Anders Petersen is one of the most important European photographers living today. He has shaken up the world of photography since his debut with raw and intimate photographs of late night guests in a Hamburg bar in the 1960s. This work was published as a book, Café Lehmitz, which is now widely regarded as an important work in the development of European photography. (On a par with, but very different from, Robert Frank’s “The Americans”).
It is practically impossible to distinguish the man from his photography. He always wears his little Contax T3 and captures beauty in some of the most unlikely places imaginable. With his camera, he captures moments for an intensely curious and personal diary.
Anders was born in Stockholm. In 1944, at the age of 18, he set out on his own to discover the world, beginning in Hamburg, Germany. There he encountered a wild nightlife culture that was incredibly exciting and completely different from his fairly stable upbringing in Sweden. He soon became friends with prostitutes, transvestites, alcoholics and drug addicts, and adopted a love for nightlife and for people living outside the confines of the normally accepted society.
After seeing a photograph of Christer Strömholm (a picture of 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. He then returned to Hamburg, where he for several years and many many late nights took the photos that became his first book, Café Lehmitz.
Since then, he has published more than 20 books, almost all of which feel like personal diaries about his experiences with people and places found only in the somewhat shadier areas of cities or in the darkness of night.
Anders’ photographs speak for themselves, but it is a joy to listen to him. His lecture at the festival will, among other things, touch on one of many things that are so characteristic of his photography: how he works to get as close to people as he does in all his projects. What does the process look like to achieve friendship and collaboration with strangers around the world? And not least the mix between spontaneity and planned photography.