As a celebration of this Renaissance man who, with unwavering curiosity, continuously developed the medium of photography in its technical as well as artistic aspects, we will revisit parts of the A Child is Born exhibition, comprising large-scale photographs from Lennart Nilsson’s world-famous series, many of which had never been displayed before the 2010 exhibition at Fotografiska.
“It may not be widely remembered that before he embarked on his career as a medical photographer, Lennart Nilsson was Sweden’s best documentary photographer. His depictions of Stockholm were epic and he was a master of composition and of infusing his images with a powerful sense of presence, which is what creates greatness,” Jan Broman explains.
A Child is Born takes us on a breathtaking journey to the beginning of life, under the guidance of Lennart Nilsson, who broke new ground in the art of scientific medical photography. His experiments with electron microscopes and photographs enlarged several hundred thousand times, provided him with the possibility to create high-definition images previously unseen by the human eye. CEO Jan Broman, who co-founded Fotografiska with his brother Per Broman, enjoyed a long friendship with Lennart Nilsson as their father Rolf Broman was the legend’s copyist.
“Lennart Nilsson was very pleasant, generous and always fully committed to what he did. His life’s work is simply stunning and A Child is Born is one of the most important documentary photographic works ever produced. He was always very involved in all aspects of the photographic process and that he inaugurated Fotografiska meant a lot to us. He was a prominent researcher; constantly working and active until the very end. When he had a vision for a photograph he advanced the technical development until he was able to take the picture he wanted,” Jan Broman says.
Lennart Nilsson began working on the series A Child is Born in 1953 and it took him 12 years to complete it. When Life magazine first published the images, in 1965, across 16 pages and the cover, the entire print run of 8 million issues sold out in a matter of days. Only the lunar landing in 1969 has sold more issues.
Published in 1965, the book A Child is Born has been revised several times and the latest edition was issued in 2009. The same year Lennart Nilsson was awarded the honorary title of Professor by the Swedish government. The distinction is awarded for significant contributions to popular adult education.
I want to show what is close to us, what we all know, in new ways.
– Lennart Nilsson.