David Magnusson: Purity

David Magnusson (b.1983) is a Swedish photographer who wants to work at the interface between photo journalism and photographic art. In his Purity series Magnusson has photographed and interviewed young girls and their fathers in connection to the Purity Ball event in Louisiana, Colorado and Arizona in the United States.

At the event the girls commit themselves to leading a pure life in the eyes of God and to remain virgins until they marry. The fathers in turn promise to protect their daughters’ chastity and support their daughters in their commitment. Sometimes the fathers and daughters exchange rings at the event to seal the pledge. In the portraits photographed by Magnusson the fathers and daughters are featured in the clothes they were wearing during the ceremony.

The Purity series, despite its unembroidered and traditional form, offers in content a conflicted, even disconcerting, combination of love and the will to control both beauty and fear. Magnusson himself says that to him Purity is an example of how our values are shaped by the community where we are raised and how we interpret the world through our own values.

Aside from his artistic work, Magnusson has also worked as a freelance photographer for e.g. Save the Children, TIME Magazine and the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper. Purity has received several awards. Magnusson’s photographs have been published in TIME Magazine, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Der Spiegel, Stern, La Repubblica, BBC and The Daily Mail.


PVF 2015
The Finnish Museum of Photography