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America so far, 1962-2018
Micamera, 20 September – 19 October
artist talk October 4 _ 7 pm
workshop October 5-6
Put on a jazz record, something like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue with Cannonball Adderley’s alto saxophone, imagine you’re back in the early ’60s.
It’s early morning and sitting on a bus from New Jersey to NY there’s a Swedish teenager called Gerry Johansson. This is where our journey starts.
It is before the square photographs we know. With Paul Strand’s photographs in his mind, a teenager Gerry Johansson spends his days walking around the big apple. taking pictures. He has joined the Village Camera Club and has brought an enlarger over from Sweden to develop and print everything himself in his darkroom – something he will do and enjoy throughout his whole career, experimenting with different papers to match the content of the image. (He also makes his frames, too, painting them in a slightly different shade of white to match the prints!)
But now, let’s start in the ‘60s. Over time, Johansson gets to appreciate particularly the work by Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand, and later William Eggleston and Robert Adams.
The States, with its jazz music and its culture will have a great influence on him. He will move back to Sweden but will continue to travel to the United States: Chicago in 1976, a trip from the West Coast to the East Coast in 1983, a journey in the southern states in 1993. And then later, over the years, shooting pictures that will be published in various books. The last one, American Winter, gathering pictures that were made in the mid-western states of the US – Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado – between 2017-2018.
For the exhibition in Milan, we have asked the author to start from the beginning and take us through a long journey and present a selection of 32 images shot in the US over a period of almost 60 years. It is an incredible and precious journey that includes different formats and even color images; from the street photographs of the early ’60s to the square landscapes in which the human presence is absent but strongly felt because he photographs the effect people have on their surroundings. As the author says, “Everything I photograph is created by man”
Johansson’s photography is largely driven by intuition but then organized with a strict logic and order. He generally avoids creating stories and considers each picture as a single, individual image. This exhibition is a kind of exception, has a certain background jazz sound that is evident in the selection, flowing gently through an exceptional career, freely including different tones, at times sounding like Lee Friedlander or Mark Steinmetz, other times like Robert Adams, and leading to a clear Gerry Johansson style.
As Charles Mingus said, “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creative.”
Micamera in Milan, via Merdardo Rosso 19
open Wed-Sat 10am-1pm and 4-7pm
The exhibited prints are published in the following books:
America Revised (only photography, 2018)
American Winter (MACK, 2018)
Tyre Choice (Libraryman, 2017)
Pontiac (MACK, 2011)
Amerika (Johansson & Jansson AB, 1998) + America Special Edition (2009)
Amerikabilder 1962-93 (Bildibok, Sweden 1995)
Books are available here. To purchase a print, contact Giulia Zorzi: email@example.com / +39 02 4548 1569
Follow this link for the wokshop.
Gerry Johansson is a Swedish photographer. He is known for portraying quiet small towns around the world, especially in the US, Sweden and Germany. His main goal is to demonstrate the effect people have on their surroundings and how vast cities change over time.
Born in Örebro in 1945 Johansson grew up in Varberg, on the Western coast of the country. Inspired by his father, an amateur photographer, he started making photographs when he was just 11 years old; his first pictures were of the model airplanes he built. Johansson recalls being fascinated by photographs from his father’s time studying in Germany before the war, and also remembers taking pictures, with no film in the camera, around the house with his grandmother’s broken box camera.
After finishing a degree in graphic design in 1969, Johansson worked for a photography magazine, then three years later co-founded the publishing house Fyra Förläggare AB, specialising in photography magazines and photobooks which usually featured work by Swedish documentary photographers.
This didn’t stop him from making photographs in his spare time though, and throughout his career as a designer and publisher Johansson exhibited in group shows. He self-published his first book, Fotografier, in 1980 and two years later he had his first solo exhibition at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, which now holds over 40 of his photographs in its permanent collection.
In 1985 Johansson left his publishing company to work independently, and also published his second book, Halland, which was shot exclusively in Halland country, Sweden. Since then, he has produced photobooks dedicated to several other regions in his homeland, as well as in Germany, Japan, Mongolia, and Antarctica.
He has released over 30 books. This is his second exhibition at Micamera after ‘Deutschland’ in 2012.
His website here