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Photographs 1941–2013.

Photographs by Keld Helmer-Petersen. Text by Finn Thrane and Martin Parr. Introduction by Mette Sandbye.
Strandberg Publishing, 2020. In English. 308 pp., 300 illustrations, 9¾x12x1".

Publisher's Description

Seven decades of Keld Helmer-Petersen’s quietly pioneering abstract color photography

Denmark’s best-known photographer Keld Helmer-Petersen (1920–2013) published his first photobook, 122 Colour Photographs, in 1948. His work was immediately notable for its inventive composition, which turned landscapes and buildings into abstract patterns, and for the photographer’s embrace of color at a time when only black-and-white photography was considered serious. When Life magazine reproduced several pages from the book in 1949, Helmer-Petersen’s vision found a wide, international audience for the first time.

Helmer-Petersen’s style was experimental modernism tempered by a lyrical simplicity and a sense of keen, quiet observation. By isolating details and compressing visual space, the photographer turned the real world into vibrant, graphic pattern. “The pictures aim at illustrating nothing whatever beyond the fact that we are surrounded by many beautiful and exciting things,” Helmer-Petersen said. “And that there can be a great deal of pleasure in spotting them and capturing their beauty by means of color photography.”

Keld Helmer-Petersen: Photographs 1941–2013 offers a full retrospective of the photographer’s masterful work over the course of seven decades. Each chapter is introduced with a short text by Helmer-Petersen himself, and the publication concludes with an interview with the photographer conducted by Martin Parr.

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