Daily Archives: April 20, 2017
Anders Petersen is a Swedish photographer born in 1944 and still active today. From 1967 – 1970 he photographed the regulars (street hustlers, pimps, prostitutes and crazy people) of the Cafe Lehmitz in Hamburg Germany. The resulting book was first published in 1978 by Schirmer/Mosel in Germany. Café Lehmitz has since become regarded as a seminal book in the history of European photography. I found out about it (I’m embarrassed to say) from researching the Tom Waits LP cover of Rain Dogs. I always thought the man in the photo was Tom. Needless to say, he is not. His name is actually Rose, and the photo is called Lily and Rose and is actually the cover of the Cafe Lehmitz book.
The Victorians got up to a lot of shenanigans and had some pretty odd customs and past-times. They made elaborated brooches and dioramas from the hair of a dead loved ones. They photographed the dead as if they were still alive, sitting upright, eyes open, or holding their poor dead babys. They had a general obsession with taxidermy (they stuffed anything). They made hats out of cats, birds and other small animals. They loved anything gothic (Dracula, Frankenstein and Dr. Jeyckl and Mr. Hyde came from the period). Freak shows were a main stay – think Elephant Man. And for whatever reason they liked to photograph themselves w/ skeletons. Some of these would be deemed risque, some just weird and probably one or two from some long forgotten gothic theater. I think they were just bored and need to stretch out a bit from all the rules of the day-to-day Victorian society.