I am sure that some of the reactions to Petersens images are similar to those by Diane Arbus and Nan Goldin.
That’s just the freaks, they use to say. That has nothing to do with us, they use to think.
Anders Petersen, Londonderry; 1971
We don’t want to know,
and that’s easy to understand,
we don’t want to know how close we are to the abyss,
merely covered by a frail layer of daily routines and bourgeois conventions.
We are avoiding pain and live the compromise.
We believe to be in safety.
“It´s hard for me to submit myself to reason in photographing.
I want to be unprotected,
with the eagerness of a child.
My thoughts come before and after.
Café Lehmnitz 1967-1970
The people at the Lemnitz
had a presence and a sincerity that I myself lacked.
It was okay to be desperate,
to be tender, to sit alone
or share the company of others.
There was great warmth and tolerance
in this destitute setting.
My first exhibition was staged at the Lemnitz.
Three hundred and fifty pictures.
Kurt the barman and me had agreed
that if people recognized themselves
in the pictures, they could keep them.
I need to be at touching distance
to know I exist.
Often it’s a question of approaching a reality
that you’re aware of but don’t want to know of,
it’s a kind of curiosity,
with fear acting as a springboard.”
“For thirty years
I have been taking and retaking this pic.
What’s it all about?
The relationship between two humans.”
Quotes from “Anders Petersen, Photographs; 1966-1996”