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Maria Sandgren was born in Umeå, Sweden and lives and works in Stockholm. She has been involved in psychology all her professional life and started photography and singing jazz in recent years. 

The inspiration for her photo projects comes from personal experiences, psychology, and societal problems. She stages emotions, vulnerability, traces of human encounters, and closeness. She uses small means to achieve shifts in expression. She works in black and white and colour based on a pure and concrete visual language. 


Before each project, she works through an inner process in which impressions, personal experiences, and psychological science lead to a kind of mental starting point for visually representing an experience or certainty of some kind in the next step. With the physical work in front of her, the exploration continues and takes shape in more sensory impressions and expressions. 


A strand of performativity recurs in several of the projects: in the preparation for taking a picture, by participating in the picture herself, and in how close the themes in the pictures are to her personal experiences and knowledge of psychology. The desire for the performative element may come from dance experience, as she danced classical, modern, and jazz dance growing up. Her years working with psychology are visible in her stance to bring universal experiences and a humanistic agenda to both photography, text, and music.


In her music, she creates acts based on the lyrics of the American songbook and other jazz standards. She works with a pianist in the WIT Duo (WIT is an abbreviation of "Where is the therapy"). In pieces like "The Small Love Concert" and "The Change Concert," she takes as her starting point a certain theme such as the many faces of love and the changeability of life. She is currently working on "A case study of Anna and Tom", in which the story of Anna and Tom and their journey of finding, losing, and finding love again is portrayed with the help of jazz songs and some text. The acts can be seen as related to the photographic projects. 


See below a selection of training programmes, presentations, etc. related to artistic psychology and practice. 



Photographic processes,

Gamleby Folk High School,



Individual artistic project,

HDK-Valand, Göteborg University,




(affect-focused) therapist


PhD in psychology,

Stockholm University,



Reg. psychologist,

Uppsala University,



Business owner, psychologist in private practice, educator, artist, Psychological Forum Sweden AB 

Affiliated researcher, School of Health, Care and Welfare, Mälardalen University, Sweden


Research interests

Work psychology, music psychology, and political psychology


See my publications here

Group exhibition

2024 | Graduation exhibition, Gamleby Folk High School, Studio Tabac, Stockholm

2024 | Slide show at industry days for the Swedish Association of Photographers (SFF), Fotografiska, Stockholm



2000-2019 | A large number of presentations at international conferences in music psychology and social psychology 

2024 | Panel discussion on artists' health, The International Artist Managers' Association (IAMA)

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