Swedish Photography in Books, by Johan Brink

It may seem a bit odd that there is no book about Swedish photo books. All there is is a thin little booklet written by Gösta Flemming and he cuts through the entire Swedish Photo book story in twenty pages. Since the booklet came out in 2004 there is a lot of great Swedish photo books missing. But in its simplicity the booklet is a great gateway to Swedish photo book history (if you can read Swedish).

Gösta Flemming is the man behind the Journal Publisher who has spoiled us with brilliant photo books for many years. When I met Gösta at Paris Photo last year he guessed that they have published at least 70 titles. Gösta has a sure eye focused on exciting projects and there are few Swedish photographers who have not turned to Gösta to get good advice. Many of the titles are now extremely rare.

Max Ström Publishers should also be highlighted among Swedish publishers. They made the monographs of Strömholm “Post Scriptum” and Kenneth Gustavsson “The Magic Bar”, and soon there is a monograph about Anders Petersen. Last year he won The Paris Photo- Aperture Foundation Photo book Awards 2012 with “City Diary”. They also stand behind the JH Engström’s “Sketch of Paris “.

There are mainly men who dominate Swedish photography in a historical perspective, especially the big names Christer Strömholm, Anders Petersen, JH Engström, Gerry Johansson, Sune Johnsson, Lars Tunbjörk and Lennart Nilsson.

In conjunction with the Hasselblad Center Photo book exhibition ” The Open Book ” in 2004 there was also a small exhibition with Swedish photo books ” 29 +3 Major Swedish Photo Books “. There are a number of well-known titles on the list, but there are certainly more titles that are unknown outside Sweden. Men dominate the list, but one of the most peculiar books is Agneta Ekman “Tall Maja” now in reissue.

As always there are favorite titles not on the list, such as Esias Baitel and Eva Klasson both included in Auer Collection and Jens S Jensen with his current exhibition “Hammarkullen 1973-2013” at the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg. There’s also Maud Nycander both books “Choppers” and “Asfaltsnätter”, Stefan Bladh “The Family”, Ralph Nyqvist and Anders Petersens book from the Venice Carnival. Also looking forward to Håkan Elofsson’s “Hollywood Boulevard” that I’ve missed.

The list would probably look different today. During the last ten years are women taking increasing space on the Swedish photo-based art scene. Among female photographers who have made books that stand out are Katinka Goldberg, Trinidad Carillo, Helga Härenstam, Anna Clarén, Hannah Modigh, Agnes Thor, Elin Berge, Nina Korhonen and Klara Källström together with Tobias Fäldt. Male artist such as Mårten Lange, Erik Östensson, Johan Sundgren and Martin Bogren complement the women. In other words, there are many reasons to take a closer look at the new Swedish photography.

Books included in the exhibition ” 29 +3 Major Swedish Photo Books “ in 2004

Dawid (Björn Dawidsson). Rost.

De Geer, Carl Johan. Pengar eller livet.

Degerman, Nils-Erik. Nu är rummet ditt (The room is now yours).

Ehrs, Bruno. Stockholmssviten. Fotografier av Bruno Ehrs, music by Tom Wolgers.

Ekman, Agneta. Tall-Maja.

Engström, JH. Härbärge.

Feininger, Andreas. Stockholm.

Goodwin, Henry Buergel. Vårt vackra Stockholm.

Gullers, K. W. Stockholm bakom fasaden.

Hirsch, Walter. Bilder dagbok.

Johanssson, Gerry. Amerika.

Jonsson, Sune. Byn med det blå huset.

Keller, Björn. Kroppar

Korhonen, Nina. Minne. Muisto. Memory.

Lindström, Tuija. Tuija Lindström.

Tore Johnson & Lo-Johansson, Ivar. Okänt Paris

Gunnar Lundh & Lo-Johansson, Ivar. Statarna i bild.

Anna Riwkin-Brick & Ivar Lo-Johansson. Zigenarväg.

Sven Järlås & Lo-Johansson, Ivar. Ålderdom.

Molins fontän. I fotografi af Johannes Jaeger

Nilsson, Lennart. Ett barn blir till.

Nilsson, Marie. Nästan hemma. Fotografier Liljeholmen 1995-1998.

Nykvist, Ralph. I Sverige.

Olson, Lennart. From one side to the other. Bridges.

Petersen, Anders. Café Lehmitz.

Rosenberg. Carl Gustaf. Svenskar i dagens gärning.

Smoliansky, Gunnar. Gunnar Smolianskys fotografier från Slussen i Stockholm 1952.

Stocklassa, Jefferik. Dagar med Dai.

Strömholm, Christer. Poste restante.

Tunbjörk, Lars. Landet utom sig. Bilder från Sverige.

Wågström, Thomas. Boxare.

Lennart af Petersens & Wästberg, Per. Östermalm.

You can see a selection of Swedish photobooks currently in stock here.


My name is Johan Brink and I’m working as a freelance copywriter with clients such as the Photographic Museum in Stockholm and Apple. I live with my family 30 kilometers south of Gothenburg on the Swedish West coast in a small town called Kungsbacka. And I sure am a collector, typically male isn’t it? It began collecting idol cards with football players as a kid, later there was records, then I found a pottery piece of the Swedish designer Stig Lindberg and I was stuck in ceramics, after that furniture’s from the fifties, sixties and seventies, art, photography, and now photo books. I ‘m glad we have a big house.