Arnold Odermatt, policeman photographer

Probably my favourite photo at Artissima art fair in Turin last week:

0a7swimmmmm18957.jpgArnold Odermatt, Vierwaldstättersee, 1972

I wrote briefly about Arnold Odermatt in the past but i’m glad that the Springer Berlin gallery chose to highlight his work for Back to the Future, the fair’s (utterly brilliant) section dedicated to artists active in the ’60s and ’70s.

Odermatt never studied photography. He was a traffic policeman in Switzerland and part of his job consisted in taking photographs of road accidents and of other members of the police at work. From 1948 till 1990, when he retired, he would make one set for the insurance or police reports and a second one for himself.

His photos of accidents are sometimes compared to the ones taken by Weegee, Mell Kilpatrick or Enrique Metenides who chronicled accidents, scenes of violence, suicides for newspapers or pulp magazines.

Odermatt obviously had a very different job but the settings for the car crashes and other accidents he documented makes his work even more distinctive. More scenic, with a peaceful and pleasant atmosphere. In the policeman’s photos, the horror seems to be under the spell of the elegant landscape.

0a8hergiswild2c7f7.jpgArnold Odermatt, Hergiswil, 1982

0ahirges82474_arnold-odermatt.jpgArnold Odermatt, Hergiswil, 1982

Oderm000_1629.jpgOberdorf, 1965

0aar65n8_6375_arnold-odermatt.jpgStans, 1965

0i8buochsa5aaaaa1e.jpgBuochs, 1965

0aarstan66398409_456663_arnold-odermatt.jpgStansstad, 1966

0a27oberdorf824469.jpgOberdorf, 1982

0stanssatd73492_arnold-odermatt.jpgArnold Odermatt, Stansstad, 1973

0a8carrenverse2e0624c.jpgStansstad, 1952

0a8buochs000ef.jpgBuochs, 1965

0ii8oberdorffff69069375.jpgOberdorf, 1964

0a8buochse3a692_z.jpgArnold Odermatt, Buochs

0astanstadt8979d.jpgArnold Odermatt, Stansstad, 1963

Previously: Karambolage.