New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

There But for Fortune
Anders Peterson
City Diary
Reviewer #1
Anders Peterson, “Rome, 2005”

The show in the front gallery at Marvelli presents 100 lusciously-dark prints by the Swedish photographer Anders Peterson. Dated over the last five years, the images continue to document the milieu that Peterson has explored for the past 40, the world of working class barflies, drug addicts, prostitutes and crazies of western Europe. Although billed as a diary, there are few recurring characters here, and as is his penchant, most of the women are considerably younger then he is. Peterson however, has managed to pull some startling images from these brief encounters.

The glimpse that Peterson offers of this nether-world (there is not a celebrity in sight) serves a function that photography has always served, stretching back to the aristocratic visits to the Bedlam Hospital. His images have the classic, high contrast, shot-on-film, quality that traces its roots back to Wee Gee’s ‘Naked City’. Peterson has perfected this style to the point where he can turn a plate of strawberry shortcakes and a pot of tea into an ominous offering from a drug-addled, evil stepmother. No matter what these people’s actual situation is, they are surrounded by a dark and desperate world from which they are unable to escape.

 by unidentified photographer.
Anders Peterson, Installation view of ‘City Diary’

Is there some redeeming social value in all this? Not in any conventional sense. Is it enjoyable to see? Definitely yes–after all, voyeurism is as close to the nerve-center of photography as you can get. Marvelli is a clean, safe and odorless gallery. It is conveniently open during the daytime, so there is no need to stay out late, and little chance of contracting STD’s or TB. No one is going to cadge money from you either. As we re-emerge onto the bright, wind-swept streets of Chelsea, join me in singing “There but for fortune, go you or I” .

Anders Peterson
City Diary

Marvelli Gallery
526 W 26th St. 2nd Fl
Chelsea         Map

212 627 3363

Friday, November 12 to
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Hours: Tue-Sat, 10 to 6