Sune Jonsson

An Exhibition of Sune Jonsson and David Goldblatt

Sune Jonsson

“A documentary work is not intended for the esthetic connoisseur or the preoccupied consumer, but rather for people in vital need of increasing their knowledge: of transforming communicated environments, epochs, nature scenes into personal experiential substance – something with which to enrich their own inner landscapes.”

Nine Reflections Concerning 1/125th

Johan Engman with his Dürer monograph in Esperanto, Djupsjönäs 1957

Johan Engman, from the book The village with the blue house, Djupsjönäs 1957

Johan Engman, from the book The village with the blue house, Djupsjönäs 1957

From the short novel The Dreamer in the Blue House 
Sune Jonsson


“Emil the Dreamer is definitely a bit different than anyone else and people in my village are of the opinion that he could have become a professor. Emil’s strangeness is obvious, for it is reflected in the exterior of his house which is blue and located at the edge of the forest. But Emil has not always lived in a blue house. During the days of Old Man Emil the house was as red as his neighbor’s and all the other houses in the village. (…)

People in my village are not accustomed to dreamers; after all, dreamers are not needed.” (…)

“Everything was the schoolteacher’s fault. At least that was what Old Man Emil said and he hated Miss Karolina Karlsson for it. She read to the children from From Pole to Pole and made Emil fall in love with books. During Emil’s childhood the father had tried to suppress this budding folly and redeem the dreamer, but his eyes could not be everywhere. Emil simply disappeared. He read surreptitiously. Read throughout his school years in books lent to him by Miss Karolina Karlsson.”

Nyåker Lake, Nordmaling 1950s
On the way home from an outdoor dance, Nyåker 1957.
School breaks up for the summer, Holmön 1956

Hjalmar Nygren, smallholder and sexton, Nyåker 1956

Berta och Helmer Jonsson, Nyåker, Nordmaling 1956
Alvar och Irma Johansson’s wedding, Arnäs, Örnsköldsvik 1956.
Alvar has picked lilies of the valley for his bride, Arnäs, Örnsköldsvik 1956
Albert Johansson dences at his son’s wedding, Arnäs, Örnsköldsvik 1956.
Algot and Helga Johansson ferry themselves across Nyåker Lake, Nordmaling 1950s.
Waiting for the train, railway station, Vännäs 1952
Filip Hörnkvist checking the rail, Brattsbacka, Nordmaling 1957

Cover of the book Images from the great migration, 1963

The three Jonsson brothers, Öravan, Lycksele 1962

From the short novel The Fields of Långsele
Sune Jonsson

“The slump-shouldered brother, however, only talked about the fields he had seen in Långsele. The youngest brother was down at L. H. Persson’s to buy Danish pastries. The middle brother put a white linen towel over the clean pile of dishes. The slump-shouldered brother continued:

— You know. It was as smooth as a living room floor. There wasn’t a stone in sight. There hadn’t been forest around for many hundred years. Drain ditches had been dug everywhere. Things just grew. It just grew and the fields billowed against the sky. When I asked why they did not cut them they answered that there was no money in it. (…)

If they too would have been forced to work their fingers to the bone they would probably have thought that it was really worth the effort to bring in the barley. It was as yellow as gold. It billowed against the sky. It had been a good year for barley. Really good barley. Here we have always worried that frost would kill it. The grain was dense and full-eared but they said that it wasn’t worth cutting it. They just went here and there between the factories and talked about money. The only thing they talked about was money. They should have been put on a rock-strewn field like ours! Then they would probably have talked less about jobs with a salary.” 


One of the Jonsson brothers, Öravan, Lycksele 1962
Clear-felled area and derelict farm, Överst Myrbränna, Lycksele 1962

Per-Erik Mårtensson, 4 years old, Norra Tresund, Vilhelmina 1961

Rose-Marie Nyberg takes a nap, Norra Tresund, Vilhelmina 1961
Severina Nyberg, switchboard operator, Nyluspen, Vilhelmina 1961
Severina Nyberg’s kitchen, Nyluspen, Vilhelmina 1961
Johan Alfred Ågren’s derelict smallholding, Mötingselberg, Vilhelmina 1962
Ragnar and Henny Karlsson, Överst Myrbränna, Lycksele 1962
Märta Olofsson playing brides, Aronsjö, Vilhelmina 1961

“The ideal situation, of course, is that in which the photographer is his own client. Then the assignment is a vital function of the photographer himself; then his depiction of reality will occur at that point where he himself stands as a human being.  From every viewpoint, it must be an optimal advantage to be able to seek out the subject matter that is made up of one´s internal and external landscapes.”

Nine Reflections Concerning 1/125th

Assembly room at the farmer Rudolf Eriksson’s place, Vormträsk, Lycksele 1962
At the widow Jenny Edström’s home, Hökmark, Lövånger, Skellefteå 1962
At Miss Hanna Glas’s home, Ånäset, Robertsfors 1962
Tent meeting organized by the Swedish Missionary Society, Nyåker 1957
From the Pentecostal revival meeting, Husbondliden, Lycksele 1957-63
From the Pentecostal revival meeting, Husbondliden, Lycksele 1957-63
From the Pentecostal revival meeting, Husbondliden, Lycksele 1957-63
From the Pentecostal revival meeting, Husbondliden, Lycksele 1957-63

”My childhood was in the thirties and early forties. In the remaining visual picture of the cultivation region between the coast and the inland nearly every active man was a farmer. Histort was alive in the present without being noisy, the present time glided slowly and unnoticeably into history, a new generation took over already given forms. The movement of time was as natural and customary as when the farmer after the evening milking went in and sat down at the barley porridge of the evening. The cultivation region seemed stable, indestructible.

Permanence was an illution.” 

Jordabok 1976

Agnäs, Bjurholm, July 15, 1971
Helmer Jonsson and his horse Frank, Baggård, Nordmaling 1960
The Jonsson family on their way to fetch hay, Baggård, Nordmaling 1960
Helmer and Edvin Jonsson, Baggård, Nordmaling 1960
The Jonsson family takes a coffee break during haymaking, Baggård, Nordmaling 1960
Edvin Jonsson herding cows, Baggård, Nordmaling 1960
Helmer and Berta in the cowshed, Baggård, Nordmaling 1960
Edvin Jonsson after fishing, Baggård, Nordmaling 1960
Helen Jonsson drinking coffee from the saucer, Baggård, Nordmalin 1960
Helmer carting manure on the snow, Baggård, Nordmaling 1960
Helmer and Berta Jonsson at the kitchen tablr, Baggård, Nordmaling 1960
Helmer Jonsson, Baggård, Nordmaling 1960

”So many people around us are (seen as) anonymous, gray. They do not exist at all. I wanted to incorporate my village people into a larger context, to make them part of the world.”

From the film film Mot glömskans tyranni, 1982

Contact Us

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt