Friday, March 24
It’s only appropriate that on the day we visited Fotografiska, Stockholm’s Photography Exhibit Hall, that a lovely photographer would join us. So, we awaited her arrival checking the street every now and then in anticipation. On one of the peeks out the window we caught sight of her, and our friend from home, Kathryn Davis, had arrived!
Unsure of her energy level after a long, overnight flight from Boson, we wondered if she’d be up for a photography exhibit; but, within an hour, she announced she was ready to go. We walked to the bus stop then hopped on the ferry Max and I had ridden the day before only to discover it wasn’t going to where we thought we’d be going; yet, I can’t say any of us cared for the sun was out, the sky was blue, and we were in STOCKHOLM for crying out loud.
We stayed aboard to return to the Gamla Stan (the island of the old town) then walked to Sodermalm, Stockholm’s southern island and ‘edgy, arty part of town’ as per THE LONELY PLANET. Stopping every now and then to take in the view, this one being a favorite of mine:
Fotografiska doesn’t present itself as a museum but rather as ‘an international meeting place for photography’. Opened in 2010 this site remains extremely popular with its 20 or so exhibitions and over 770 events annually. Drawing over half-a-million visitors a year we added our bodies to that count and eagerly purchased our tickets.
Entering the first room I felt I had stepped inside a sumptously jeweled, Faberge Egg. The quiet darkness created a velvet softness instilling a reverence for the art displayed in front of us. Following my own path through the individual works of the four photographers, I became immersed in this visual feast.
If you ever get the opportunity to see any of these photographers’ work, do so. Their photographs mesmerize and leave an indelible impression on one’s mind. Each of the four represented such different perspectives of life views and art. All were stunning.
PATRICK DEMARCHELIER (b 1943)
I’ve appreciated this French photographer’s work in fashion magazines, but what impressed me even more was hearing how well liked he was in addition to being admired by both peers and his lens’ subjects. The curator’s description of his photography echoes this unpretensioness, stating ‘his work is defined by the simplicity and modest approach he has with his models’. Look at this gorgeous shot, one of many illustrating Demarchelier’s beautiful eye.
However, when asked what his favorite portraits is,
it’s not an iconic photograph of someone like Lady Di,
but Puffy, Puffy being his beloved dog.
I like this guy.
LENNART NILSSON (1922-2017)
A Child is Born
If you’re of the age when LIFE MAGAZINE was a household staple, then you’ll probably remember Nilsson’s mind-blowing images of embryos from the 60s. I do; yet, instead of feeling underwhelmed I experienced once again the wonder of how he turned the seemingly impossible into possible.
With such curiosity Nilsson contributed to the technical advancement in photography. As a Stockholm native, he holds a special place at Fotografisk. No wonder considering the images he left behind.
REN HANG (1987-2017)
My mind utters an ‘Aha’ when reading Hang was a poet as well as a photographer. Sadly he committed suicide in February of this year. You may recall seeing these provocatively posed portraits published online with the news of his untimely death . I remember being impressed by the powerful playfulness of his subjects. They appear less as subjects and more as collaborators. And, I enjoyed the discovery of understanding what was appearing in front of me, such as eyes of red thumbs.
Some of his photos are raw while others cause wonder but all are well-crafted. Standing in front of his work I am thankful his photographs will continue to share his voice with the world.
SARAH COOPER (b 1974) & NINA GORFER (b 1979)
I Know Not These Hands
These two women’s work left me spellbound. Their photographs, some made as collages, dominate a wall with their size and intensity of colors.
Stories lie behind each portrait, some presented in a series, and all deserve so much more time than what I gave them when touring this gallery space.
The two photographers appeared in a short film explaining their work, which only made me want to see and hear more from them.
If I had to choose to have seen only one exhibit out of the four, their photographs would have been it.
And, if I had to have chosen just one photograph, it’s this one of a young Kyrgyzstan woman titled “The Leaving“, part of a series documenting that country’s tradition of bride kidnapping. Can’t you just see her fleeing?
We left Fotografiska in awe of the artistic work we saw. Meandering back to Gamla Stan and catching the metro home, we realized we had seen one of the true gems of this city. And, what a magical immersion it was.
Next, history unfolds in PART IV…