We have invited the photo historian Eva Dahlman to “inspect” Per Hemmingson’s collection of photobooks. In a personal selection, she highlights certain titles and notes the absence of others.
Eva Dahlman is a photo historian and ethnologist, and as a curator she has worked with the Nordic Museum’s photographic collection and has been first librarian at the National Library of Sweden, with photography as her speciality. Her research is particularly focused on female photographers and rural photography in Sweden. Since 2012, she has been working as an independent photo historian, and in 2019 she received an honorary doctorate from Stockholm University.
Eva Dahlman is a leading force in the network National Responsibility for Photography in Sweden, which deals with issues concerning the history and future of photographic stills.
Per Hemmingsson (1937–2017) was a Nestor in the history of photography in Sweden. He was the person that everyone turned to for information about all the fields and developments of photography, from the 1840s to modern times. For example, he knew all about photographic techniques: he was responsible for fact-checking the Swedish translation of Brian Coe’s classical Cameras: From Daguerreotypes to Instant Pictures, 1978.
With the book August Strindberg som fotograf, 1963, Per Hemmingsson was the first to describe Strindberg’s interest in the photographic image. Another ground-breaking work was his book about the pioneers of photography, Fotohistoriskt: Kring fotografins pionjärer och deras bilder, 1970.
Per Hemmingsson was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Museum of Photography as a department of Moderna Museet in 1971, but this was closed in 1998 and integrated into the art collection.
Since one of my research fields is women behind the camera, I have selected some of the few books in Per Hemmingsson’s library that feature female photographers, such as Anna Riwkin, Imogen Cunningham and Cindy Sherman.
Classics of photographic history such as Solfrid Söderlind’s Porträttbruk i Sverige 1840–1865, 1993, and Skånska fotografer 1845–2005, 2005, are also particularly worth highlighting, as well as the classic photobooks Disfarmer: The Heber Spring Portraits 1939–1946, 1976 and Jefferik Stocklassa’s Dagar med Dai, 1987.
Per Hemmingsson Collection.
In 2018 Landskrona Foto acquired Per Hemmingsson’s (1937–2017) collection of photographic literature. It is one of the finest and most extensive private collections of photographic literature in Scandinavia, covering the history of photography from its birth to the present day. Hemmingsson was a photo historian, critic and author.
His working library consists of about 2,000 books and brochures, not counting magazines. The collection covers and reflects topics such as Photography Collections and Museums, the Anatomy of Photobooks, Optics, Art and Photography, Still Life and Figure Studies, Style and Fashion, Interiors, Cities and Landscapes, Wars and Disasters, Everyday Life and Social Documentation, Portraits etc.