Linnéa Geiger paints with her camera. She uses light, shadow, angle, and observation like a paintbrush to capture human connections. She doesn’t pose her subjects or rely on props, matching outfits, uncomfortable clothes, or forced smiles. Linnéa documents life, and especially motherhood, as it is. She asks only that her subjects be fully present for relaxing and enjoyable photography sessions.
A romantic and realist, Linnéa wants to create “soulful memories” of real love, not fairy tales, yet her portfolio seems magical. World-renowned professionals agree, as her award-winning work has been featured in Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, Today, and Buzzfeed, among many other national and international publications.
A recent challenging diagnosis changed things for Linnéa, but as she puts it, her health problems have only “increased the constant ache in [her] to create meaningful art.”
Meet the woman behind the camera and her vision.
Sitting in the shade of the big tree at Reformation Brewery in Woodstock, Linnéa and her mother, Britt-Marie Linblad, visiting from Sweden, talk about babies, motherhood, and how Linnéa got to where she is.
Linnéa was born in Norrtälje, Sweden. She spent her summers sailing the ocean with her family. In the winters, which she describes as “super dark, cold, wet, and very cozy,” she enjoyed downhill and Nordic skiing as well as ice skating. Linnéa says it was a comfortable childhood, and she remembers her mother working hard to ensure her little girl felt safe and secure in the world.
After high school Linnéa, a born traveler, went to live and work in China for two years. She returned to Sweden to attend college and then participated in an exchange program which brought her around the world to Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
At Mercer Linnéa met a handsome young man named Casey Geiger. Casey is the son of local attorney Chris Geiger and Christie Geiger, both long-time Cherokee County residents.
Linnéa needed help understanding the classes and getting around Macon without a car, and Casey was kind and helpful. Casey’s virtuousness seems to come through in pictures, although Linnéa didn’t know then how photogenic he was; it was a perk she discovered later. Eventually things turned romantic, and in southern style, Casey took Linnéa to Cracker Barrel for their first date. What girl can resist that kind of wooing? The relationship progressed, and Casey even went to Sweden on an exchange program.
In 2010 the couple married in Savannah, Georgia, then moved to Colorado, where Linnéa and Casey’s first son, Walter, was born. Motherhood initially didn’t go as Linnéa had hoped. Linnéa underwent an emergency Cesarean section, which she says left her feeling like she was “in the movie The Matrix, strapped to a board with wires and tubes everywhere and completely out of control.”
After Linnéa’s disheartening birth experience, little Walter didn’t sleep. At all. Linnéa and Casey were exhausted and felt they had no support. Linnéa repeated the lament of most new mothers: “I felt I had no idea what I was doing.”
Linnéa’s mother, Britt-Marie, echoes the same sentiment from her own experience as a new mother. “Your first baby is like the first pancake you make; it’s a trial pancake; it’s your lesson pancake.” Britt-Marie laughs and looks at her first pancake, Linnéa, with such affection that it’s obvious she adores her.
A year after Walter’s birth, Casey gave Linnéa a camera as an anniversary gift; he recognized she had a good eye for taking photographs. The gift marked the beginning of Linnéa finding a way to express herself creatively and reclaim herself from the all-consuming task of being a mother.
With the pregnancy and birth of her second son, Theodore, in 2017, Linnea had twice the number of little photogenic models to capture with her camera. As her confidence and ability grew, so did her body of work, and soon friends began asking Linnéa to take photos of their babies and their children’s birthday parties.
Georgia on My Mind
The Geigers moved to Woodstock so Casey could join his father’s law firm, Geiger Legal Group. After moving, Linnéa became increasingly interested in birth photography, compelled to witness a better birth than her own. She contacted a doula in her neighborhood to help her explore the idea. Before long, the doula—a trained professional who provides emotional, informational, and physical support before and during childbirth—and an expectant mother invited Linnéa to photograph a birth. Linnéa glows talking about it. “It was unbelievable, the mother [was] calm, and the doula took charge; and it was a completely different experience than the one I had. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.” Linnéa refers to her birth photography as the act of “photographing you meeting the love of your life.”
The move to Georgia also gave the family more support. Linnéa says, “Back in Colorado, anyone in our sons’ lives was paid to be there: babysitters, et cetera. Now there are two people—Chris and Christie, the boys’ grandparents—who love them as much as we do and want to spend time with them. Our family doubled; it’s really beautiful.” Linnéa loves getting photos of generations of family together whenever she can.
The timing of more family support for Linnéa and Casey was crucial when Linnéa began struggling with health problems. Anyone with small children will tell you they can be exhausting, but it felt like more than that to Linnéa. Getting medical answers took years; the boys were ages four and six when Linnéa finally received a life-changing diagnosis.
A Scary Diagnosis
On August 23, 2021, Linnéa was in Phoenix, Arizona, to work on a photo shoot for a hospital. She woke up in the morning partially blind in her left eye. Linnéa thought it was the result of the stress on her body from the plane ride. She completed the job but still had not regained her eyesight when she returned home from Phoenix. Linnéa and Casey began investigating with eye doctors. Finally a knowledgeable eye doctor recognized the situation as an emergency and sent her immediately to the Emory University Hospital Emergency Department.
Because of the pandemic Linnéa was alone in a dark room with her eye patched, away from her children and Casey, undergoing testing, and becoming increasingly anxious.
The tests diagnosed Linnéa, then aged thirty-seven, with multiple sclerosis [MS]: a frighteningly unpredictable neurological disease wherein the immune system attacks the myelin sheath around nerve cells, causing communication problems between the brain and the body. Women are statistically two to three times more likely to develop MS than men. It is often labeled a “silent disease” or an “invisible illness,” as many people living with MS look no different but suffer from symptoms like vision problems, sensory problems, cognitive problems, and pain.
A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis brings you to a complete stop, and you reevaluate everything. As quickly as the click of a camera shutter, everything looked different. Linnéa now suspects she may have had MS for at least a few years before her disease was identified.
Ever the documentarian, Linnéa took a screenshot of Britt-Marie’s face when she heard her daughter’s diagnosis over a video call. Britt-Marie’s usually youthful, attractive face crumpled in grief and worry. Although she is back to her vibrant self, Britt-Marie’s eyes still reflect concern.
Because Linnéa received swift treatment at Emory University Hospital and the Atlanta Neuroscience Institute, her eyesight has returned to her left eye. However, her perspective—which comes from her soul, not her optic nerve—remains permanently altered. Linnéa says her diagnosis clarified what type of photography she wanted to pursue. “I am even more interested in documentary-style or time-capsule photography: the small, mundane moments of motherhood—packing lunches, changing diapers, feeding the baby—that make up what being a mother is.”
MS has also changed the kind of mother Linnéa is physically able to be. Energy is in low supply. MS and heat are fierce enemies, which is not a great combination when you live in the South. Britt-Marie and Linnéa express thanks that Casey is an involved father eager to handle the more active parts of parenting.
When asked her hopes for this article, Linnéa responds, “I hope it gives mothers some relief to see a truer reflection of motherhood. Motherhood is hard; it isn’t what it looks like in most pictures. It’s a messy house, bottles in the sink, you still in your pajamas at five p.m., and piles of unfinished laundry. But the beauty is that you are trying, and you show up day after day.”
Linnéa’s work has become her absolution, as if by illuminating the challenges of the gritty day-to-day of motherhood she makes peace with the mother she can be: tired, grateful, frustrated, happy, in love with her children, overwhelmed, and in love with the role all at the same time.
Britt-Marie affirms, “Linnéa has always been a brilliant mother.” It seems to run in the family.
See more of Linnéa’s award-winning photography at LinneaGeiger.com.
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Leana Conway has been a Cherokee County resident for 22 years. Leana is originally from Canada but calls the South her home now. When she’s not writing about the fascinating neighbors she meets for Enjoy Cherokee Magazine, she’s busy as a full-time caregiver to her husband. Leana is also a blogger, mom, and new Oma (grandma in Dutch). Her life philosophy is “Find your calling, and you will find joy.”