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August Strindberg


"I do not care about my own appearance, but I would hope that people could see into my soul, and that is presented better in these photographs than in others."

August Strindberg, Sweden's most famous author, continually sought new avenues for his artistic talents. These included at times intensive experiments in photography, the innovation of the age.

Self-portraits and role figures were among Strindberg's favourite photographic themes. Staying at Gersau in Switzerland in 1886, Strindberg photographed a series of portraits of himself in the roles of author, paterfamilias, gentleman, musician etc. In many of the photographs of the Gersau series the composition is impressionistically asymmetrical with peculiar croppings. In the 1890s Strindberg was taken with the ideaa of photographing the human soul and spoke at lenght of "psychological portraits" to be taken with a lensless camera. Strindberg was able to realize some of his photographic ideas with assistance of the professional photographers John Lundgren, Otto Johansson and Herman Anderson.

The occult and Strindberg's interest in the mysterious forms of nature were the starting points for his "celestographs" and "crystallizations" which were "photographed" without using a lens. They prefigured in a surprising way the photographic experiments of the surrealists in the 1920s. The world of clouds fascinated Strindberg in the late stages of his photography in the first decades of the twentieth century.

Herman Anderson took his last photographs of August Stridnberg in 1908 at the latter's apartment in "The Blue Tower" building, which is now the Strindberg Museum.

Guitarist, Gersau 1886 Siri von Essen, Gersau 1886 'We shall all become gardeners', Gersau 1886 Self-portrait as bohemian artist, Berlin 1892-93 Self-portrait, Värmdö-Brevik (?) 1891-92

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