The work of true artists resembles the artists themselves—sometimes to the very end. This is what we’re telling ourselves once again today upon hearing the news of the premature death of Lars Tunjbjörk at the age of 59.
Like many others of his generation, he started out working for the daily press, shooting in black-and-white, with a sharp eye and a playful sense of composition, filled with energy, smiling at the situations he encountered on streets corners and in the countryside. The visual tales gathered in the 1987 book Photography Unbounded show an already inadequate world: what will happen to the little boy on the cover, an awkward and amiable little bird whose overlarge jacket slows his step?
In those years, accompanied by a few accomplices, including Greger Ulf Nilson, with whom he would later collaborate on several books, Tunbjörk looked to American color photography, which, essentially, changed the stakes of what had previously been limited to the utilitarian style of press photography. His deep understanding of the situation would be his starting point, it is color photography that he would explore as a sometimes venomous tool to capture the world around him. He established himself as one of the most important European color photographers of his time, and was followed, years later, by younger Scandinavian, German and British photographers who were always moved by the same radicality and despondency at the state of society.
Read the full article on the French version of L’Oeil de la Photographie.
See film directed by Pierre Maïllis Laval (© Agence Vu & la Femis)
Lars Tunbjörk, Beyond Backstage :