The first major publication dedicated to one of Norway’s most important photographers. Working in a signature modulating grayscale, the late Norwegian photographer Tom Sandberg spent decades rendering the world according to an exacting vision, training his eye on the shapes and forms of the every day—dark abstractions of asphalt and sea, the hard edges of an automobile, an ominously curved tunnel, an anonymous figure casting a shadow—to plumb the nature of photographic seeing. His pictures are subtle yet transformative, studies of stillness that radiate mystery.
A perfectionist in the darkroom, Sandberg was acutely sensitive to the rich spectrum of black and white, and his handmade prints, at times printed on aluminum and canvas, project a powerful physical presence.
Although Sandberg is esteemed in his native Norway and throughout Scandinavia and Europe, his oeuvre is less known in the United States and other parts of the world. This monograph, produced in close collaboration with the Tom Sandberg Foundation in Oslo, is a long-overdue celebration of this distinguished artist.
Photographs by Tom Sandberg and text by Pico Iyer and Bob Nickas.
About the Author
Norwegian photographer Tom Sandberg (September 14, 1953 – February 5, 2014) is considered a pioneer within the field of photographic art. He was born in Narvik, Norway, and worked and lived in Oslo.
A master of light in the great photographic tradition, Sandberg worked exclusively with the medium of black-and-white photography and continued all through his life to create his analog artwork with its fine hues and tonalities in the darkroom.
A man who was always on the move with his camera, Tom Sandberg explored the surface and depth ratio in a motif to build both ambiguous and recognizable complex visual reality, through photography as a language of perception.
Retrieving his modest, yet majestic images within the photographic classical genres such as clouds, people on the street, the female nude, airplanes, and landscapes, but also abstract subject matter, Sandberg’s remarkable poetic vision is imbued with a strong sense of presence and mystery.
Renown also for his large-scale prints on various media such as aluminum sheets and canvas, and evocative portraits of the likes of John Cage and Krzysztof Penderecki, Sandberg’s images have the capacity to render an experience of seeing the world anew.
In the early 1970s, Sandberg studied photography at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham, England, where Thomas Joshua Cooper, Paul Hill, and Minor White where among his teachers. His early work was one of the first acquisitions of photography by The National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design, Oslo, and he paved the way for photography within the art world in Norway.
Sandberg’s international recognition had its peak with the solo exhibition at MoMA PS1, New York, in 2007. His work is found in a number of museums as well as public and private collections, such as the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.