Ragnar Hansson. Woman at the window.

8 Boden Photographers

6 june – 20 October 2013

The municipality of Boden’s photo archive is responsible for preserving the images in this exhibition. The idea of setting up a picture and film archive came from a motion in 1963 by Bertil Strandberg. The city council eventually approved the decision and established the archive in 1966. The city library initially stored the existing images in binders. The first primary purchase-about 100,000 photos were Harnesk’s old photos, which Bert Persson sold to the municipality in the early 1970s.

Before that, the municipality had purchased the collection of Carl Rudolf Frigghes. They stored old negatives and other items in the basement of the town hall. It was not until the early 1980s that someone sorted Harnesk’s pictures. Donations from the 2000s include Elsie Wikström’s collection of Vendla Hvitman’s photos and Agnes Betzen’s collection of photos by Walfrid Bernhard Ahnkvist and Ragnar Hansson. Ten years ago, digitization of the archive also began. So far, about one-third of the older paper copies, negatives, slides and glass plates have been scanned, with more than 31,000 images.

More information can be found in the Folder (available only in Swedish).


Jakob Elof Harnesk was born in 1871 in Norsjö, Västerbotten. His father and namesake started and ran a photographic business in their hometown in the 1870s, inspired by a Småland man who had tried to establish himself in Norrland but failed.

Ellen Dorotea Ask was born in Bjurträsk, Norsjö parish, in 1886. According to today’s address system, the Ask family bought a house located at Drottninggatan 25 in Boden. From 1913, there is a record from the building committee’s archives that Ellen Ask applied to build photographic studios in the building. There, together with two of her siblings, she ran a photographic business.

Vendla Hvitman was born in 1886 in Heden, outside Boden, where she lived most of her life. In her 20s, she married Signar Hvitman, who was a painter. The couple had one foster daughter.

Carl Rudolf Frigghe was born in 1893 in Fors parish, Södermanland. In 1919 he moved to Boden and two years later he married Nanna Matilda Kemi from Haparanda.

Ragnar Hansson was born in 1903 in Nedre Svartlå. He was a self-taught photographer and often worked in the villages. He was active as a photographer mainly during the 1920s and 30s.

Nils Oskar Fahlgren was born in Boden in 1905. He mostly worked as a photographer in schools.

Bert Persson was born in 1928 in Skellefteå. When he was 20 years old, he established himself as a freelance photographer. Then, in the early 1950s, he took over Harnesk’s photo studio in Boden. More than ten years later, he sold the extensive collection of negatives left by Harnesk to the municipality of Boden.

Rolf Ericson was born in 1929 in Luleå. He was interested in art and music as a child. As a young man, he spent a year at Isaac Grünewald’s art school in Stockholm. After that he studied art with André Lothe in Paris and then a photography course in Saarbrück, Germany.

Jakob Elof Harnesk.