Twenty years ago I got to know Anders Edström when he started taking pictures for a magazine I worked for, and still do, called Purple. He’d been taking pictures for Martin Margiela, Purple’s fashion hero. His pictures made me think he had a preternatural sense for photography, for which light is its primary medium. And while his subjects were the phenomenal world, his photographs were never flashy, graphic, geometric, sexy, or shocking. Yet he was always able to capture the essence or singularity of things in themselves.
Immanuel Kant called everything in the visible world phenomena. He called the invisible matter that holds the world together the noumenon. He had no idea what that was. Scientists in the coming century would revive the Greek thinker Democritus’s term atom to describe the building blocks of phenomena. Later they speculated on the existence of Dark Matter, which is as mysterious as Kant’s noumenon and supposedly occupies the majority of the universe.
Looking at Anders’ pictures all these years I’ve often felt he focused as much on the atmosphere of light as the phenomena caught in his lens. The best photographers do that. But most of life is a quest for some kind of foreground position, which is most often what is photographed. Ander’s always seemed to look a bit further or maybe a bit behind, letting the backgrounds come to the fore as he searched for the quiddity, the very thingness of the material world, which, as Einstein said, is composed of light and energy.
Two days before I wrote this Anders told me he set these pictures up in a spiral pattern, based on how and when the pictures were taken, often in many exposures. I thought of Heraclitus saying, everything remains in flux, you can’t step into the same river twice, accept the logos because its immanent in the world and transcends the mind. It’s how one might think about these pictures.
Anders Edström: Spreads
Exhibition running from February 16–March 31, 2019 at Fullersta Gård, Huddinge.