Nordic Light 2012
Peter Gerdehag (1953, Sweden)
Peter Gerdehag has filmed and photographed nature in Sweden for over 40 years. He is drawn to things of rarity that are worthy of preservation, things of eye-catching beauty. In an age where people complain of life’s bustle and where our focus on money and economics is greater than ever, it is a great relief to be able to experience the world through Peter’s eyes and ears.
Peter has made the unusual choice of combining stills photography and film . He spends his time close to nature or in remote corners of the Swedish countryside together with people in remote communities. This is a world that is in danger of dying out, and which Peter is documenting before it is too late. With his care and concern for nature and these hardworking people, he gives a voice to unique local characters.
Peter’s pictures are well composed and honest, but also poetic. The precision he learned in the air force has served him well. He has been awarded a series of distinctions for nature and landscape photography, and received a best film photography prize for his film on The Horseman.
The horseman Stig-Anders is a farmer that does as he pleases and has no notion of time. He lives with his three Ardennes horses. The film was released in 2006 and has become popular in Sweden. It may be that modern people need characters like Stig-Anders to mirror themselves and their lives. “People who do not worry about time are fascinating,” says Peter. “In modern society they are the ultimate deviants. To not worry about time puts you at risk of being considered as an unsociable loner who refuses to be part of society.” After The Horseman came the film Women with Cows about the sisters Inger and Britt, two colourful characters with iron wills. They maintain a dying tradition, in which cows are milked by hand and the milk is delivered to a dairy.
“It has been a pleasure to get to know these people,” says the hardworking Peter, who has followed their lives for several years and turned them into TV personalities. His limitless enthusiasm and patience has allowed him to get close to their lives.
The Horseman has gained a larger TV audience than any other independently produced TV documentary in Sweden. Women with Cows is the documentary film that has attracted most viewers to the Swedish cinema during the last 30 years.
Peter Gerdehag is not just an acknowledged and well-loved photographer and film maker, but also an excellent writer and lecturer. “Peter is an amazing character, a real live wire, and he has become a hot property in Sweden!” says Morten Krogvold. “He is cultural, intellectual, satirical, and possibly one of the most curious people I have ever known. When we first met Peter, we quickly realised that we had to get him to Nordic Light. He is a joyful and enormously generous person. His pictures and films are really worth seeing, and just meeting him is an experience not to be missed!” Peter Gerdehag’s new film Landet som inte längre är (The country that is no more) is now due for release.