Lars Tunbjörk

Swedish, 1956–2015

Tunbjörk is one of Sweden’s most internationally successful photographers. His internationally acclaimed series from 1993, Country Beside Itself, was a playful, surrealistic and empathetic revelation of Swedish society, which was heartwarmingly balanced in elementary colours and compositions.

With equal parts humour, warmth and darkness, Tunbjörk photographed ordinary subjects and captured scenes from the daily life of people, such as office landscapes, amusement parks and small towns. His technique of using harsh flash resulted in images that have a touch of absurdity and melancholy. Through photography, he documented the transition encompassing spiralling commercialism, the abandonment of traditional meeting places, uglification and the plastic society a crumbling welfare state.

Working for a local newspaper in his hometown Borås already at the age of 15, Tunbjörk firmly pursued his career as a freelance photographer for Swedish major newspapers including Aftonbladet and Stockholms-Tidningen from the 197080s, while he continuously produced his own projects such as Kontor/Office (2002), Home (2002), I Love Borås (2006) and Winter (2007). International clients included The New York Times Magazine, GEO and TIME. Parallel to this, he worked on his own projects, which culminated in ten photography books and multiple exhibitions.

Following his sudden passing in 2015, the Lars Tunbjörk Foundation was established to preserve his entire body of work. Today, Maud Nycander a filmmaker and also Tunbjörk’s wife continues to curate his work and exhibitions, spreading his artistry and preserving his legacy. Tunbjörk’s work is represented in the collections of MOMA, Centre Pompidou and Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.