Balloon Life Magazine December 1995
"There are hundreds of coffee table books on the market today, many found in the mark-down bin at the local book store. Many, such as the famed Collins Publishers' A Day In The Life series, feature computer enhanced images meant to strike a chord in the viewer's mind or heart. Somehow, the images lose their magic and after looking through them once or twice they are relegated back to the coffee table to collect dust and perhaps the glances of a few guests.
The Art of Ballooning could be such a book, but it is not. It is nearly impossible not to page through it at every opportunity. Text is limited, and totally un-necessary. Resplendent colors in some photographs play in counterpoint to other hauntingly muted images. The composition of the photographs, often with unusual framing and camera angles adding unexpected dimension, is nearly flawless. These men know about love!
The single page introduction by Bjorn von Bahr sets the tone for the photographs to follow. "Balloons are sexual creatures," he writes. In the words that follow, he shares with readers his unique view of the gentle giants. He closes, "Then, we must grope our way, up and down through all the currents of the sky, to refind the right direction as soon as possible. After a few hours, we land on earth. With empty fuel tanks, the artist crumbles down, cool and exhausted after its brilliant performance."
Viewing the dozens of photographs that follow is a seminal experience. The viewer is transported from the Alps of northern Europe to the desert of the southwest United States, from the frozen waste of Antarctica to the Masai Mara in Kenya, or from the grounds of Chateau de Balleroy to the gardens and waterways of Stockholm. Hot air and gas balloons share the pages, though hot air images predominate. The photographs were not chosen with any particular theme or concept in mind; the photographers, Torleif Svensson and Peter Anderson, simply trusted their intuition. These men know about love!
Near the center of the book, one section, Aquarelles,
emulsion transfers, superimposes the photographs on papers and fabrics to
soften the image and add texture. The effect is to slow the mind, to make one
pause, reflect and relax before venturing on. It is like cleansing the palate
to fully taste the next offering. The pages that follow provide all of the
color and excitement that one would expect. These men know about love!
Peter Anderson has been a balloonist since 1968; Torleif Svensson is a recent convert having flown for only five years. Both men have the critical eye and immense photographic skill necessary to create a work of this magnitude and quality. Like so many great artists, their finest works, sensuously captured on canvas, paper or film, are the objects of their love.
These men know about love!
Spend some time with this book, like love it is not to be hurried."
Managing Editor, Balloon Life Magazine.