“The best milieu for me is one where it is almost entirely impossible to photograph, where you kind of have to make something out of nothing”.
Born on the Swedish island of Gotsby, Gunnar Smoliansky was obsessed with the camera from the age of eighteen when he bought his own Rolleiflex. As with Ingmar Bergman who launched his film career a decade after Smoliansky’s birth, he used his homeland almost exclusively as the subject of his work.
Also like Bergman, his work is possessed of a quiet intensity. Gloves suspended from a window, a cloud passing over water, the silhouette of a tree like an ink spill on a white page; all have a latent anxiety, a cinematic anticipation of that which is yet to happen.
While imbued with a Swedish melancholy Smoliansky’s work is also part of a broader European photojournalistic tradition. As with the work of André Kertész, his eye distils its subject.
Form and line are used economically while unorthodox camera angles and aerial views render the subject abstract. In an age of destination photography where the exoticism of the subject often defines the photographer it is refreshing to find an artist constantly finding the extraordinary within the ordinary of their everyday.
Renowned within his own country we are delighted to be introducing Gunnar Smoliansky’s work to a wider European audience.
All images © Gunnar Smoliansky, courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery