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A Swedish Photographer Depicts the Mean Streets of Hamburg

From 13 November 2013 to 02 February 2014

Gritty and groundbreaking photography

Swedish photographer Anders Petersen is known for his intimate depictions of members from the outskirts of society. With an emphasis on gritty realism, Petersen began his career by capturing ladies of the night and other ne'er-do-wells who spent their nights at a bar in Hamburg, Germany in the 1960s.

These shots would later be collected in a book called Café Lehmitz, after the bar where most of the photographs were taken. The publishing of this book marked Petersen's grand entrance into the world of celebrated artists. Even today, the vision portrayed in this work is a source of influence for photographers around the world.

After Café Lehmitz made him famous, the artist continued to work in his native Sweden, becoming the director of a photography school in Gothenburg. However, the legacy of his 1970s debut has never faded.

At the BNF, the national library of France, a new exhibition will introduce spectators to this seminal work, which illustrates an unpredictable and hard-edged world through 320 photographs taken by Petersen.