The Best Photography Museum in Europe is Fotografiska in Stockholm

Fotografiska

I’ve been to my share of museums, and I can’t remember the last time I was as impressed with a photography collection as I was visiting Fotografiska in Stockholm. It’s hard to find a good photography exhibit that isn’t an afterthought in larger art exhibition. So this was an excellent surprise.

Fotografiska is sizable and curated by people with impeccable taste. Of course, the exhibits all rotate every few months, but the collection was so good that this is probably a place worth visiting seasonally. So if you’re in Stockholm, it is not to be missed.

What’s nice is that it has a mix of big names like Annie Leibowitz and David LaChappelle, and relatively unknown contemporary artists. Because I’m a big music fan, I enjoyed Anton Corbijn’s 1-2-3-4 which is a massive collection of portraits of bands and musicians. Some casual, some silly, the portraits showcase the history of rock music from the Rolling Stones to Arcade Fire. It runs until December 4, 2016.

Autumn Salon

But surprisingly, this was not my favorite. Apparently, Fotografiska holds an annual exhibition called the Autumn Salon that any resident of Sweden or Swede living abroad can apply to be a part of. The pieces are selected for display by a jury of visual artists. And maybe the best thing (if I had any money) is that they’re all on sale. So aside from being great to visit, I think that’s a lovely thing they’re doing for artists who may not otherwise get this kind of exposure.

I tend to find Scandinavian art a little disturbing but the Swedish photographers on display at the Autumn Salon are killing it. I had goosebumps for my entire visit. I even cried looking at a series of photos of one photographer’s grandmother returning home to Estonia 47 years after she was forced to flee it.

Anna Svanberg
Photos by Anna Svanberg. All the feels.

Another great thing about this place is that it’s open until 11 pm Sunday through Wednesday and until 1 am from Thursday through Saturday. So you can still check it out without having to miss out on daytime sightseeing.

The cost of admission is around $13.50 (120 SEK). I know what you’re thinking (if you’ve done any research on museums in Stockholm): the collection at the Moderna Museet is free and it also has modern photography. Why bother paying for this one? The Moderna Museet is not bad, and I also recommend it. But let’s be honest, that museum only has the Picasso and Dali hand-me-downs from better contemporary museums in Spain and France. And there were maybe six photos there. So if you have to pick just one, go with Fotografiska.

Even if you don’t care for photography, the view across the bay from the café is well worth the price of admission.

Fotografiska view