Icons – Photographs by Larsåke Thuresson

From the beginning of the 1960s up until the mid-1970s, Larsåke Thuresson captured more than 300 musical artists and rock/pop groups on film. This treasure trove of images portrays both international and Swedish artists, many of whom would go on to become musical icons. Although many of Thuresson’s photos have been published, a large proportion lay boxed up in his attic. Luckily, Larsåke’s daughters had the foresight to say to him: ”you should do something with these,” which he did. The result was the creation of a book with 614 images, some of which were taken on assignment and others that take us on a journey into the private lives of the artists, a sphere largely inaccessible for today’s photographers. The photobook was published in 2015 and now it is time to take this visual representation of musical history on tour. Larsåke Thuresson and Dunker’s kulturhus have come together in a unique collaboration to produce this exhibition called, none other than, Icons.

It took Larsåke Thuresson three years to scan the entirety of his photographs, more than 65 000 images. The collection features musical legends such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Tom Jones, Janis Joplin, Cher, Birgit Nilsson, Cornelis Vreeswijk, Björn & Benny and Ted Gärdestad. It was from this enormous archive that he selected 614 images that feature in his photobook Icons. Some of the images have previously been published in the media and on album covers but most of them have never been seen – until now.

– I have photographed nearly 100 international and over 200 Swedish artists and rock/pop groups, Larsåke tells us and continues by saying:
– Sometimes I regret not taking more pictures but perhaps that is precisely why I managed to get the photographs that I did. Maybe the secret is just walking around, taking it easy and starting a conversation with the people you are going to photograph, and then snapping some photos here and there. I don’t think it’s a good idea to be too disruptive or intrusive.

Larsåke’s approach gives us both a sense of the everyday as well as a sort of intimacy, often in the thick of it all, he seized moments in time that are almost unattainable for the photographers of today. The idea of following Cher into NK to buy makeup is simply unthinkable these days. Or, just imagine being a fly on the windshield when Larsåke snapped the photo of the people who would become The Band, with Bob Dylan together with impresario and Hylands Hörna bassist Simon Brehm in Lill-Bab’s Mercedes. Unfortunately, the driver Lasse Berghagen didn’t make it into the shot.

Close to 200 images are presented in the exhibition, along with vintage posters, vinyl records and magazines from the time. The images are accompanied by Larsåke’s stories that range from funny and surprising to emotional and moving. The book contains the perspectives of different cultural critics on social issues, fashion, music history and entertainment. Leif Pagrotsky, Bengt Palmers, Lotta Lewenhaupt, Lennart Wretlind, Håkan Lahger and Fredrik Strage are among those who have contributed. The exhibition is a delightful combination of photographic motifs and music, additionally we get a chance to meet Larsåke Thuresson in a recently produced film portrait.

In this exhibition we meet some of the biggest names in music: Agnetha Fältskog, Ann-Louise Hansson, B.B. King, Bill Haley, Björn Skifs, Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson, Bob Dylan, Cher/Sonny & Cher, Chuck Berry, Cornelis Vreeswijk, Donovan, Fred Åkerström, Hep Stars, Hootenanny Singers, Jan Malmsjö, Janis Joplin, Jerry Williams, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, Lasse Berghagen, Lill Lindfors, Monica Zetterlund, Ola and the Janglers, Olle Adolphson, Robert Broberg, Simon and Garfunkel, Sten Nilsson/Sten & Stanley, Svante Thuresson, Sven-Ingvars, Tages, Ted Gärdestad, The Band, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Shanes, The Walker Brothers, The Who, Tom Jones, Tomas Ledin and Tommy Körberg.

Icons, which is all about the golden age of pop music, obviously needs a playlist and there will be an exciting line-up of events towards the autumn. We will get a chance to meet some famous and some lesser-known artists, musical profiles, listen to discussions, watch films, go on guided tours, play a music quiz, listen to original music, covers and much more. We hope you will allow us to get back to you with more information about this…it’s just a few Keith Richards-riffs away.

Photo: Bob Dylan and The Band with Simon Brehm 1966 © T H U R E S S O N ’ S P H O T O C O L L E C T I O N

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