Photo: Nicho Södling
"It feels unreal. He fell asleep in still in the morning," said his stepdaughter, Anne Fjellström, to Expressen. His pictures of embryos spread over the entire world. The movie "Lord of life" and the book "A child is born" is perhaps his main work.
In an interview with Aftonbladet from 2006 told the Lennart Nilsson about their acclaimed fosterbilder: "Remember, life and death look the same. I’ll never forget when I first time saw in the microscope how the sperm met the egg, how the egg began to rotate counter-clockwise like a planet, as it always does, eight revolutions per minute, the researchers said. When a virus enters the cell, it looks just so. Yes, so strange is it."
He told also about their feelings in the face of death: "It affects us all. In a scanning electron microscope, I have portrayed a heart attack in the 20 000-fold magnification, so I know how it looks. I’m 83, but tjiiing, haha, I don’t plan on it. I have a fully up to do. I do not have time to think about or talk about death, it will still a day. I hope it will."
In a understreckare in SvD from 2015 wrote Solveig Jülich, associate professor of history of science and ideas at Uppsala university, about to get to know the photographic book "A child is born" started in an anti-abortkampanj. In Sweden, it was a tool in school sex education, while in the U.S. it was used to arouse public opinion against abortion.
It was in 1965 that bildtidningen Life published fotoessän "Drama of life before birth" on 16 pages plus cover. Edition of eight million sold out in four days. At the same time, published the report in Stern, Paris Match and the Sunday Times. The book came out later the same year, was translated into English and published in five editions and in twenty countries.
In the book, magnified embryos and fetuses with human traits, such as faces, feet and hands. Solveig Jülich, notes that it is not clear that the embryos and foetuses were dead which caused the people to believe that the fetus was in the mother’s body. Several years earlier published a abortkritiskt out and about in See with Lennart Nilsson’s images.
Photo: LENNART NILSSON/TT
In an interview in the "Report" 2010 confirmed the Lennart Nilsson that most of the pictures were taken outside the woman’s womb. "Yes, most of it is of the macroscopic reasons," said Nilsson, and she also told me that he has not taken a position on abortion: "No, I have not done. It is journalistic images."
In Sweden there was a debate in 2006 after an interview with Lennart Nilsson. Author Karolina Ramqvist wrote an article in the DN targeted against abortmotståndarna: "When the fetal cuteness comes into the picture you will lose all sense. Abortmotståndarna in Sweden is about the same people who usually like to lift up the common sense, for example, to pass the feminist movement, but when they are debating abortion, it is all about the feeling, it is the one that shall control."
Lennart Nilsson was also hovfotograf and has documented the royal family since the 1940s. He took the official bröllopsbilden king Carl XVI Gustaf and queen Silvia of sweden and has taken many pictures of Alice Babs, Ingmar Bergman and Ingrid Bergman. Among his awards are the hasselblad award and the KTH great prize. In 1976, he was appointed honorary doctor of medicine at Karolinska Institutet and when he became a professor in 2009 was the motivation: "For he made visible the invisible, and with scientific precision documented the human body".
Nasa’s unmanned spacecraft Voyager I and Voyager II have photographs from "A child is born" in the journey out into the universe. Lennart Nilsson’s photographs are, inter alia, in the British Museum in London, Tokyo Fuji Art Museum and the Modern Museum in Stockholm. Articles about him are published regularly in newspapers like the Guardian and Time.