12 August 2008

book review: En blues från Landskrona

En blues från Landskrona.
Photo: Thomas H Johnsson.
Text: Jonas Bergh.
Published by Kulturföreningen JB23, 2007.
Out of stock.
ISBN: 978-91-85629-12-1.

A few days ago I received En blues från Landskrona [A blues from Landskrona] by Thomas H Johnsson (photos) and Jonas Bergh (text). Subsequently, I have read the text and looked at the photographs not once, but several times. The book touches me deeply.

The photos are close, intense and often dark portraits of people in Landskrona, often of individuals on the fringe of society. "Immigrants" and "Swedes" include: an old man secretly drinking behind a fence, a young boy with his gun, someone using his stiletto to turn his hamburgers when having a barbecue on his doorstep, a man showing his knocked-out teeth, another man with needle marks in his arm, an elderly woman on her way to an anonymous residential quarter, a burned-out car.

Engelbrektsgatan © Thomas H Johnsson.

Timmermansgatan © Thomas H Johnsson.

People who, in one way or another, stand outside society are an important theme in Thomas H Johnssons's photographs, as well as the difference between the inhabitants of Landskrona. But the joy, freedom and, above all, the pride of the people portrayed aren't missing but are an important element in his portraits. The photographs breath punk; a movement that has obviously inspired Johnsson and Bergh.

Thomas's photographs are presented with the personal and brilliantly written texts by Jonas Bergh. In a sense, therefore, the reader gets two stories about the life in Landskrona. The combination of the text and the photographs is exceptionally successful.

Rådmansgatan © Thomas H Johnsson.

Rönnebergsgatan © Thomas H Johnsson.

The images, usually just named after the street they are photographed in, are captured in Landskrona, but they could be taken anywhere. The same applies to Bergh's text. The book could have been titled A blues from Säffle, A blues from Jönköping or a blues from any Swedish city. In many respects, through Landskrona, they give personal, political and very important portraits of Sweden of today. At least that is how I see it.

- Fredrik Skott

The review is also published in Swedish, here.


Anonymous said...

Excellent pictures THomas, I am glad to get to know your photography. Although not yet having read the book, I am quite sure of it is one of the most important of contemporary Sweden. The picture of the boy with the gun holds so many photographic qualities as an example. I am thinking about the text on his T-shirt and spell it FEO = UGLY. But there is also a duckling if I am not mistaken.
So it could well be "Patito Feo", the ugly duckling.
Growing up to become a beautiful swan.

Anonymous said...

Those pictures touch me a lot!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for yours comments.

Thomas H Johnsson

Anonymous said...


Mikael said...

Yeah, great photos indeed and thx for the review

br said...

great social documentary photography that has a personal point of view...emotive and wonderful. thank you!