A note on the photographer Lena Koller

One grey and gloomy morning in February 1996 on an island far out in Stockholm’s archipelago I happened upon another lunatic. Someone who also saw the extraordinary beauty of the wet snow which silently blotted out the landscape with a palette ranging from palest white to darkest grey. Over a cup of tea in my cottage we discovered a mutual enthusiasm for these barren islands that testify to a readiness to withstand whatever trials life may bring. During our conversation it became evident to me that I had met the photographer I needed to illustrate a very different sort of cookery book that I was currently producing.

The lengthy title of the book translates into “Twenty-three Deep Breaths From the Divers’ Bar on the Island of Sandhamn”, while the cover harmonized with the barren, grey mood of the wintry archipelago. This may not sound like a recipe for commercial success. But despite lacking a TV personality or a big-name chef hehind it, the book rose high in the charts for the following years. And I think I know why. Lena Koller’s images are beautiful without being consciously ingratiating. They arouse, in the Scandinavian psyche, a sense of being one with our origins, freed from every trace of sentimentality. Things are as they are and they are strikingly beautiful.

How does she do it? She has an absolute feeling for how far she can go before what is naturally beautiful becomes overworked and pretentious. And she has, of course, the essential technical skills that people better qualified than myself are quick to point to.

For everyone who has lost a close friend or relative Lena’s exhibition “Compost” came as a reminder that everything is as it should be. Death and decomposition fulfil a function and, for this reason, they gain acceptance. In Lena’s exhibition, the subtext was empowered by her aesthetic. Never have rotten fruit and faded flowers tasted or smelled so good.

Björn Rietz
Creative director

Curriculum Vitae , Lena Koller, Photographer. Born in 1959 ,Stockholm.

1979-82. The University of stockholm. Arthistory 60 p. Journalism 40p

Economics 20 p.

1979. Preparatory Artschool eveningtime.

1984-86. Berghs advertising school of communication, graphic design.

1987. Kycklingstipendiet.

1988. Portraits, fashion

1989. London

1990. Stockholm. Working mainly on portraits, fashion.

1994. New york university Filmintensive

1995. Interiorphotography.

1996. The cookbook ”Dykarbaren” Editor Ahead Multimedia.

1997. Start to colaborate with ”Gourmet”.

1998. Ikea , Alcrodesigners

1999. Day –Birger&Mikkelssen

2000. Two cookbooks. ”Bönboken” och ”Soppboken” Editor Natur och Kultur.

2001. Two cookbooks with the restaurant ”Norrlands bar och grill”

2002. Several assignments with different foodcompanys. Among them; ”Kronfågel”

and ”Swedish meet”

2004. The book ”Havsbad”Editor: Wahlström och Widstrand

The cookbook ”Spring” Editor: Wasakronan

The cookbook from ”F12,Grill och Restaurangen”Editor:Natur och kultur

2005. The cookbook ”En god jul” Editor:Max Ström

2006. The guidebook ”I love Mallorca” Editor: Mat &vänner

2007. Starts the company ”Snowflingmedia” With the coauthors of ”Havsbad”

2008. March. Exihibibition at Kabusa Konsthall (Ystad) Retrospective portraits.

2008: June. Release of ”AmazingSweden” Editor: Snowflingmedia.

2010: July. SFF:s Filmutbildning Canon 5d MarkII och Finalcut.

2010: September. Release of ”Rosendals trädgård” Editor: Norstedts

2010: October. Exhibition ”Kompost” at Studio Bergamott

2011: February. “Kompost” at Vår Gård

2014: March. “Svenska ostar och ostmakare” Editor: Arena

2014: August. “Artipelag Magasin”

2017: April. Exhibition “Vexillum” at Studio Bergamott



Fotograf Lena Koller
Taxgatan 10
115 45 Stockholm

E-mail: lena(at)lenakoller(dot)com
Cell: +46 70 756 61 35

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