the thesis examines the photograph’s ontological conditioning; its is, relocating it from essence to agency. This move opens up for possibilities for change or, nonbinary difference. Developing from a photographic portrait practice that explores the notion of gender as nonconforming, this PhD has through experimentations using a large format camera generated the photographic works Looking Out, Looking In; Turn; Figural, Figurative; Skin; and Frame.


  • Åsa Johannesson
  • PhD


    School of Arts & Humanities


    Photography, 2014–2019

  • Åsa Johannesson is a Swedish London based artist working with photography. Her work examines the relationship between the notions photograph, queer, and difference – predominantly through the lens of nonconforming gender. 

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Photographic Arts, University of Westminster, 2006; MA Photography, Royal College of Art, 2009
  • Experience

  • Lecturer in Photography, University of Brighton, 2018-19; Visiting Lecturer in Photography, Royal College of Art, London, 2013-19; Visiting Lecturer in Photography, University of Westminster, London, 2011-19; Visiting Lecturer in Photography, University of Portsmouth, 2017; Teaching Fellow in Fine Art Media specialising in Photography, Slade School of Fine Art, London, 2012-13; Visiting Lecturer in Digital Photography, South Bank University, London, 2011-14; Research Assistant, Royal College of Art, London, 2009-12
  • Exhibitions

  • Entanglement: The Opera, Royal College of Art, London, 2019; FLIGHT MODE, Assembly Point, London, 2018; Flow & Flux, Triangle Space, Chelsea College of Art, London, 2018; Daybreak, Safehouse 1 & 2, London, 2017; Sight Unseen, Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art, London, 2017; Looking Out, Looking In, Landskrona Foto Festival, Landskrona, Sweden, 2016; Looking Out, Looking In, Photography and the Archive Research Centre, London, 2016; Looking Out, Looking In, MOCA London, London, 2015; The White Gaze, Växjö Konsthall, Växjö, 2015; The Boy & The Twins, Gothenburg Biennale Extended, Gallery Panncentralen, Mariestad, 2013; The Boy & The Twins, Fotogalleriet [format], Malmö, 2011; The Boy & The Twins, Smålands museum, Växjö, 2011; Photo-ID, Hereford Photography Festival, Hereford, 2010; Shadow of a Doubt, Galerie Michel Jourmiac, Pantheon-Sorbonne, Paris, 2009; Photo ID, The Forum, Norwich, 2009; Show RCA 2009, Royal College of Art, London, 2009; Surfacing, 12 Star Gallery, European Commission Office, London, 2009; The Terry O'Neill Award 2008, Fulham Palace, London, 2008; Moment, Riga Art Space, Riga, Latvia, 2008; NICE08, The Novas Contemporary Urban Centre, Liverpool, 2008; The Other, International Talent Support, Trieste, 2008; Fellow Travellers, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Manchester, 2007
  • Awards

  • Helge Ax:son Johansons Stiftelse Scholarship, 2018; Royal College of Art Research, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation (RKEI) Scholarship, 2017; Stiftelsen Petersenska Hemmet Scholarship, 2017; The MEAD Residency at the British School at Rome, 2016; Helge Ax:son Johansons Stiftelse Scholarship, 2016; AHRC TECHNE Doctoral Training Stipend, 2014; Fabrikör J.L Eklunds Hantverksstiftelse, 2014; Växjö Stads Jubileumsfond Scholarship, 2014; Stiftelsen Gunvor Kamkes och Sven Joanns Minnesfonds Scholarship, 2010; Fredrika-Bremer-Förbundets stipendium, 2008; Stiftelsen Markussens studiefonds stipendium, 2008; Södrasmålands Kulturstipendium, 2007
  • Conferences

  • The Queering of Photography, Diversifying the Portrait: Image and Identity, Merton College, University of Oxford, 17 May 2019; Turn, Atmosphere, Practice Research Symposium, University of Surrey, Guildford, January 2018; The Gendering of the Photographic, Writing Photographs, Symposium, London College of Communication. London, UK, 1 June 2016; Queer Passing and Queer Aesthetics, Disrupting Visibility: The Politics of Passing, Conference, Goldsmiths College, London, UK, 12 June 2015; Failed Queerness, The Subjectivity and Feminisms Research, Symposium, Chelsea College of Art. London, UK, 12 February 2015
  • Publications

  • Clair Le Couteur and Åsa Johannesson, Nonbinary Difference: Dionysus, Arianna, and the Fictive Arts of Museum Photography, Gender, Sexuality, and the Museum: Activism, Unruliness, and Alterity, 2019; Cassius Matthias, Å, Yes & No, issue 03:01, 2017; Rose Robertson, Looking Out, Looking In, Zine, issue 02:01, 2017; Laura Guy, Queer in Practice, Source Photographic Review, Issue 79, 2014; Daniel Blight, Photography and the Fanatical Gaze in Åsa Johannesson’s Belonging, Philosophy of Photography, issue 03:01, 2012; Sophie Mörner, Masculine, Capricious, issue 12, 2012