Photographs by Gerry Johansson.
Byggforlaget, Stockholm, 1998. Unpaged, 6 ½ x 9 ¼".
From Altheimer, Kansas to Zell, South Dakota: Swedish photographer Gerry Johansson traverses the whole of America, enigmatically portraying its towns and landscapes. These square-format photographs bring to mind Robert Adams and Lee Friedlander but with a distinct European sensibility. Superbly sequenced and printed.
Growing up as a teenager in Sweden Johansson had many influences of American culture. He listened to Miles, Coltrane, Mingus and Dolphy, read MAD magazine and watched a lot of American films. When he was 17 he spent a year with relatives in New Jersey. He writes, “In my contact with American youth I always felt that I had a very different idea of what America was. In my opinion they had missed the whole point of being part of the American culture.” This experience culminated 30 years later in “Amerika,” Johansson’s photographic series and book on what America feels like to him. He writes, “Nothing beats standing on a street corner watching something you don’t quite understand.” His black and white images reflect American culture and ideology from the mid-west, south, north, east and west coasts, as seen through his Swedish eyes.
See also A Conversation with Gerry Johansson