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Anders Petersen


Anders Petersen (ur. 1944, Solna) Jeden z najbardziej intrygujących współczesnych, szwedzkich fotografów. Zdobywca licznych nagród, w tym tytułu Fotografa Roku na francuskim festiwalu Rencontres d'Arles (2003). W 1967 rozpoczął fotografowanie stałych bywalców barów nocnych w Hamburgu: prostytutek, transwestytów, alkoholików, narkomanów. Projekt ten kontynuował przez kolejne 3 lata. W dorobku artysty znajduje się ponad 20 albumów i wiele wystaw prezentowanych zarówno w Europie, jak i w Azji.

Fotograficzny dorobek Andersa Petersena to zapis spotkań z ludźmi, którzy w trakcie tych spotkań przestają być nieznajomymi i poprzez fotografie trafiają do czegoś w rodzaju rodzinnego albumu autora. Niezależnie, czy tematem zdjęć jest nocny bar, osoba spotkana na ulicy czy szpital psychiatryczny – jest to kontynuacja tego samego procesu przekraczania granicy anonimowości i zbliżenia się do Innego. W tym sensie szpital psychiatryczny nie jest właściwym tematem zdjęć Petersena. W wywiadzie dla Joanny Karczmarewicz (Arles, 8.07.2006) autor mówi: Ja się boję w zasadzie wszystkiego. Ale nie uważam, żeby było w tym coś złego. Strach to chyba normalne uczucie. Bergman powiedział kiedyś, że codziennie rano musi wyjść na spacer, przewietrzyć się, bo jego demony nie lubią świeżego powietrza. Ja wychodzę na ulicę i robię zdjęcia. W ten sposób, poprzez fotografię, unicestwiam moje lęki. (photomonth)


Anders Petersen, one of the most important European photographers living today, has been shaking up the world of photography ever since his debut of raw and intimate photographs of late-night regulars in a Hamburg bar in the 1960s. That body of work was published as a book, Café Lehmitz, which is now widely considered a seminal work in the development of European photography. (On par with, but very different from, Robert Frank's The Americans).

It is practically impossible to separate the man from his photography. He carries his small Contax T3 always, and captures beauty in some of the most unlikely places. With his camera, he records an intensely curious and personal diary.


Born in Stockholm in 1944, he went out on his own, at age 18, to discover the world, starting with Hamburg, Germany. There he encountered a wild nightlife counter-culture which was incredibly and thrillingly different from his rather staid upbringing in Sweden. He soon befriended prostitutes, transvestites, alcoholics and drug users, and adopted a love of nightlife and people living beyond the margins of polite society.

After seeing one photograph made by Christer Strömholm (a cemetery at night with dark footprints in the snow), Petersen went back to Sweden to meet and study photography with Strömholm between 1966 and 1968. Then he returned to Hamburg, where over the course of several years and many many late nights, he took the photos that became his first book, Café Lehmitz.


Since then, he has gone on to publish more than 20 books, almost all of which feel like personal diaries of his experiences with people and places that are only encountered in the outskirts of towns or under cover of darkness.

For an extend period of time, he practically lived in a high-security prison to make the photographs for his 1984 book, Fangelse. He has also documented, in his highly personal style, the people in an insane asylum, and others living in a home for old people. In each body of work, Anders Petersen forces us to regard — from often uncomfortably close vantage points — situations and people that most of us would avoid at all costs. Yet, what he reveals is tenderness, beauty, and common humanity.


In 2005, Anders Petersen spent two two-week residencies in the towns of Gap and St. Etienne in southeast and central France, where he was able to find and photograph more of the outsiders and outcasts that always seem to attract him. The photographs are sometimes disturbingly intimate and difficult. When I first saw them exhibited in Arles in 2006, they made everything else on display at the huge photography festival pale in comparison. They became the “buzz” in Arles. And everyone realized that Anders Petersen (that wildly energetic 62-year-old guy) is still making some of the most arresting personal documentary photographs today — almost 40 years after the powerful and poignant photos from Café Lehmitz. (lensculture)

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