“art’s enemy is ignorance” – one trip every month challenge; march – helsingborg

film cassettes

“It’s brilliant to be yourself”

Everybody that knows me know that I want a world full of color – and that I don’t always agree with black & white photos.

Tuesday was it time for my monthly date with Iris and she suggested that we should go and visit the exhibition, “Post Scriptum”, work by our world famous photographer Christer Strömholm, I was all up for it even if his art is in black & white. Held at Dunkers kulturhus in Helsingborg, 10 min train journey from Landskrona.

“Imagination is more important than reality”

First we had a fantastic lunch at a small restaurant just across from the exhibition – Inom. We both had poached salmon with fresh asparagus and new potatoes with sauce vert. Fantastic dish, with that we had some salad and freshly home baked bread. Coffee afterward and we were all fit for walking around for a couple of hours.

So soon I came into the exhibition I’m stunned by his art.

“Notice the invisible.”

Christer have said many great things through his life and … his sentences – he wrote them down small envelops every day with his Mont Blanc fountain pen – then he separate them into 32 different categories once per week. It was his diary.
He has published a book – KLOKA ORD (Wise Words) – with 101 of his quotes.

He signature and watermark: only 3 letters, CHR, together with his thumb print. He was a very headstrong, stubborn and humble man.

tumme-sign - stromholm com

He said that he doesn’t make photos – he made images. He also said that we can’t make images of life if we don’t take part of it ourselves.

“Christer was born in 1918 in Stockholm and he died in Stockholm, 2002.  In 1993 was appointed Strömholm professor of photography, and in 1997 he received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award.
He is known for his intimate black and white portrait series in a style reminiscent of street photography, and who often have surrealist undertones. Especially famous was his portrayals of transgender women in 1950s Paris.

“Reality is not art”

He began early giving photography courses at Kursverksamheten in Stockholm in 1962 which would develop into the much talked Photo School, also called Christer Strömsholms photography school, where he was principal between 1962 and 1972. During these years, graduated about 1200 students.

“Believing isn’t seeing”

He participated in several wars as a volunteer soldier in the late ’30s and early ’40s, including in Spain, Finland and Norway. For operations in Norway he was decorated with the Military Cross at the Norwegian embassy in 1945.” (text; sv.wikipedia.org)

Married 4 times, 2 sons and many mistresses … and he had fantastic relationships to and with all his women so long as he lived.  In the small French mountain village of Fox-Amphoux did Christer found his “home” in the 50s. Every Saturday did Christer reshuffle his bedroom and his explanation were – that it is not possible after all to sleep in the same place all the time. * smile

“Curiosity gives you many strange bed partners.”

He often took selfies – and he have said that if we can’t see ourselves in through the camera and see what we really look like and how we change – all about acceptance of ourselves. I have loads to learn here. It makes so much sense.

“It’s them that get lost,
who finds new paths”

Place Blanche Paris

There was also showing a documentary with Christer being interviewed by his son Joakim (also a photographer and producer of the documentary); about his work, his views, his women and his life … “Blunda och Se” (Close your eyes and see) from 1993. A fascinating film; very honest and sincere, but full of humor.

I have said so many times that a black & white image can go flat, but there are nothing flat about Christer’s work.

After watching the film was it coffee time, before saying goodbye and returning home – walked along the quay back to the station – and now it’s only to wait and see where April takes us.

“The imagination is what your eyes can not see”
Strömholm - svd se

All quotes used in this post are by Christer Strömholm’s and all photos are mine, except the signature with the thumb print and the portrait of Christer, that both have been borrowed from his official website;  CHR – Christer Strömholm, a photographer (Swedish/English).

Why not join the challenge yourself- visit for all details; One Trip Every Month Challenge 

one trip - every month

Images provided by and thanks to; stromholm.com

41 thoughts on ““art’s enemy is ignorance” – one trip every month challenge; march – helsingborg

  1. It’s amazing, How unique a photographer’s world is and the lessons they leave behind, That’s true talent right there!

    I love the cute little bunny at the end 😀

    • This man was very special .. and his view on life and his art – really throw me. Wish I had a chance to meet him in person.

      The cute bunny – belongs to a group of rabbits that Dunkers (the culture center) got as gift from a very generous private donor some years ago – after they had become so popular with the people in Helsingborg during the exhibition they were a part of. Marianne Lindberg de Geer is the artist’s name.
      I think they are so adorable too. Hard to get them all in one photo, they are spread out in the front of the center, and they are suppose to have a sexual expression .. if they do so .. they do it in a very cute way. *smile

    • Colleen, yes … I’m in love with him, but I think to live with him would drive me off the cliff, but I would have loved to give it a go. His quotes really give the true picture of the man he was – his mind. He had loads of secrets and he loved being secretive – still he was so brutal upfront in everything he did. As his quote says; “It’s brilliant to be yourself”

      • Viveka I am intrigued about this man just from what I saw with your post. I think I’ll do some research on him this weekend.

        And I am pretty sure he would have thoroughly enjoyed meeting you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • I had hoped so .. because watching the movie there was so much in him that is in me – this with not being afraid of being and doing things alone. To just wonder off on my own and to take responsibility for my loneliness – and for what I do and done.
        Maybe he was my soul mate … but I think living like he did … I would have problems, but I truly would love to give it a try. *smile

      • I can see you trying a different kind of life. I’m fascinated by people who are not fearful of a different life style. Who accept people for who they are. I can see you trying that out! 🙂

      • Colleen, I had a great knee to sit in as a child … my mum’s – and so did your kids have in yours!!! I have always had a fantastic and large imagination as a child, so bad that they took me to a psychologist when I was 5, but he said that they shouldn’t worry … because I will sort myself out, I was going to go for the adventures and then there will be more need for me to “lie”. I had such an imagination that I believed everything I said myself and it became my reality.

      • Wow! That’s a great story! I wonder how many inventors, adventurers, writers, painters, and other creators had the same kind of story as a child. Where they were so creative that the world around them did not understand.

        It doesn’t surprise me that you were that imaginative. You have certainly followed that path your entire life from what I know of you. 🙂

      • The thing was that I was so lonely as a child – with mum not being around, nearly no friends to play with – no kids on our street, only elderly people …
        And I didn’t have a father … my grandma was so tough on me after my grandfather had died. So I lived in my own world that was so exciting and fun … up to I was around 12. Then I understood that it’s up to me to change my situation, nobody else would.

      • And it appears you did change it. I would be interested in hearing more about your story. I love biographies. I love to know people’s stories. How they got from where they were to where they are. I know you keep pretty private. But if you ever write about it, I will love reading it.

      • Colleen, I haven’t kept it private – and talk about it when there is something that relate to my life. I wouldn’t write a full book about it.
        I was about 10-12 years old when I understood that changing my life will be down to myself, far too young. My childhood wasn’t bad and didn’t suffer on a daily basis – but it was tough at times and lonely.
        But I can’t blame my adult life on what happen to me as a child, so it was down to me to turn things around through my days and I still do.

      • Some people never, ever, learn that lesson Viveka.

        You must have been a very insightful and smart child. Truly for a child to realize that.

        It’s hard to think about kids being lonely. I’m glad you changed things for yourself.

      • I have a strong will .. and of course later in life I got support from my mom – but she wasn’t around until I became 16 – and I wasn’t use to have a mom and she wasn’t use to have a teen age daughter, so our road was very bumpy for years. But we got there in the end.

  2. Thank you for sharing your day trip. I had never heard of Christer Stromholm but I’ll be sure to look into his work some more. I love ‘good’ black and white photography, especially when there’s a story behind it.

    • Christer is a very renowned photographer, but I only remembered his work through this image of the woman and her snake. But what a fascinating personality and only all his quotes that he wrote down daily … give us a picture of what an extra ordinary man he was and how much he loved life. And he was very handsome too in his long life experience.

  3. This is a ‘keeper’ Vivi which I am going to look at very closely over the coming weekend. Can’t to it half-baked justice! Personally I love black-and-white photography ~ [laughing] perchance because all the chief male ‘players’ in my life have been so good at the art. I point and click with colour but appreciate what others achieve! Love the music: you sure can pick it every time . . . and did not know you were so close to Helsingborg and its culture . . .

    • Yes, I live just in between Lund and Helsingborg, same distant to both cities. 50 min from Copenhagen.
      Christer I heard about before, because I did a post last year about Hasselblad. One of his most famous pictures is the woman with the snake. http://img.dazedcdn.com/700/dd/960/0/960835.jpg He are also represented at Metropolitan Museum of Art.
      The music is Tomaso Albinoni; Concerto a5 Op.8 Oboe 3 Allegro – I picked this piece because in the Christer’s documentary they use music by Albinoni, but I don’t know what piece it was and this has a very happy and light tune. – just like the picture I got of Christer from the film. I’m in love with this man!!! *smile

      • Sugar, Vivi ~ just got home from the quack’s and reading what you had to say: I have this one of Albinoni’s but have not played it for years and years! Have to learn more about Christer during the weekend!! Thanks, beautiful lady!!

      • Thank you … for being such a fantastic support to me and my world here. Albinoni I know very little about – but he has written some fantastic beautiful music. Mozart has been my favorite for years … but the more I listen to Albinoni the more Mozart fades a little bit. So glad that I made you interested in Christer. I wish you a pleasant weekend.

  4. Ingalill is my favourite shot. The Tokyo one I can barely stand to look at- so painful! I agree with you about black and white, Vivi, but there are always exceptions, and he’s one. The bit about moving his bed around every week made me smile 🙂 I’ll have to try it! (I suspect my husband would object)
    I took some tulip photos on Tuesday of that exact same kind, but mine aren’t so good.
    Teatime hug!

    • Jo, I’m in love this man and his view on things.
      Fantastic personality and full of humor. Ingalill is a famous Swedish actress that he had a romance with.
      His bedroom was small … and he moved the bed around every Saturday – how great isn’t that. Maybe we should try it. *smile
      The tulips was magnificent and plenty of them … they have a public toilet in Helsingborg, a shiny cube – and I tried to get the reflections of the flower in it’s wall .. but then the cleaners turned up and spoiled it .. but you can see in one of the photos.
      Nighttime hug …

      • I replied to your email, Vivi, but I haven’t changed the photo yet. I was just putting a post up for Jake. Off to change it now, and then a bath. Snuggly hug 🙂

      • Good Morning ….. got your email – it’s totally up to you if you want to change the photo or not, don’t feel that you have to.
        Breakfast coffee hug …

  5. Viveka, love this post. Black and white is so expressive. Luv color but there’s something about black and white that is so dramatic and artistic. I like the one like Marilyn Monroe with the dress blown in the wind, tells a story.

    • Thank you so much … I’m sold on Christer’s work, but not all B&W yet. There has to be a story behind the photos. I suppose with B&W and with developing the photos yourself – like he did – you can make them so bold and dramatic as he wanted them.
      The Marilyn image is a classic! I wish you a great weekend and I hope the Spring is with you.

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