Tobias Nicolai

Mathilde Mackowski for Zetland

A short while after Mathilde Mackowskis alcoholic father had comitted suicide she started her third year on business college. And there she used the escape routine she had learned as a child to escape reality. Avoiding classes and assignments and everything that resembled a reality in school. It helped hanging out with the guys. They didn’t ask that many questions and were more into beer bowling. “I did all the things my father did,” she laughs.

And then the letter from school arrived. She stood in the house at home in Silkeborg and thought: Now I’m getting kicked out.

“Dear Mathilde,” her mother read. “You have been selected as a scholarship recipient - either because of your academic results or your conduct as a human being”

“I was just like what the fuck,” she remembers. “try reading it out loud again.” Her mother read it once again. And it was true. Mathilde didn’t get the kick. She had received 3000 kroner - a fortune back then - for being a good friend in the class. Her disappearing act had pulled her from school but it had also pushed her closer to her friends.

Later at a big ceremony she had to accept the scholarship in front of the whole school with six or seven chosen students. “It was the sharpest heads at Silkeborg business college - all those super cool people. And then me.” She remembers being called to the stage in front of everyone. “It was embarrassing because everyone knew I had not done today’s good deed.” But her mother thought it was fantastic. “She said, that it was way cooler to get the scholarship for my personality”

Client: Zetland

Words: Hakon Mosbech

Art direction: Mikkel Bøgild Jacobsen


Rewilding for Weekendavisen

Natural. An intense drama about animals and humans, hunger and freedom takes place in Mols Bjerge. And in a short while this drama will spread to the whole country when 15 new natural national parks will be pointed out. Here nature will be the first in line, step in front of our needs and habits. And large grazers will live as wild as possible behind fences. 

Both supporters and opponents look towards Mols where three rewilding projects are taking place. They look especially towards Molslaboratoriet that has been experimenting with pure rewilding since 2016. Mols Bjerge is polemical red-hot, shitstormish and under siege by Facebook. The problem is that all three projects have had or have ongoing cases about the abuse of the animals set to save the Danish nature.

Molslaboratoriet has been reported to the police a great number of times and has had five control visits this winter with no remarks. Which means that people visiting nature - or people at home behind their screens - react more thin-skinned than professionals.

In the hills Morten DD strikes out his arms and says for the umpteenth time how wonderfully beautiful it is: “That’s why this damn talk about horses and cattle becomes so flat. The case about the horses is about something deeper and way more important. It is about nature being both beautiful and harsh, that life is harsh, even for humans. We can’t avoid being confronted with suffering once in a while. The idea that animals do not suffer in nature does not hold. In return they are as free as they can be within the boundaries of the law. They live the freest life”


Words: Pernille Stensgaard & Kristoffer Lottrup 

Photo editor: Peter Helles Eriksen 

Layout: Mathias Hoeg


Caspar Eric for Børsen

“The body is our foundation for how we experience the world, but I think it’s sometimes easier to understand and describe yourself by listening to others. So that’s what I’m trying to do. And then I am also trying to escape the idea that some are handicapped and others are not,” says the 34-year old poet and author. Caspar Eric was born with cerebral parese that makes him limp significantly on his right leg and for several years he has expressed himself and challenged the view about the handicapped body in his literature. He continues this theme in a new radio show on DR’s P1 called “Det vi går rundt med” in which he walks and talks with 12 different guests about their view on the body and what they themselves carry in life’s invisible backpack.
For Børsen Weekend
Words: Thomas Møgelbjerg Pedersen
Editor: Chris Pedersen
Photo Editor: Sofia Wraber


Talk and dinner / Copenhagen Photo Festival

Talk and dinner hosted by Atla at Lille on Refshaleøen as part of the official program of Copenhagen Photo Festival. 

ATLA is teaming up with the amazing crew from Lille Bakery for a photographic talk and delicious dinner during Copenhagen Photo Festival on the 30th of June from 16.30 - 22. This evening we will explore the danish citizen test, it’s 40 questions and what’s behind them. We will learn about the bizarre yet funny birthday tradition of getting covered in cinnamon when turning 25 — sometimes in a very dramatic setting. We are going to get so close that we can almost taste the sweetness of the spice in the air. We will wonder, laugh and explore together with the talented photojournalists and their projects ‘The Ritual’ by Tobias Nicolai and ‘All you should know’ by Ida Marie Odgaard and Ivan Boll. After the talk, lille will prepare a wonderful three course menu to share and hopefully continue the conversation. Through both photo journalistic bodies of works, ’All you should know’ by Ida Marie Odgaard and Ivan Boll and ’The Ritual’ by Tobias Nicolai, we will explore the questions of when and why something is defined as Danish – both through the 40 questions of the the Danish citizenship test, and the rite of passage to get covered in cinnamon on your 25th birthday.”

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Skin for Weekendavisen

Commissioned to shoot photos for a piece in Weekendavisen on how we treat our skin.

“No shampoo, no conditioner, no soap, no deodorant, no lotions. The american doctor James Shamblin has not showered for five years, and he is far from alone. A lot of the people who knows our skin follows the same strategy. Just like the biologists long for wild, untouched forrest, the microbiologists long for wild untouched skin where the microorganisms kan live. They want us to forget what we know about skincare and let the skin do what its good at.

online here

Words: Pernille Steensgaard

Photo editor: Mie Brinkmann

Layout: Liv Ajse


Diversions curated by Little Stories

Collection of 15 images under the title ‘Closest Things’ featured in the Diversions gallery curated by Little Stories. 

“The things closest to us interest me the most. A spiderweb on a balcony in the first light of day soon fading back to normal when the sun burns off the dew. My brother’s eye on his 31st birthday. A young author picking up a tiny frog in the palm of his hand. I find myself being magnetically drawn to the details and aesthetics of the things we think we know. To get as close as possible. I am interested in portraying my surroundings, and by lifting subjects away from their environment and placing them in another context I can highlight the exoticness in our vicinity that I am endlessly fascinated with and thereby challenge perceptions and expectations. Whether I am working on larger documentary projects, on commissioned assignments or just happen to stumble upon a farmer burning off bush on a field I am always looking for the extraordinary in the everyday and mundane.”

http://diversions.mcslittlestories.com/tobiasnicolai/


Euroman cover

Peter Humaidan, doctor and professor in fertility and reproduction, is one ninth of this month’s cover of Euroman where the magazine does an inventory of the Danish man anno 2021. 

It is an incredible mission in itself every time a sperm cell fertilizes an egg - there are so many ways it can go wrong, and it has only gotten harder. During the last four decades the quantity of sperm cells in the western world has dropped 50 percent and the danish man is right at the bottom of the European sperm barometer. But in the bleak light of these numbers Peter Humaidan is very optimistic. Instead of focusing on the quantity we should look at the quality of sperm and how our lifestyle affects it - a new way back into the battle against involuntary childlessness and the road to supersemen. 

In the case of infertility the blame is often cast on the woman and her eggs, but the semen might as well be the problem. And many men don’t even realize that. But in the later years it has become clear that lifestyle is a major factor in the quality of sperm, and that the man himself can take an active role in making sure that the sperm is of the finest quality.

Shot for Euroman

Words by Anders Ryehauge

Artdirection Twentyten


Visual Wanderings

Featured in Visual Wanderings by editor and founder of Objektiv Press Nina Strand, where artist from all over the world are invited to create art that responds to our new situation.

“The sun is slowly working its way over the apartment buildings across the street and marks its process by turning more and more rooms golden. I envy the people living there. And suddenly a small corner on my concrete balcony turns into an ethereal place. The hard light of the new year accentuates this shining emblem of hard work, and will ironically also fade it back to normal. Soon the heat from the sun will make the dew droplets evaporate and the spider can return to its daily business.”


Eylem Teke for Zetland

My poems are like my acne. They shall not disappear.

“Yahya Hassen has done something truly unique. He has paved a road that others can take. When we meet Eylem at her high school, hardly anyone knows that Eylem is taking that road now. Only a few know that she writes poetry, that she uses them to tear herself away from the parallel society she feels she has grown up in. Now even her parents know about her poetry. But they will very soon.” Until now it was only Eylem’s student counsellor and two of her teachers that knew about it. So it’s a huge honor to have a tiny-little photo-part in the introduction of Eylem Teke to the rest of Denmark. 

Read online here

Shot on assignment for  Zetland

Words by Nanna Schelde

Art direction Mikkel Bøgild Jacobsen

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