Anders Petersen


Anders Petersen, To Belong, 2012, courtesy of Anders Petersen and Studio Blanco

Anders Petersen, To Belong, 2012, courtesy of Anders Petersen and Studio Blanco

To Belong

a project by Anders Petersen and Studio Blanco
in partnership with SlamJam and Fotografia Europea
with Arctic Paper and Centroffset
Under the auspices of the Embassy of Sweden


times and locations

Chiostri di San Pietro
via Emilia San Pietro, 44/c
42121 Reggio Emilia

friday 3rd may open from 6.30 pm to midnight; saturday 4th and sunday 5th may from 10 am to midnight; from 6th may to 16th june open on friday from 7 pm to 11 pm; saturday from 10 am to 11 pm, sunday from 10 am to 9 pm


At 4:03:52 on May 20, 2012 a crack opened in the crust of the earth beneath Finale Emilia. It lasted for twenty seconds. Then the roads filled with men and women in their pyjamas, terrorized. All except seven, who were buried underneath. In the weeks that followed, the earthquake exploded with the same amount of violence in Bondeno, Mirabello, Medolla, San Possidonio, Novi, reverberating in the provinces of Modena, Reggio Emilia, Ferrara, Mantua, Rovigo, Bologna.
Those who wake up every morning on a ground that has been split open have only one objective: to put it back together again. So, inexorably, week after week, the doctors began to treat the sick, the workers to file the bolts, the cheese makers to sell cheese and the builders to build houses. Studio Blanco has contributed with what it does best: a project for a story made up of images, a collection of the faces and the views of Emilia. To tell the story they invited the Swedish photographer Anders Petersen, someone who has no real connection with these places but who for over forty years has sought out the most vulnerable humanity, making it the subject of raw and moving reportages. For eight days in November 2012 they shuttled him around on roads and to civic museums, to earthquake-struck embankments and squares, leaving him the freedom to shoot whatever he wanted, however he wanted, whoever he wanted.
A very young contortionist, a knotted trunk, two elderly people clinging to each other in a dance hall. One year after the earthquake, Petersen’photographs are a small Emilian poem that stitches together the fracture, providing us with a compact land, together with the humanity that has always belonged to it.

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Anders Petersen (Stockholm, 1944) studied photography with Christer Strömholm at the school of photography of Stockholm. Strömholm became a mentor and close friend of Petersen, accompanying him in his personal and photographic journey.
In 1967 Petersen began to photograph the patrons of a bar in Hamburg called Café Lehmitz, spending his nights amongst prostitutes, transvestites, drunks, lovers and drug addicts. The project lasted for two years, giving life to the book of the same name eight years later in 1978 by Schirmer/Mosel in Germany, subsequently released in France in 1979 and in Sweden in 1982, considered a fundamental project in the history of European photography.
Years later, a photo of Cafè Lehmitz would be used by Tom Waits for the cover of his album Rain Dogs. In the Seventies Petersen first taught at the school of Christer Strömholm and later became the director of the School of Photography and Cinema of Göteborg. Halfway through the Eighties he continued his visual investigation of prisons, mental asylums and homes for the elderly. For a long period of time he lived in a maximum security prison in order to collect images for the book Fangelse (1984).
He has published more than 25 books and has won numerous awards, including Photographer of the year at the Photofestival of Arles (2003, France), the special jury award for the exhibition “Exaltation of Humanity”at the festival of Lianzhou (2007, China), a mention at the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2007), in addition to numerous acknowledgements for his books, including From Back Home (with JH Engstrom, best book of 2009 at the Rencontres d’Arles Book
Awards) and City Diary (best book of 2012 at the Paris Photo Photobook Awards).