The Photo Festival in Landskrona, Sweden

Landskrona – a town of 30,000 inhabitants situated at the south-eastern coast of Sweden – has a vision:

“To become the home of photography in Scandinavia with a history museum and research facilities in co-operation with Lund University (a 30 min train ride south of it); it will arrange unique exhibitions of contemporary photography as well as the largest photo festival in Sweden.”

One wonders whether Landskrona’s cultural pioneers have been inspired by Marrakech in Morocco that has about the same vision?



The Citadel in Landskrona – photos being on display around and inside it
The Landskrona Photo Festival 2016 ran from August 19 to 28 – and if you couldn’t go there, there is both a fine website and an app.

It’s a remarkable and very welcome initiative of a rather small town; it proves that size is not of importance. It’s the vision and the investment and the synergy among enthusiasts that drive it all – something my town Lund, 4 times bigger, has no sense of.

This Festival is neither Photo London nor Photo Basel in terms of sophistication or quality. It is not a fair where works are sold. It’s very different – it’s about passion and giving various buildings, parks and even a citadel a new life, a new function. It’s about Landskrona’s vision that may lead to comerce, of course, but is not driven by a commercial motive. But there is all reason to believe that Landskrona will soon be on the international art photography map for real.

And it’s pleasantly down-to-earth and filled with talents from rather many corners of the world. A day pass is US $ 12 and the exhibitions take place in the Museum, the Japan-inspired Art Hall, at majestic Citadel, in parks, squares and local gallery spaces – all within some 600-800 metres of walk.

Landskrona is definitely what you’d call charming. The environment in which the exhibitions take place is a great asset that the Festival people exploit to its limit.


I usually start out these blog articles by stating that I am not an art critic but an art recommender. It means that I choose to tell my readers what I like, convey positive energy, inspire other photographers/artists and art lovers and make them want to go and see what I’ve seen. And – of course – what I mention below is only a selection of the places, artists and impressions.

Konsthallen – the Town Art Hall – hosted two young female artists allegedly dialoguing with each other, Elina Brotherus and Dorothée Smith. The text on this link offers an explanation and background but I just did not quite feel that dialogue – except for the identity dimension. In my view, Smith is by far the most interesting of the two; Brotherus somehow too self-focused for my taste. Brilliant photography for sure, but just did not speak to me.

Smith’s so-called Spectographie seemed abstract, intriguing and more explorative of the bigger world out there than Brotherus’ images in which, with few exceptions, she herself is the central object/subject.

IMG_8908Two works by Smith

IMG_8913Two works by Brotherus
Continue reading The Photo Festival in Landskrona, Sweden

Fotografiska in Stockholm

Fotografiska in Stockholm is one of the largest meeting places in the world for photography with about 500,000 visitors per year.


Stockholm floats on islands, not without similarities with Venice, but in contrast to Venice it has cars, too many cars, and the modernism and futurism of the 1960s destroyed a series of quarters in the city centre.

Fortunately Fotografiska is beautifully situated across the water from the Skeppsholmen island of the old town that is host to a lot of educational and historical building as well as museums, including the famous Moderna Museet.

Fotografiska – The Photographic – is a number of simultaneous exhibitions and a magazine, café, restaurant (good!), bookstore (fine diverse selection), courses, lectures and workshops.



And the opening hours are interesting, at least when I was there in July 2016: Sunday to Wednesday 9-23, Thursday-Saturday 9-01. How wonderful to go there in the late summer evening!


It will take you 30-40 minutes to walk from the Central Station to Fotografiska, and it is a breathtakingly beautiful stretch through old lanes, past the Parliament and Foreign Ministry etc. And then no less fascinating when in the late evening, or night, you walk back again. Try it!

Here is what one could see in late July: An exhibition of Nick Brandt, “Inherit The Dust”, “The Image Of Greta Garbo”, Bryan Adams’ “Exposed” and a selection from his “Wounded. The Legacy Of War” project; Hanna Modigh “Hurrican Seasons”, Aapo Huhta’s work as young Nordic prize winner and Åke Ericsson’s “Non Grata” about Roma people in Europe. I focus in the following on the first-mentioned four.

It will take you several hours to visit Fotografiska to do justice to the building, the environment, the bookstore etc – and of course the exhibitions. The rooms in this 1906 Art Nouveau-style customs building that the Stockholm City paid US$ 30 million to renovate – Fotografiska is otherwise a private enterprise – are ideal: Dark, fine spotlightning and excellently informative texts.

Nick Brandt

I’ve seen Brandt’s works before, at Photo London, and wasn’t so taken as many others – except of course for the superb technical quality. But what really was the idea, I wondered?

This time, I tried to understand them better and it helped a lot to watch the movie in which Brandt speaks about his motives and goals and how these pieces were done – and, yes, those inserted pictures are real and not PhotoShopped!

The fact that they are real, huge photo walls placed on location opened up for them to become interactive with the local population.


Continue reading Fotografiska in Stockholm

The Photographers’ Gallery and Deutsche Börse Prize

The Photographers’ Gallery in London – a few minutes from Oxford Circus – is a must for the photo enthusiast. It’s the type of institution any city should have in some shape or form as part of its cultural policy. The Photographers’ Gallery could serve as a model or inspiration, I believe, to anyone.

This is how the history of the place is presented on its homepage:

The Photographers’ Gallery was founded in 1971 by Sue Davies OBE in a converted Lyon’s Tea Bar at No. 8 Great Newport Street in London’s Covent Garden.

Free to the public, it was the first gallery in the world to be devoted solely to photography. The aim, born from Davies’ own passion for photography, and frustration that it was denied the consideration and exhibition platform of other visual arts, was to provide a proper home for photographers and their work, as well as establish the medium as a serious art form. Through an illuminating and influential programme of exhibitions, talks and educational activities, the Gallery elevated photography as an artistic and cultural leader whilst promoting its vital role as a social and historical document.

1971…the first gallery in the world devoted solely! Oh, how late in the history of art – and Oh, how fast things have changed!

Here is everything you may want to know before visiting this place which has changing exhibitions, library and education, print and book sales, online bookstore, lecture and meeting facilities, cafeteria and more – and still it is not big. You can see everything in an hour or two.


The main show when I visited was of the four shortlisted candidates for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2016: Laura El-Tantawy, Erik Kessels, Tobias Zielony and Trevor Paglen.

It was announced on June 10 that Paglen was the winner. Continue reading The Photographers’ Gallery and Deutsche Börse Prize

It’s a photolution…

No other art form is going through so big and fast changes as is photography. We are witnesses to a photographic revolution, a “photolution”.


What is it?

It has many element coming together in synergy. Here are some:

• The smartphones, their ever smaller and lighter equipment with ever more imprssive camera performance. It belongs to the past that, say, iPhone photos had to be low quality. True you can’t do with them what you can with a ‘real’ camera, a digital SLR, but you get super quality pictures with which you can do other things such as using:

Apps small and cheap tools helping you to do hitherto unimaginable things when taking and processing a shot. That you can’t do – yet – with a digital SLR, although I guess we shall soon get apps for them too – like you can now get extensions and accessories including lenses for the iPhone that make it come even closer to the DSLR.

• We can carry them with us permanently – “the best camera is the one you carry with you” and not the one you left at home, too bulky, heavy, expensive and thus risky to take along.

But of course the smartphone revolution is only one sub-revolution of the larger photolusion. Whether you use this or that type of digital camera, you become part of the very dynamic changes caused by:

Digitalisation – the end of expensive films and darkroom processing. Digital formats are free and can be processed in millions of ways – even to the point where the original shot is hard to identify.

Photoshopping – the immense possibilities embedded in that super complex software that makes your old darkroom look like a thing of the stone-age. While you can’t make a bad image better in Photoshop you can certain make a good one better – or turn it into something completely different such as a piece of abstract art, but still photography- based.

We increasingly live in an age of images and communicate through images. still or video. It is very true that one image can say more than a thousand words – not because texts are not important or effective as means of communication or because they can not give more vivid information and details but because people, grosso modo and sadly so – don’t seem to think that they have the time to read but do take time to see.

The latter is often quite superficial, however, as any gallery owner or museum guard will tell you. Research done at art museums reveals that the average time people spend in front of an art work is 15-30 seconds.

Social media and globalisation and Continue reading It’s a photolution…

In Memoriam Viggo Rivad 1922-2016 (in English)


Viggo Rivad – born July 3, 1922, died February 8, 2016

By Jan Oberg

Viggo Rivad, grand old man of Danish photography, exhibited for the first time in 1946 and has been influential in his field over almost 7 decades.

He has given Denmark a lot of classical photo series like A Goodbye, Lauritz, Koefod’s School and B&W Teglholmen, several photo books from around the world, public art installations such as at Copenhagen Kastrup Airport and the Danish Railways (DSB); 40,000 negatives donated to the Royal National Library and collections of photos at the Museum of Photographic Art in Odense. His retrospective exhibition there in 2012 counted 180 master works.

Rivad’s official homepageis here.

Rivad was what I would call a humanist photographer or people photographer.

With deep respect for his subjects he gave dignity to the under-privileged, the old and the marginalised people. He would get to know them before he pulled out his camera, even moved in with them and made friends like he did at Kofoed’s School (a centre for people without work, vulnerable citizens and others at the bottom of society) and the occupiers’ movement (BZ) in the 1970s.

He was the photographic story-teller par exellence – and great at talking about his works, their background, his intentions and how he’d created them.

But he wasn’t interested in talking about himself. Modesty is a catchword of high relevance to describe Viggo Rivad – who never wanted to earn his living by photography but served as a taxi driver for decades in Copenhagen, the city he was born in, lived in all his life, photographed and loved. A bit like Saul Leiter. Continue reading In Memoriam Viggo Rivad 1922-2016 (in English)

In Memoriam Viggo Rivad 1922 – 2016 (in Danish)

Rivad med et selvportræt, fotograferet i marts 2015 © Jan Øberg
Rivad med et selvportræt, fotograferet i marts 2015 © Jan Øberg

Viggo Rivad
Født 3. juli 1922, død 8. februar 2016

Af Jan Øberg

Viggo Rivad, grand old man i dansk fotografi, debuterede i 1946 og prægede området i næsten 70 år.

Han har givet Danmark en mængde klassiske billedserier som Et Farvel, Lauritz, Kofoeds Skole ogB & W Teglholmen, et antal fotobøger fra den store verden, udsmykninger for DSB og Kastrup Lufthavn, 40.000 negativer på Det kongelige Bibliotek og en samling på Fotomuseet i Odense. Hans retrospektive udstilling dér i 2012 talte 180 værker. 

Rivad var menneskefotograf. I dyb respekt for sine subjekter løftede han de underpriviligerede, gamle og marginaliserede op til værdighed. Han lærte dem at kende før han tog kameraet frem, – ja han flyttede endog ind hos dem som på Kofoeds Skole og hos BZerne.

Han var den fotografiske fortæller par excellence – og en fremragende fortæller om sine billeder. Kun sjældent om sig selv. Beskedenhed er et nøgleord for Rivad, der ikke ville leve af sin kunst men tjente sit levebrød som taxachauffør i det København han boede i hele livet, elskede og fotograferede. Continue reading In Memoriam Viggo Rivad 1922 – 2016 (in Danish)