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Calla Sundbeck

Calla Sundbeck was born in 1867 in Svenljunga parish. Calla was a court photographer and active in Gränna around the end of the last century.

Calla was unmarried and supported herself as a photographer, which at that time was an accepted profession for an unmarried woman. The profession was considered bourgeois and financially secure. Calla was a driven person and started her first studio already as a 26-year-old. Unmarried women who lived around the end of the last century first came of age at 25, but if you were married you did not come of age at all. It was not until 1921 that all women came of age then at the age of 21, just like men.

Photography was not always easy but involved handling large heavy cameras and handling glass plates. The glass sheets were fragile, heavy and required large spaces to be stored. In her studio, Calla also had different scenery to produce when the customers to be portrayed arrived.

Calla had probably been trained in Varberg with photographer Mathilda Ranch. In Gränna, Calla ran her photo studio together with her sister Selma, who also was as a photographer. Calla also opened a branch on Visingsö. Calla was often seen cycling in Gränna with her large camera in her hand, she photographed both known and unknown people. Calla was a very careful photographer and often captured many details and personalities in her photos.

You can count Calla as both a contemporary and rural photographer as well as a documentary and portrait photographer. Many assignments were recurring such as group portraits of conscripts, school photos, weddings and board photographs. During her active life, Calla has also photographed famous people of the time, such as Oscar II, John Bauer and Ellen Key. She also had some of her photographs published in Herman Lundborg's Swedish folktypes, several of the Swedish Tourist Association's yearbooks and Idun (a Swedish weekly magazine for women). She was also a member of the Swedish Photographers' Association.

In Gränna, she also held positions of trust and was a member of the poor care board, the health care committee and the housing inspectorate. In 1921, she was appointed royal court photographer after being recommended by Gränna's then mayor Gustaf Collander.

Calla died in 1930 and worked as a photographer all her adult life.

At Grenna Museum, a large image archive of Calla Sundbeck is preserved. Grenna museum has posted many on digital , if interested you can see many of her photographs there.