Christer Strömholm (1918-2002) is one of the most influential Swedish photographers of our time. His exhibition Post Scriptum will now be put on display at Kalmar Castle. The exhibition is a comprehensive retrospective of Christer Strömholm’s career, containing both classic photos as well as work that has never been displayed before.
Christer Strömholm studied painting in the 1940s for Isaac Grünewald and Otte Sköld. He was a volunteer during World War II and participated in the Norwegian resistance movement. After the war Strömholm left for Paris, where he discovered that it was photography that provided him with the modes of expression that he had searched for. It was in Paris that he was later acquainted with the transsexuals surrounding Place Blanche. Strömholm’s series of pictures about them, The Friends of Place Blanche (1959 -1968) is his most groundbreaking work. “The birds of the night”, as the transsexuals were called, became Strömholm’s close friends. The pictures are personal accounts of their lives, and they illustrate the importance of maintaining your own life and identity, an insight as true today as it was at the time.
Strömholm worked almost exclusively with black-and-white photography and with constantly recurring themes such as death, life, the private sphere, and friendships. His photographs can be divided thematically into Images of Death (1954-1964), Private pictures (1974-1982), Signs and Traces (1982-1993) and Golgata (1993-1996). During the latter part of his career Strömholm’s pictures became reminiscent of collages. He made use of lost-and-found items that were assembled and worked with polaroid film. The pictures became more abstract and reminiscent of still lifes. Focusing on the actual pictures rather than technical aspects, Christer changed attitudes and principles governing Swedish photography. From now on photographers would highlight subjective qualities in pictures, and not shy away from making their own personalities visible in their work.
In 1962, Strömholm started Fotoskolan (the School of Photography) along with Tor-Ivan Odulf. The school was groundbreaking, and the methods used were original; the picture itself was considered more important than photographic technology. Christer Strömholm coined terms such as ‘existing light’ and ‘personal responsibility’, and his theories changed the views and perspectives within Swedish photography. When the school was discontinued in 1974 over 1200 students had trained there, among which many are today considered the foremost of Scandinavian photographers.
Strömholm’s first exhibition was Myself in Memoriam at NK in Stockholm in 1965. In 1966 he produced the exhibition Pictures of Death, and after a 12-year hiatus he put up the picture series Private Pictures at gallery Camera Obscura in 1978. In 1967 Strömholm published the book Poste Restante, the title reflecting his own wandering life. His great breakthrough was made with the exhibition 9 Seconds of My Life at Moderna Museet in 1986. After this followed several exhibitions all around the world. In 1993 Christer Strömholm was appointed professor of photography and in 1997 he was awarded the Hasselblad award. His work can be found in numerous museums worldwide, for example in MoMA, Metropolitan and ICP in New York and Centre Pompidou in Paris. Sometime before Strömholm’s passing on 11 January 2002, the French newspaper Le Monde wrote a large article about his lifework, and he was then labelled ‘Le Grand Suedois’ (The Great Swede).
Curators: Joakim Strömholm & Maria Patomella in collaboration with Jakob Strömholm.
The exhibition was produced by Fotografiska in collaboration with Strömholm Estate.