A Night at the Café Lehmitz

PHotoEspaña 2017 hosts at CentroCentro the major work by the Swedish artist Anders Petersen, one of the most noteworthy European photographers. The exhibition includes over 300 photographs relive the nights of this Hamburg café between 1968 and 1970, with its regulars, prostitutes, pimps, drag queens and beggars

Besides this exhibition shows for the first time previously unseen works and documentary material from Petersen’s personal archive that allow a never before seen approach to his working method.

Between 1968 and 1970 Anders Petersen portrayed the regulars to the Café Lehmitz with great humanity and closeness, photographs “made with the heart”, as described by the author himself, who only at the end, when reviewing the negatives passed through his capacity for analysis.

A portrait that is away from the compassion or the repulsion that recreates the warmth and camaraderie that was felt in the café during those years. In his images he wished to portray the “human dignity” that he felt was tangible among the café’s customers. Also, he wished to show the consequences of a system based only on money, in which inequalities created a class of inhabitants of a lower standing condemned to social rejection. “I knew I had to stay between those four walls and photograph the people. I felt that the Lehmitz was a unique place, a place of encounter for the weak who offered each other kindness and understanding, but at the same time it was the end of the line”, explains Petersen.

A Night at the Café Lehmitz