Mats Petersson

Mats Petersson is a Swedish photographer born in 1954 in Växjö. Working exclusively with a Hasselblad camera, the artist’s portrait and reportage work has taken him all over the world and he has received several grants and scholarships from various Swedish art foundations.

One day came the opportunity for him to accompany forest rangers during the setting of a ‘controlled forest fire’ near his home. This method allows the vegetation to renew its life cycle, as fire is essential for the health of an ecosystem. Animals and plants have adapted to it, and some species are even dependent on the fact that forests regenerate.

Mats’ photographs take us into this fiery forest and reveal atmospheres that are both mystical and aggressive, where fire leads the way. This time ‘portraying’ the trees and trunks of this Scandinavian forest in a surreal atmosphere. The heat of the embers, the smell of burning bark, the sound of the flames carried by the wind and the smoke spreading after the furnace appeal to our senses and immerse us in this overwhelming and solemn chaos.

“Trailing the forest rangers with my Hasselblad, 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”