Café Lehmitz

about Anders Petersen

I hid in bars, because I didn’t want to hide in factories

Charles Bukowski

In 1968, Anders Petersen, thirsty, walked into the Café Lehmitz, by accident: he ordered a beer, then he placed his camera on a table and went into the bathroom. When he came back, he found the bar customers intent on shooting photographs with each other…

Since there, he took pictures in that bar for nearly three years, sleeping in the kitchen, so that might explain the level of intimacy he established with its regulars.

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“I look for a relationship with the people I photograph, and this is about longings, dreams, secrets. Perhaps also about nightmares and fears. A portrait does not only show the other person, it also tells you a lot about yourself, it’s a sort of a self-portrait. That is interesting — at least to me.

Born in 1944, in Solna, Sweden, Anders is one of the most influential photographers of his generation. After studying under Christer Strömholm at Stockholm’s renowned School of Photography between 1966 and 1968, he began working as a photojournalist for Swedish newspapers and magazines. Since that time, he has been particularly interested in people on the fringe of society.

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He seeks his subjects out in nightclubs, prisons, psychiatric institutions and nursing homes, capturing the socially isolated and the personal circumstances in compelling black and white visual essays.

“I am a maniac. I really continue asking questions mostly about myself. Sounds egotistic and probably it is. I am asking myself – who am I and why. And then I am looking for people and other beings to whom I identity myself — women, men, dogs, cats… I think it’s all about identification with people that I belong to.”

Expo 2013 © Frédéric Ponticelli

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