Christer Strömholm, Hiroshima, 1963/1981 © Christer Strömholm/Bildverksamheten Strömholm

See the World!


Many documentary photographers are driven by a strong urge to portray events, places and people in their everyday surroundings. For some, it has been a life-long commitment to uncover and reveal social injustices. For others, it has represented a way of sharing experiences and developing documentary photography in a more personal and artistic direction.

The camera give photographers opportunities to approach vulnerable, sometimes hidden or forgotten, groups and environments. This presentation includes Larry Clark’s intimate and controversial photographs of his drugabusing friends in their hometown, Tulsa. The same theme is found in Nan Goldin’s raw colour portraits.

Couple in bed, Chicago
Nan Goldin, Couple in bed, Chicago, 1977 Dye destruction print, Cibachrome © Nan Goldin

Amalias Street 5a is on the outskirts of old Riga, a wooden house with 37 inhabitants, documented by the photographer Inta Ruka since 2004. Together with Antanas Sutkus, she is a prominent figure on the Baltic photography scene that commented on and adapted itself to the Soviet Union in the 1980s and 90s, and then documented the changes in the post-Soviet era.

Christer Strömholm and his students also worked in the documentary tradition. Anders Petersen is perhaps the photographer who has most distinctly followed in Strömholm’s footsteps, as in his legendary series from Café Lehmitz in Hamburg (1967–70). Other photographers who have developed individual perspectives in their portrayals of Swedish society are JH Engström, Catharina Gotby and Lars Tunbjörk.

Throughout the history of photography, photographers have ventured for long periods into other people’s worlds and lives. To do that, however, and to earn their living while doing it, many photographers have worked simultaneously on independent projects, and on various commercial assignments. This has led to interesting links and shifts between socially oriented reportage, documentary projects, portrait photography and photographic art.

Inta Ruka, Rihards Stibelis. From the series Amãlija's street 5a, 2006 Reproduction photo: Prallan Allsten. © Inta Ruka / Bildupphovsrätt 2016
Anders Petersen, Lilly och Rosenkavaljeren. From the series Café Lehmitz, 1967–1970 © Anders Petersen

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