Many of you may have seen the book “A child is born” – perhaps one of the most sold Photo books in the world. The book was made in the first edition back in 1965, by the Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson (1922-2017). I remember seeing the pictures when I was younger, not thinking much about it. Of course incredible pictures, but I never gave much thoughts to how they were captured. By now I have read about how he did it – but that is not the topic of this post.
What I would like to share with you are another side of Lennart Nilsson – the documentary photographer Lennart Nilsson. In the mid 20:th century, he probably was the most prominent photographer in Sweden. Many of the most classic and well known photos from Sweden in that time, were shot by Lennart Nilsson. If you needed a photographer to shoot the new prime minister, the Royal family or why not a world famous Swedish movie star like Ingrid Bergman – Lennart Nilsson was the one you called.
Nilsson shot much of his documentary work in black and white film – as most photographers did back then. In fact – when we look back today, the world in the first half of the 20:th century appeared to be in black and white. When I open one of my photo books, by Lennart Nilsson, I get that special feeling that only b&w pictures give. I wonder if there will be something special about pictures from the first half of the 21:th century, as we look back.
I own two photo books by Lennart Nilsson that I can recommend. One of them – “The pictures of his life” – also includes som pictures from the book “A child is born”. The book shows the highlights from Nilssons work and also a great deal of the Swedish modern history. The book “Stockholm” is in the same way a beautiful black and white story about the Swedish capital in the 1900:s. The books are as far as I can find, only published in Swedish – but the most famous book of them all; “A child is born” was translated into more than 20 languages…