A Swedish Instagram influencer born long before his time, Gothenburg’s Victor Hasselblad could never have fathomed how photography would evolve from analog to digital, nor that the biggest photography medium of the future – Instagram - would be based upon his full-frame photography style and (still purchasable) innovative Hasselblad cameras.
When Instagram launched in 2010, many people were charmed by its retro-looking visuals, as if digitalized Polaroids.
But the app’s general layout - square instead of landscape or portrait - is an obvious nod to the Swedish Hasselblad camera, developed in 1940’s Gothenburg.
While Victor Hasselblad began his working life providing cameras for the Swedish Airforce, after WWII the company geared itself toward consumers and personal photography.
The Hasselblad camera needed to be flexible, with interchangeable components, and be no bigger than Victor’s own hands. In 1948 he travelled to New York to present his first commercial Hasselblad camera: a 6x6 single lens mirror reflex camera in the medium format, with interchangeable lenses, film magazines and viewfinders.
It was a photography sensation.
Professional photojournalists were queuing to buy this new camera and its design and performance proved so powerful that the astronaut Wally Schirra took it with him in 1962 on the Mercury capsule Sigma 7, the 5th manned space mission in history.
While in orbit, Schirra experimented with various filters on the Hasselblad camera – a concept completely quotidian today and oh so Instagram.
The Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg is fully dedicated to preserving the history of the Hasselblad camera.
Today, the company – though no longer in the hands of the Hasselblad family – still produces quality cameras, and the Foundation itself focuses on the future too. Each year it awards the Hasselblad prize – worth one million Swedish krona - to a photographer who has made an outstanding contribution to photography.
Located within the Göteborg Museum of Art, the Hasselblad Foundation is easily accessible by foot, near the Lorensberg area, less than 20 minutes away from chilled creative hub and icon of pink shades of cool, Gothenburg's favourite boutique hotel hotspot - Hotel Flora.
For more on Gothenburg, the secret city, have a peek at our travel journal, and wrap up warm in cooler months with local MASKA knitwear, before having a spy at some snap-worthy Scandi design pieces in our Stockholm’s Design Scene.
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