Meet the blogger: Emily Dahl

Swedish bloggers have become some of the country's most high-profile influencers, attracting readers from around the world. In The Local's 'Meet the blogger' series, our contributor Ellie Day asks these online entrepreneurs about the highs and lows of the industry, and their advice to would-be influencers.

Meet the blogger: Emily Dahl
Emily Dahl runs an online 'visual diary', offering insights into her life as a photographer. Photo: Private

This month blogger and lifestyle and fashion photographer Emily Dahl takes the time to chat with The Local Sweden about the benefits and drawbacks of being an influencer, her predictions for upcoming trends in blogging – and her undying love for George Michael.

Based in Stockholm, she has created a 'visual diary' of her life, experiences and creative work which can be read here

Hi, Emily! Your blog has evolved as real mixture of your work as a photographer, your day-to-day life and your personal thoughts and feelings – you even call your blog your 'visual diary'. How did you first start out with the blog?

Well, I've been blogging for over a decade, so back in 2006 when I first started my blog the whole field was so different. The influencer sphere just didn't exist – lots of people thought that it wasn't a profession, that the industry wasn't going to go anywhere, but for me, it started a whole business! I'm really happy I stuck with it. Initially it started when I lived in Gothenburg – I had just graduated and was between jobs, so starting a blog was a perfect creative outlet for me. It allowed me to build a portfolio and my blog grew organically from there.

Your blog is very visual – unsurprising, as you're a photographer. Which sources do you look to for inspiration?

I try to find inspiration away from the internet. I find that what stunts my inspiration is being in a place where social media takes over my life – when you find yourself refreshing Instagram, for example – so, to keep creative, I've really cut down on my screen time. Instead, I tend to go to outlets that inspired me from the beginning, even from my childhood; movies that I used to watch as a kid, like old classic Hollywood movies. I love going back to the truest roots of my creativity, it's like an avalanche of inspiration. At the moment, listening to George Michael's music helps me come up with new ideas!

George Michael is definitely a more-than-acceptable inspiration. What do you enjoy most about being a blogger?

Oh, I love so many parts of being a blogger – as well as the fact that I owe my whole company and world to blogging, I also have a circle of colleagues and friends from blogging who are very close to me. Blogging through the formative years of my life has meant that I'm incredibly close to a whole community of people who have been through so much with me. They understand the journey that I've been on and we've all got lots of shared experiences.

What's really special, too, is the wealth of opportunities – the shows, the lectures, the people you're able to meet. Without my followers, none of this would be possible; I wouldn't be able to travel, have my business, keep my assistants paid. It's all made possible by my followers and I appreciate it every day.


Current mood: invincible. ?

A post shared by Emily Dahl (@emilydahl) on Nov 7, 2017 at 1:03am PST

Are there any downsides to running a blog?

It can be challenging making sure your blog is aligned with your ethos. My blog used to be a lot bigger than it is today, but I made the conscious decision to rebuild everything from the ground up about six months ago. I've gone through the revolution and evolution of blogging and got to a point where I realized I was keen to shift the focus away from me as a central character. For a long time, blogging was about 'what I wore today', 'what I ate today' and now for me it became more important to look more widely at my individual vision. The emphasis for me now is how can I keep my blog an open, creative – and positive – space.

Which topics/types of blog content have you found that Swedish audiences most like to read about?

Tastes and trends are always shifting and developing. For a long time, everyone wanted to look at food posts, at imagery around beautiful and creative meals, but lately landscape photography is having a moment. Swedish audiences, in particular, respond really well to beautiful wildlife scenery shots – it all ties into the rise in popularity of drone photography, allowing us to see really clear shots of aspirational settings.

My audience responds well to anything that suggests an adventure, a getaway. People want escapism – the exact nature of it all comes down to the zeitgeist, what's in vogue at the moment.

In terms of 'the Next Big Thing' in blogging, I feel like black and white photography is about to have a resurgence. You heard it here first! We've had so long of analogue, black and white has fallen away over the past decade, but there's now a whole generation of millennials who are discovering monochrome imagery and will bring it back. I'd say that that'll be the next trend to watch!

Do you have any blogs that you personally read and find aspirational?

So many blogs! There's Emma's Vintage – Emma's a stylist I work with on a daily basis; I read her blogs to open my eyes up to new ways of looking at the everyday.  She's incredible at that, at taking the small things in daily life and making them feel special. She used to be a journalist so she's learnt her craft professionally and you can really feel that in her blog.

There's also Sandra Beijer – she's very good at finding new ways of telling a story and making the unremarkable enticing. She has a knack for that, she started in the advertising industry and she has kept loyal to her own voice.

Do you have any advice you might give to aspiring influencers?

It's really important to sit down and think about 'what do I enjoy?'. If you do something you enjoy doing you'll do it with passion. It's best to start with that at your base; know that everything you do, if you do it with determination, it will all work out. Nothing is wasted, even if it feels like it at the time – writing you've done years ago can still be relevant. Take advice from yourself, listen to yourself – and most of all, be true to yourself!

Click here to read the Local's interview with vintage expert and influencer Elsa Billgren.


Paris exhibition celebrates 100 years of French Vogue

A new exhibition in Paris will tell the story of 100 years of French Vogue - from the post-war 'New Look' of Christian Dior through the sexual liberation of the 1960s to the dangling-cigarette waifs of the 2000s.

French Vogue celebrates 100 years
French Vogue celebrates 100 years. Photo: Thomas Olva/AFP

But as well as celebrating the magazine’s storied history, the exhibit comes at a time of turbulence for the publication.

Just last month, it was confirmed that its editor of 10 years, Emmanuelle Alt, was out and wouldn’t be replaced.

She was not alone.

Looking to cut costs, owner Conde Nast International has axed editors across Europe over the past year, and put international Vogue editions under the direct control of global editorial director, Anna Wintour, in New York.

New York-based Anna Wintour now has overall control of French Vogue. Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

Like much of the media industry, Vogue is struggling with tumbling sales and ad revenue in the digital era.

But the latest twist is also part of the endless push and pull between New York and Paris going back to its early days.

“The whole history of French Vogue is one of back-and-forth with Conde Nast in New York – growing more independent for a while, then being reined back in,” said Sylvie Lecallier, curator of the new exhibition, “Vogue Paris 1920-2020″, which opened this weekend after a year’s delay due to the pandemic.

The Paris edition was often the loftier, more bohemian sibling to its more hard-nosed New York version.

But it was also the hotbed in which much of 20th century style and womenhood came to be defined.

“Paris was the place to hunt out talent and content and bring it to New York,” said Lecallier.

The exhibition charts the evolution from art deco drawings of the 1920s through the erotic image-making of photographers like Helmut Newton in the 1960s and 1970s.

Its last peak was under editor Carine Roitfeld in the 2000s, who brought back a provocative Gallic identity by ridding the newsroom of foreign staff and becoming a fashion icon in her own right.

Her successor, Alt, was a quieter presence, though she still oversaw key moments including its first transgender cover star, Brazilian Valentina Sampaio, in 2017.

But internet culture has created “a perfect storm” for Vogue, says media expert Douglas McCabe of Enders Analysis.

“The first 80 years of Vogue’s life, it had the market to itself, it was the bible for fashion,” McCabe told AFP.

“But online today, there are so many other ways to get your information. Influencers, Instagram, YouTube — everyone’s a threat.”

In a world where new fashion trends can blow up around the world in seconds, it has become much harder for a monthly magazine to set the pace.

“It’s not that they can’t survive for another 100 years — but they will be differently sized,” McCabe said.

Vogue has tried to branch out into different areas, including events.

“I used to work for a magazine, and today I work for a brand,” Alt said on the eve of French Vogue’s 1,000th issue in 2019.

But the big money was always in print, and Vogue Paris sales are dropping steadily from 98,345 in 2017 to 81,962 to 2020, according to data site ACPM.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the new top job in Paris, redefined as “head of editorial content”, went to Eugenie Trochu, who was key to building the magazine’s online presence.

She declared herself “thrilled to be part of Vogue’s international transformation”.

For the curator of the exhibition, it is ironic timing.

“We had no idea it would end like this when we started work on the exhibition,” said Lecallier.

“Who knows where it will go from here.”

The exhibition Vogue Paris 1920-2020 is at the Palais Galliera in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. The gallery is open 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday and is closed on Mondays. Tickets for the exhibition are €14 (€12 for concessions and under 18s go free) and must be reserved online in advance.