Johan Sundgren: I lampans sken / By lamplight (signed)

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From 2000-06 I worked for the home care services in the Södermalm area in Stockholm. I started taking photos, and also took an extra camera along and asked the senior citizens to photograph me in my work as a home carer.

There were several reasons why I started working in home care after a longer period of photo studies in Mexico. The home care unit was downstairs from where I lived and I needed to support myself. I also had experience of home care work since before.

Another reason why I was drawn to the encounter with the elderly, was the pace. Slowness, delay, time. There was a will and respect for memories and thoughts in everyday encounters. In many senior citizens I met a need to arrange themselves over the material, something I recognized from the meeting with a number of Mexicans. It is perhaps in part due to resources. The choices are limited. And still to stand is the interpersonal meeting to appreciate and cherish.

It is also interesting how the elderly have been our major carriers of information, equivalent to our time's Internet and Google. They formed a collective memory and conveyed information. Nowadays, everything goes much faster, and we don't always turn to the elderly for the information, maybe we often turn away.
After a while I asked the senior citizens to take photos of me in my work as a home carer. I wanted to highlight the role of the home carer in the first place.

But there were also personal reasons. The homecoming from Mexico had an strong impact on me and was not entirely unproblematic. A groping for identity took over and thoughts of belonging. Who am I and who will I be? Photographer? Cultural worker? Home carer? In Mexico? In Sweden? Somewhere else? Perhaps the feeling appeased by itself by being portrayed. Materialized.

/ Johan Sundgren

112 b/w images • Afterword by Johan Jönson • Translation to English: Stephen Donovan • Editing and layout: Gösta Flemming, Johan Sundgren • Design: My Hellsten, Gösta Flemming • Hard cover • 228 x 177 mm • 120 pages • Swedish/English • 2012

Selected for the exhibition Tell Me Your Truth, Panoràmic film and photo festival, Granollers, Barcelona, Spain 2020.

Selected for Hasselblad Center’s exhibition Published – Photo Books in Sweden, Gothenburg Museum of Art 2018.