Project info

Penumbra is a project shot over several years (2003-2013) where I try to capture the time - and the mood - we spend every summer in Österlen in the southeast part of Sweden.

From the foreword of Penumbra:

"I have enjoyed immensely viewing and reviewing some of the images from ‘665’ and ‘Penumbra’. The range and richness of tone, color, texture, light. The impeccable composition and framing, the choice of focal planes. Those technical choices, conscious or instinctive, result in remarkable aesthetics. To name one, the coexistence of focussed and unfocussed elements, creating a dynamic within the image itself. We are at once pulled in and kept at bay as we enter the image to roam and wander, to see, and to experience the tensions at work.

Peter Eriksson celebrates the beauty of simple mundane objects and places. Standstill, their quietness and are also a statement of their transient nature, as if their vanishing has just ocured or is about to come. The calmness and silence is bliss, but also acute, almost painful consciousness of all things ephemeral.

We find ourselves longing for what was there just the second before. In the process, all those empty chairs, benches, ladders, are neither landscape nor portrait. They are ‘near portraits’, challenging and blurring the boundaries of genre.

As for his portraits, whether veiled figures, ghostly double exposures, or simple reflection; they are dreamy, candid, truth revealing. His subjects are so beautifully abandoned to themselves and their dreamy state, that we forget the presence of the photographer. Again, the images speak of the ephemeral, as though we are condemned to catch only fleeting moments.

Landscape has a place of choice in Peter Eriksson’s work. His landscapes feel both familiar and timeless, spiritually evoking, awe inspiring and achingly beautiful. They hold mysteries and secrets. The predominant use of a ‘standing’ rectangle, as opposed to the traditionnal western view of the horizontal landscape, interrupts the horizontality and linearity of time passing. Halted, frozen, in a sort of ‘full frontal’, his landscapes are looking straight back at us, behaving like portraits.

Eriksson’s subjects act as anaphoric echoes, answering to one another. They are sentinels, witnesses of the human presence, now absent, making that very absence so incredibly palpable.

To paraphrase photographer Robert Adams, I would say that beyond geography, beyond autobiography, we are now well into metaphor, and the artist gives us, image after image, solemn, iconic, strong complex cultural artifacts, true archetypes.

I have never met Peter Eriksson. Nor have I been to Sweden. But with him, I stand in that penumbra into which he invites us all. We recognize it as our own. We have been there. In that field at dusk, in that grove, on that bench in the backyard, under the tree. And we have been that dreamy child on the back porch chair, our thoughts as light and luminous as passing clouds.

Suzanne Lafontaine,
Montréal, Octobre 2009."