My uncle had a Leica and this got me interested in photography.
My parents had Family of Man by Edward Steichen which I studied intensively. When I was 11-12 years old I got an Agfa Click, a 6×6 plastic camera and I clearly remember the first photographs I shot were of swans. When I was 14 I got a job as a piccolo in a nearby hotel during my school vacation. I made earned enough that I could afford a Zenith, the Russian SLR camera and an Opemus enlarger which I put on my desk – I never did school homework anyway – now I was up and running.
When I reached high school I realized this was not me and I dropped out of school in the middle of a math class. My most hated subject. At home I explained to my parents that I had left school and wanted to become a photographer. The following day I went by train to Copenhagen and started ringing doorbells at the workshops of photographers I found in the phone book. After some weeks I was lucky. Delta Photo, a Danish branch of Magnum were missing an apprentice/assistant. That’s when I met Jesper Hom, one of Denmarks finest photographers and was engaged in employment. My first task was printing for a Delta Photo exhibition in a renowned gallery in Copenhagen.
Here I spent 3 years, a lot of the time in the darkroom but gradually got my own tasks and became part of Delta. I did work for magazines, art galleries, doing catalogues, LP covers etc.The Zenith was now replaced with a Hasselblad and an Asahi Pentax.
Back in the 60s everybody wanted to make films here in Denmark, the photographers at Delta got jobs as cinematographers with me as an assistant. I applied for the Danish Film School and after I graduated I worked as a cinematographer, at first shooting feature films, but changed to shoot documentaries. I continued taking still photographs and did illustrate a few books, magazines and catalogs.
For years I wanted to make a book with my very earliest photographs from the years at Delta and the Film School. Photographs which today would be called Street Photography, a word not used those days. They are taken in Copenhagen and my travels around Europe, some of them hitchhiking, mostly shot on Tri-X and quite a few on Double-X cine film, which I got a lot of as the last 5/10/15m from film productions which were just thrown out. A 120m roll of 35mm filmstock only gives you about 3 min film shooting with an Arriflex. I prefer the grain structure of the Tri-X though.
Back then I used Promicrol film developer and printed on Agfa 111 paper. At that time there were 5 graduations, BW, BS, BN, BH and BEH I remember. Later we got multigrade RC paper. During the lockdown I began scanning my old negatives with my Canoscan 4000 scanner. A hard job, as I have maybe 10,000 negatives from those years. I followed my intuition, no time to think too much even if, afterwards, I had to look at a particular photograph a lot of times to understand why I choose it.
I designed the book with Affinity Publisher which I bought specifically to do my book. And hopefully more in the future. I applied the Danish Art Foundation and they financed my book together with a private foundation and I got my book A PROPOS 60`ERNE published.
The book can be purchased here – thank you for reading!
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