A favorite photographer: Hans Gedda

Hans Gedda, a Swedish photographer, has taken some of the best known portrait photographs there are. Many would probably recognize his photos, without necessarily knowing who Gedda is or that he took them.

Look at this iconic shot of Nelson Mandela. Gedda explains how he took it in the documentary “Geniet från Flen” (The genius from Flen), which, if you can find it, is well worth a watching. It used to be on SVT Play, but I managed to buy the DVD. It’s available here.

Like many great photographers, there’s a deceptive simplicity to Gedda’s photographs. They may, at first glance, look simple. But as you look at the more, take in what they have to tell you, and you consider what it took to make them, you’re sure to realize that there is a depth to the photographs and their creation.

That they’re black and white, and square, and shot with Hasselblad attracts me even more. But he seems to have an ability to make people relax in front of his camera, and reveal something of their personality to Gedda and the camera. That’s a rare ability.