Images from Orrefors prime

The most interesting glass photographer in Sweden and active during the glassworks' heyday. 

  • Photo: John Selbing
  • An exhibition at the Smålands Konstarkiv (Art Archives of Småland) at Vandalorum in Värnamo will show a variety of previously unpublished photographs from the heyday of renowned Orrefors glassworks, “Den Ofrivillige Fotografen” (The Unintentional [or rather Involuntary] Photographer). The exhibition is open February 2 through May 5 and will be an inspiration for enthusiasts of glass and crystal and photography.
    In 1927, John Selbing was hired by Simon Gate as a drawing artist with the ambition of becoming a glass designer. In the early 1930s, however, Orrefors had financial difficulties and Selbing was asked if he wanted to become their photographer. With the fear of losing his job, he accepted. Selbing had a unique approach and an artistic ambition as a photographer. The management saw this and gave Selbing great freedom in his work. He played and experimented both inside and outside the photo studio, searched for interesting backgrounds in nature and in the glassworks, and tried new ways of lighting.
    John Selbing may be the most interesting glass photographer in Sweden who worked during the period when Orrefors glassworks grew and developed into a world famous company, his photographs undoubtedly contributing to the success.
    For more info on the exhibition, see

    Mats Fredrikson and Jonas Sällberg were interested in Selbing's photographic deed and decided to make a book. During this work, negatives that had been damaged in poor archive conditions were discovered. In terms of images, they were extremely interesting. The book, The Unintentional Photographer is SEK 400. 176 pages with 136 black and white photographs, authored by Maria Lantz. Available at Smålands Konstarkiv and through or