The current Strömholm retrospective at Pace/Macgill Gallery addresses this situation, pairing Strömholm’s portraits with earlier photos he took during travels to Spain and France. These images shed light on the artist’s character by drawing attention to the things that attracted him.
Most of these pictures evoke a sense of loss. They also convey something less overt, albeit equally powerful, when viewed together with the “Place Blanche” series. In all of Strömholm’s subjects—somber as they may seem—there’s a distinct beauty marked by the moment of their being captured, a celebration of the uncelebrated. Given this perspective then, what do these images tell us about Strömholm and his motivation in creating them?
Strömholm developed his style by way of his involvement with Dr. Otto Steinert’s Fotoform photography group, founded in 1949, which encouraged a more experimental, personal, and expressive approach to the medium. Strömholm’s “subjective photography” from this period reflects the delicate sensibility that would come to define his career. It wasn’t until 1986, with his exhibition “9 Seconds of My Life” at the Moderna Museet, though, that Strömholm received the public recognition in Europe he so deserved. Today, three decades later, this Pace/MacGill retrospective should bring him equal acclaim with American audiences.