Örnen efter landningen. Ur serien Ingenjör Andrées luftfärd

Nils Strindberg, Örnen efter landningen. Ur serien Ingenjör Andrées luftfärd, 14/7 1897 Gelatin Silver Print © Nils Strindberg

Written in Light


The third part of Another Story. Photo- graphy from the Moderna Museet Collection has the subtitle Written in Light. It delineates the infancy of photography, from the moment when the Frenchman Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre developed the photographic process of the daguerreotype in 1839, to August Sander’s fascinating project People of the Twentieth Century, black-and-white portraits of German citizens from the first half of the 20th century.

In six rooms we present several pio- neering feats of photography, unique works that contribute to Moderna Museet’s exceptional position among photography-collecting institutions. The section includes Julia Margaret Cameron, who portrayed famous Brits in the 1860s, revealing both their inner and outer character.

Julia Margaret Cameron, The Mountain Nymph, Sweet Liberty, 1866

Guillaume Berggren’s photographs from 1880s Constantinople are legendary, as are Carleton E. Watkins’ documentation of the American West a few decades earlier. In addition to portraits, landscapes, nature and architecture were typical subjects for the early photographers. A few examples of present-day photography are inter- spersed, for instance Tom Hunter’s series in which he explored the urban landscape in the wake of industrialism around the turn of the millennium.

What does pictorialism stand for? In one of the larger rooms, we show photographs from the late 1800s up to the outbreak of the First World War, by photographers who were primarily fascinated by optical and visual issues. A seminal figure in the field of art photography is Henry B. Goodwin, famous for his striking artist portraits, painterly nudes and softly hazy Stockholm views.

Photography literally means “written in light”. The various experiments and remarkable documentations shown here encompass Nils Strindberg’s pho- tographs from a disastrous balloon expedition to the North Pole in 1897. Three decades later, his negatives were developed, and the resulting prints are now in the Moderna Museet collection of photography.

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