Photographer Emil Ragnar Borg Mesch (1869-1956) is best known for his series of pictures which depict the unique new settlement situation in Kiruna in northern Sweden at the turn of the last century. His photographs document the development of the modern social structure on many levels; not least through the pictures of various social groups such as navvies, miners, Lapps and company directors.
Also Kiruna’s changing surroundings interested Mesch and it was with great sensitivity that he captured both early urbanisation’s aura of utopia and the unexploited landscape of the mountain world.
Mesch was born in Sundsvall and was active in Landskrona and Gävle before he settled in Kiruna in 1899. His contemporaries considered him to be an adventurous and enterprising person and even during his lifetime a considerable number of myths were created about him. As well as numerous journeys throughout Sweden, he also lived for some time in the USA and, furthermore, is regarded as one of Sweden’s first mountaineers.
The exhibition consists of some 50 images. In addition to new copies of the photographer’s original pictures, a larger collection of vintage prints, are also being shown for the very first time. The exhibition has been produced by Kiruna Bildarkiv and Bildens Hus in Sundsvall in collaboration with Bildmuseet in Umeå. An exhibition tour is being planned, with Nice and Göteborg a.o. on the exhibition itinerary.