Museum - Open today 10:00 ― 23:00
When Håkan Elofsson takes his photographs, he sets out from the situation and the moment – and when it arrives, he switches on all his senses. The camera can be the key to other people’s lives, and, at the same time, it shields him and legitimates his presence. Elofsson photographs for the encounters – the world the way we did not understand it. It’s complicated, but no less exciting. It all comes down to the fact that he is terribly interested in people and in our shortcomings.
“What the hell am I doing? Thirty years of photographic ethics hit me in the stomach. I’m sitting in a taxi with the window open, searching intuitively for events in the ongoing day-to-day life. I’m mulling it over while I freeze the moment, questioning my method, myself as a photographer and as a human being. Who am I, sitting in a taxi, photographing the poverty of Bombay? They can’t defend themselves against my camera. I deprive them of the last thing they have, their integrity. When you are poor you are transparent, both to the public and to the authorities. I feel a pang of guilt. Christer Strömholm and Anders Petersen taught me to take responsibility for my images, to stay at shooting-distance. But this is the only way of presenting an honest and true picture of everyday life here in Bombay. From an expressive point of view it was very liberating to get a sense of the situation and follow my feelings. The camera doesn’t have time to rearrange reality; it’s there, in the moment.”
The exhibition presents images from Håkan Elofsson’s frequent visits to Bombay and depicts people’s constant dealings. We go on and on. It could be anywhere in the world, but now it is a journey along Bombay Boulevard. We look and we are looked at.
Born in 1955, Håkan Elofsson grew up in Kungsbacka and lives in Stockholm. He began his career as a humble photographic clerk at the Swedish State Shipbuilding Experimental Tank, where he copied the most boring pictures in the world, but he had access to a darkroom at evenings and nights. Elofsson’s maternal grandfather was a devoted amateur photographer with his own darkroom, which Elofsson used as often as he could. Still, he could have been a painter, if his best friend hadn’t been better at drawing than he was. Photography suited Elofsson better; it was the moment – either you got the picture or you didn’t.
Håkan Elofsson trained as a photographer at GFU and worked for many years for ETC magazine. He has held numerous exhibitions, including at the legendary photographic gallery Camera Obscura in Stockholm and at the International Photography Festival in Arles, France.
Text: Johan Brink
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