Anders Petersen is a Swedish photographer who was born in Stockholm in 1944.
He studied photography under Christen Strömholm from 1966 to 1968, becoming not only one of his best students but also one of his closest friends and absorbing from the great Scandinavian master a sense of tensions between unyielding discipline, absolute sincerity and freedom.
In 1967, he began photographing at Café Lehmitz, a bar in Hamburg's Reeperbahn teeming with prostitutes, dropouts and the fringe elements that went to make up a warm-hearted family of non-conformists with whom he identified. Anders lived there for three years, took photos on the fly and painted a moving portrait of a drifting humanity he loved deeply. The project gave rise to a book published eight years later, in 1978, by Schirmer / Mosel in Germany, which is considered a seminal book in the history of European photography. Years later, Café Lehmitz would also enter pop culture thanks to a photograph used by Tom Waits for the cover of his 1985 album Rain Dogs.
During the next ten years, Petersen became attached to a long-term project on the closed circles.
In 1984 appears the first book of this trilogy, Fängelse, dedicated to his project in a maximum-security prison, where he lived for a long period. Will follow the publications of his work within a retirement home, Rågång till kärleken (1991), and inside a psychiatric hospital, Inger har sett allt(1995). Anders Petersen's work from 2000s to the present increasingly has taken the form of a diary, based on visual encounters in the different places around the world he explores, Okinawa, Valparaiso, Soho in London, Sète, Rome, Paris, Stockholm. He has developed and reinforced his personal and intimate vision of documentary photography expressed through the use of poignant and strongly contrasted black and white.
Anders Petersen has published more than 40 books and won numerous prizes and awards, including: The Arles Photographer of the Year Award, 2003; the Jury’s Special Prize for the exhibition Exaltation of Humanity at the international photography festival in Lianzhou, China, 2007; the Dr. Erich Salomon Award of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie, 2008; The Arles Contemporary Book Award together with JH Engström for From Back Home, 2009. Furthermore, Petersen received Paris Photo and the Aperture Foundation Photo Book of the Year Award, 2012, for City Diary, and Lennart af Petersen’s prize, 2019.
Anders Petersen’s work is represented in the collections of Fotografiska Stockholm, The Museum of Modern Art New York, Hasselblad Center Göteborg, The Bibliothèque nationale de France Paris, Centre Pompidou Paris, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Moderna Museet Stockholm, Maison Européenne de la Photographie Paris, Museum Folkwang Essen, and Fotomuseum Winterthur, among others. He’s had both solo and group exhibitions regularly around the world since 1969.
Napoli / Anders Petersen
Launch at Paris Photo 2023