The Daily Telegraph

Gunnar Seijbold

Photograph­er noted for his portraits of the great and good


GUNNAR SEIJBOLD, who has died of Covid-19 aged 65, was a Swedish freelance photograph­er who took striking, often lively images of (among others) Barack Obama, the director Ingmar Bergman, and the Swedish prime minister Carl

Bildt; he also served as the European Union’s official photograph­er when Sweden held the presidency of the bloc’s European Council.

Carl Gunnar Seijbold was born on January 25 1955 and grew up in Stockholm, the son of Ollie Seijbold – another celebrated photograph­er who had chronicled Sweden’s extraditio­n of Baltic soldiers in the aftermath of the Second World War – and Viola.

During his career he worked for the evening newspapers Aftonblade­t and Expressen, and for the daily Dagens Nyheter. All three papers were based in Stockholm but aspired to nationwide coverage, with Dagens Nyheter in particular priding itself on its internatio­nal reporting.

So Seijbold’s subjects were of more than passing local interest. He was among the crowds that celebrated Sweden’s 1992 victory in the ice hockey world championsh­ip, and joined the parade that welcomed the country’s football team back from the 1994 World Cup in the United States (where they team won bronze).

Possessing a mischievou­s sense of humour – as well as a keen interest in others, regardless of status – he delighted in teasing Barack Obama and the Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt during the latter’s visit to the US in 2009. The result was a warm, candid shot of the leaders in conversati­on, against a backdrop of the two countries’ flags.

Keenly interested in new technologi­es, Seijbold was among the photograph­ers dispatched to the CES trade show in Las Vegas in 2007, where thousands of companies showcased their latest innovation­s.

However, together with his Aftonblade­t colleague Peter Pettersson, Seijbold got wind of a more unusual event unfolding elsewhere. After more than two years of hype, Apple’s technology guru Steve Jobs was about to unveil his “revolution­ary product” – the world’s first iphone. Seijbold and Pettersson made haste to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. After the official part of the launch was over, an over-excited Jobs lingered to take questions and hold up his creation for Seijbold’s camera.

For six months until January 2010, Seijbold held the title of “EU official photograph­er”, the post being time-limited to coincide with Sweden’s leadership period. He was in charge of documentin­g everything from the battle to reach a global agreement on climate change to the daylong Equality Summit, attended by around 300 delegates, to discuss possible measures to tackle discrimina­tion.

Even here he displayed a keen sense of how to enliven a portrait. His picture of the humantraff­icking expert Dr Myria Vassiliado­u, for example, was shot so as to draw the eye from the red of her necklace to the pen she held, pressed in thought, to her mouth.

In his spare time Seijbold enjoyed playing bass guitar, even notching up a credit on the 1994 album För Jaevle Braa! by the rockabilly musician Eddie Meduza.

He is survived by a son.

Gunnar Seijbold, born January 25 1955, died April 25 2020

 ??  ?? He got the first pictures of the new iphone
He got the first pictures of the new iphone
 ??  ?? Ingmar Bergman, by Seijbold
Ingmar Bergman, by Seijbold

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