Photographs by Keld Helmer-Petersen.
Text by Gerry Badger and Finn Thrane.
Interview by Martin Parr.
Christian Ejlers Publishers., Copenhagen., 2007. 289 pp., 122 color photographs, and more photographs in black and white., 9¾x12".
"And what, to try and briefly answer an extremely complex question, is the 'something' that [Helmer-Petersen's] kind of photography is about? The photographer himself gave an admirably succinct answer in 1948. It is about itself, of course, but that is only a beginning. The charge of formalism is often leveled at this kind of approach, as if any photography that lacks a clear socio-political focus is somehow of lesser import.
Such attitudes have become a new orthodoxy, but if we consider the psychological import of photography - for both photographer and viewer - it seems nonsensical. there are many different ways in which photography has social relevance, and Keld Helmer-Petersen's photographic approach is at the root of the medium, evincing, as the great Walker Evans put it, 'a simple desire to recognize and to boast.' That is so important."
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