Nils Petter Löfstedt (* 1980 in Hov, Sweden) is a photographer and film-maker and has published two books: “Club 13” and “The Pier”. Nils Petter works closely together with artist Erik Vestman. Erik & Nils Petter made “The Pier“ together and many other street-art projects. Nils Petter is currently working on a new book and a documentary about the Swedish photographer Jean Hermanson.
Interview with Nils Petter Löfstedt
The topic of the festival is “Innere Sicherheit – the state I am in” – including political aspects of ‘Homeland Security’ but also very personal, private aspects. How do you relate to these issues?
To feel at home and safe in your environment maybe you need to be part of it. Spend time in it and use it. We need to take responsibility for our city. For me and Erik the city areas and spaces seem to become more and more ours when we use them. Making it part by part, piece by piece to our playground. Why do the authorities have a monopoly on planning, changing and making public spaces better?
How do you understand your work in this context?
We take the liberty of doing things without permission. It would be impossible to do the room under the Pier if we would have asked for permission. The people in charge would just laugh but in the end, when everything was finished thousands of people crawled inside the hole under the pier to discover something. We know that we changed a lot of peoples view on that spot and we hope it can open up for other things to happen in the city.
How do you use photography? How is you understanding of photography?
I use photography in different ways but I like to be in the story, use it in a personal way and still keep it open. I use my photography in books and me and Erik are also exploring new ways to show photography in the city. For instance we put hundreds of photographs on stones, in the pavement. We believe that there is a lot to explore around ways that we use photography. The great thing about photography is that it’s cheap and simple. Without money you can still tell a story. For me and Erik using photography has been crucial to making people understand our works and the stories behind them.
Do you think public areas or safe places are missing in today’s cities?
Challenging, unplanned and unsafe areas are missing in in today’s densified cities. The city environment tends to be too well planned and thought out, not leaving much to explore, use and change. It also seems as if we collectively and gradually are forgetting that the city is actually ours and a living thing. Belonging not only to the municipality or the business owners. It is ours to use as we wish.