Anders Petersen

Sanae, Paris, 2001

Gelatin-silver print, 60.5 x 50.4 cm
Collection Fotomuseum Winterthur
Inv. no. 2003-035-003
© Anders Petersen

Anders Petersen
b. 1944 (Stockholm, SE), lives and works in Stockholm, SE

In the late 1960s, a young Swedish photographer from a sheltered background, who had learned his photographic techniques and to some extent his life skills from the famous Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm, arrived at the Café Lehmitz, off the Reeperbahn, the red light district of Hamburg. Over a period of two or three years, Anders Petersen was a regular at the spit-and-sawdust beer hall. His book of photographs, Café Lehmitz, published in 1978, chronicled its regulars – dockers, cab drivers, prostitutes and pimps – who lived on the edges of bourgeois society, with a touch of black humour and a hint of despair. More books followed, about the ageing process, imprisonment, and people in psychiatric care. The subject matter says it all: Anders Petersen works on the margins of society, the places where the disenfranchised find a home, where life is raw and hard. His photographs show the damage, the constraints, the hope and laughter in the middle of despair. Recently, his photographs have become more diaristic, and these new pictures make it clearer than ever how close he gets to people. He emphasizes the veneer of civilised society and breaks through it to show the energies that lie within us: aggression, sexuality, eroticism, yearning, warmth. His photography is passionate and deeply human.