Street Photography in Copenhagen in the 1960s – By Teit Joergensen

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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22 thoughts on “Street Photography in Copenhagen in the 1960s – By Teit Joergensen”

  1. I really like the photo of the lady in front of the “Galeries Lafayette” poster! The contrast between the real and the unreal is great!
    The sense of humor in many of your pictures is also quite refreshing. Thanks for sharing! ????


  2. sonny rosenberg

    I just tried to purchase your book, but when I go to check it out it says I need to fill out my name but there is no place to enter my name or other details in the browser page.
    I thought this might be a Safari issue but I tried it in Chrome as well with the same results.



  3. Beautiful work, what an eye you have for a photograph. I will try to purchase the book when my finances allow.
    The image of the man pushing the tram is my favourite. Do you sell your prints? I would love to purchase one.

    Thanks for sharing

  4. These are great, and as someone’s already pointed out are obviously the work of a keen eye. I’ve got to know Copenhagen a bit over recent years and it’s wonderful to see it in another age, although some of the ‘brown bars’ I can’t imagine have changed much.

  5. This is not just street photography but “in the moment” street photography. Not just capturing people but relationships either between them or between a person and another element in the frame. Stunning work.

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