Artist Profile : Mats Petersson


"Firewatch is my latest project. I'm not a nature photographer, per se, but an opportunity came one day for me to visit a controlled forest fire not far from my home. Fire, of course, is one of the ancient worlds' "four elements." No forest without fire: no life without fire: no world without fire. Once man learned to create and control fire, civilization developed. Man could cook and eat foods that were previously impossible. Fire was light, warmth and safety. Like many others, I have always been fascinated with fire.

"For me, fire evokes complex questions about our origins, the power of nature, and the future of our planet."


Trailing the forest rangers with my Hassleblad, I entered a new world. The fire, raging just meters in front of me, created a surreal environment. The sunlight, smoke and heat captivated me. I was under a spell shooting these images. I have never experienced anything like it. Looking at these pictures now, I still feel the raw emotion and power from that day. For me, fire evokes complex questions about our origins, the power of nature, and the future of our planet."

Intrigued by the work of Diane Arbus, whom he discovered one day in a local bookstore window, Swedish artist, Mats Pettersson, came of age in the 1970's. His professional career as a photographer began in the Swedish Navy, followed by a degree in Photography at the University of Gothenburg.

Working exclusively with a Hasslelbad camera, Mats portrait work and reportage have taken him on assignment worldwide. He is the recipient of several grants and scholarships from various Swedish Arts foundations. His photographs have been exhibited internationally, published widely, and his fine art work is held in several private collections.

A working artist all of his life, Mats still comes back to the work of Diane Arbus for artistic inspiration, and as he says, "In times of uncertainty, Arbus is my compass."

From NEVARES Fine Art