The Platinum Egg 1992: Jan Bengtsson.

Upper-secondary school was nothing for Jan Bengtsson (born 1941). He went straight from nine-year compulsory school to photo school, inspired by an older brother who had a darkroom in the family’s basement in Enskede. His first job was in Stockholm’s leading daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter’s advertising department, where Lars Hall was one of his young coworkers.... Their cooperative relationship would be important, continuing throughout their professional lives, with Lars Hall as an “incredibly demanding, photo-savvy” client. Together with Nils-Ingvar Svensson, Jan Bengtsson opened a photo studio. This marked the beginning of long collaborations with some of the leading art directors of the era, including Torbjörn Lenskog, Ove Pihl, Hans Brindfors, Johan Sten, Sten Åke Magnusson and Staffan Forsman. Jan gained a reputation for being easy to work with, and became known for his creative collaborations. His work for chef Carl Butler’s groundbreaking cookbook influenced a new style of food photos: simple and discreet, with a plate, mould or pot shot straight down against a black background. The light did the work. Jan raised studio lighting to a high art. It started when he was still a young photographer, making a detailed study of his role models Richard Avedon and Irving Penn in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Their lighting setups were mirrored in the models’ pupils. Jan Bengtsson’s photos for Pripps Blå beer were a pop cultural sensation, a youthful expression of the Swedish national spirit (even though some of them were shot on Mallorca – in a snowstorm). His black and white portrait of Isabella Rossellini, a supermodel and Ingrid Bergman’s daughter, for jewellery retailer GuldKedjan created a positive ruckus in the media and caused the tabloid press to call. In the evenings, Jan Bengtsson explored his artistic side, leading to a solo show at Camera Obscura in 1982. His art photography enriched his commercial work and vice-versa.

After the Platinum Egg: Jan Bengtsson continued as a successful advertising photographer for many years. In recent years, his focus as been on exhibiting his own work, including a show at one of Sweden’s photographic bastions, the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg.


More projects that Jan Bengtsson contributed to.