Monday, May 25, 2009

Keld Helmer-Petersen

Sandy sent me a recommendation of a photographer who made the following comments:

Keld Helmer-Petersen has been overlooked in the history of photography book's, but he has recently been re-discovered by the English Magnum photographer Martin Parr. His contribution to colour abstract photography started in the 1940's but all the credit for colour photographs was given to the American photographer William Eggleston in the 1970's. In 2005 I went to see an exhibition of Keld Helmer-Petersen's work at the Rocket Gallery in London, I was flabbergasted by the subject matter displayed on the gallery walls both in colour and black and white. His modernistic style and perceptive vision for photographing the over looked mundane subject matter, and making it look ligh abstract paintings is nothing short of amazing. In the fifties he studied with the late great Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind at the Chicago School of Art Institute formerly the New Bauhaus. He was definitely ahead of his time and I felt humbled in the presence of his imaages.

I tried to get his book but at $317 it seemed a bit steep. Sandy also gave me a reference to a gallery site at which you could view a fair number of images, all be it pretty tiny.

Blogspot seems to be on strike but the web address is:

you will need to type this in your browser till blogspot gets working again.

and click on previous exhibitions, then 2005-2006 and then Keld Helmer-Petersen, you can then select "Danish Beauty", "Black and White" or "122 Images" to view his photographs.

Helmer-Petersen first published his colour work in 1948, clearly making him one of the pioneers of modern colour photography.

There are more of his images in 2007-2008. I have sent an email to the gallery to see if any of his books are still available.

Petersen has a wonderful sense of colour and design and I for one am going to have another go at finding his book.


Anonymous said...

Ernst Haas is another colour pioneer that gets rarely mentioned.

Rolf Erni

BeaKeR said...

I'm not seeing the link here. Looks like something's missing in the middle of your post?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful eye of Keld Helmer-Petersen, I'm having flashbacks to the work of a german photographer at

Anna said...

Sorry to butt in, but I work at Rocket Gallery, and this is the link with Keld's earliest colour work :
And only the Deluxe boxed set edition is over $300 usd - there's a signed version at £55 and an unsigned at £30!
Keld's work is enjoying a nice renewal of interest, thanks for adding to that.

Sandy Wilson said...

Thanks for the mention in your blog site, I was a bit taken aback when I saw it.

I hope you can aquire copies of Keld's books. I am sure you will appeciate the image content.


Sandy Wilson

site said...

I fully tie in with everything you have printed.