Images courtesy of Gerry Johansson.
In 1993 and 2005 to 2012 Johansson made vast journeys through Germany, visiting 176 different places in which he stopped to make photographs. For him, his interest lies in the relationship between people and the environment, but insists on photographing these places devoid of any human activity. He seeks to find the beauty in the banal, and to subtly comment on places which have a personal interest to him. His imagery is very much in the style of the New Topographic movement, amplified by his decision to work solely in black and white.
He attempts, much like Lee Friedlander did, to flatten perspective and to create compositions that are tonally and visually interesting. His photographs mainly focus on place and aims to communicate a sense of temporality to the viewer. Angles, leading lines and tonal qualities are carefully considered, resulting in work that is visually stunning to look at. His use of wandering and exploration is an admirable quality of this work, and is something that resonates with me. Black and white imagery suggests the “mindful vision of careful listening”, and it is clear that Johansson is a keen observer.
Some of his photographs have a quiet awkwardness about them, and possibly suggest an uncertainty with the photographer. He consciously ensures that people are absent from his images, which in an interview with Vice is because he wants to highlight the place that he is capturing. He therefore believes that people would detract from what he is choosing to direct his lens at. When talking to Jörn Colberg from Conscientious Photo Magazine, Johansson states that photography is “very much the art of the subconscious. You have the possibility to react to your feelings instantly and it is very difficult to pinpoint what draws you to certain objects or places.” He is clearly a photographer that finds interest in a variety of things, and prefers to photograph with an instinctive nature.