Fever Ray

Fever Ray plays at Cirkus in Stockholm tomorrow. I'm not going to be there. Out of town on a job.

Here is the new Keep The Streets Empty For Me video. As usual when it comes to Fever Ray it's hauntingly beautiful:


A brief pause in Gothenburg.

It's been a tranquil day today. Quite wonderful. Woke late, had chai and a foccacia with two friends, one old and one new. Now they have left and briefly been substituted by Göran who has come back to his flat for a brief pause in his hectic weekend. The sound from his shower, the water drops cascading against the shower curtain accompanies my writing.

Whilst Göran lets hot water splash over his body I'm at pause on his couch.
I'm reading an interview with Rebecca Solnit. Never really heard about her before but I'm thinking that I will start trying to get to know her.
In the interview she speaks about the political aspects of life. Her perspective is that these aspects are omnipresent. Everything we do is political in its foundation. It follows that all human life is political. Even the apolitical is a political position but rather a "dreary one", as she puts it.
I can agree with that.

Last night I attended a political happening. I attended this semi-legal club that my friends arrange. Deep House resonated through my body and soul. It was at first hard to get into it. I felt old and tired. But after a while I finally came around. For the people who organize these parties, I doubt that they consciously do it as a political thing; but political it is. In a country that has been hijacked by the debate on immigration and its ever present shadow, xenophobia, dancing and clubbing is political.
Together, side by side, bouncing into one another, sweating, touching, smiling, screaming and loving is the total opposite of the separatist agenda of certain individuals and groups. It becomes a pause from it all. Yet to pause doesn't mean to ignore. A pause can simple state I won't follow you there. Thus even the pause itself becomes political.*

I think I need more pauses in my life.

*Ok, so this particular pause, this club, might not be the perfect metaphor for a totally integrated society. Rather the opposite one might remark. The electronic club scene in Sweden, open minded as it is, is still quite a reservoir for quite a homogeneous group. Nevertheless coming together like this is still something that is fundamentally different and in opposition to the separatist agenda.

Another pause, another Rebekka. One of the best dawns this summer. A nice pause from the party.
I got to know Bekka that night at our house. A few weeks later she introduced me to the movie White
Nights and I rediscovered my fascination for dance. Since then Bekka has become a great friend.
Our conversations are ongoing.


Understanding or ignoring power?

For those who know me know that one of my weaknesses is my tendency to speak to much, to often, and at times without thought. Sometimes I feel like photography can be quite similar. The meaning of an image, the end result, is often outside our grasp and thus most of the time ignored by us photographers. We might ask ourselves different questions: Will this image be understood at all? Does it point the reader towards what we try to say or show? Is it to easy or to hard to understand? Rarely do we ask what structures of power do this image promote? Do I as a photographer implicitly or explicitly advance a certain agenda through my work? I say most times because there are obviously a plenitude of photographers who struggle with what their images show and what they ultimately reveal of ourselves and the milieu we find ourselves in.

Nevertheless, it is not only us photographers who tend to be thoughtless or ignorant of what we say and what it really implies. That hidden meaning that so treacherously works against what we hope to achieve is ubiquitous. Asim Rafiqui so eloquently writes about it in his post Saying 'Fuck Off' In Muslim And Why I Say It So Often.

And from that notion to this: Congratulations
Niklas Larsson for winning Scanpix's Stora Fotopris! You're the man!

Max Calner has spent seven of his twentytwo years locked away in different instituitions. He was first taken into custody at the age of thirteen and the list of institutions he has since been transfered between is almost as diverse as his rapsheet. My conflicting emotions surrounding the double juxtapostions of child/victim and adult/perpetrator led me to the idea of this diptych. Max himself today thinks it was a good thing that he got taken into custody. He only wishes he was taken into care instead. As alway if you understand Swedish you can read the full story at Fokus



Hjorthagen, Sweden on a tuesday.

I had a good week. Fokus came out with a cover I shot. The
images were ugly as hell but the idea was sound I think. Then
Dagens Industri's new monthly magazine Dimension came out
with a cover by me and my images that went with the 15 page story
about the situation in Latvia. The article written by Jenny Hedelin
is well worth the read if you get hold of a copy. But most of all I'm
quite happy above my photo of the vaccination que in Hjorthagen
Loving it!


"Terroristic reasons."

This would be hilarious if it wouldn't be for the fact that overzealous officers seem to be everywhere these days. Last year I had an argument for 20 minutes with a guard over whether or not it was legal for me to take a photo of the back side of this billboard.

SAAB Aerotech, Arboga
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, estimates that the world’s
collective military expenditures 2007 to 1339 billion US dollar. In Arboga in
central Sweden lies the head quarter for Saab Areotech which turns over 3 billion
SEK annually.

Ok, that incident took place outside an arms factory which is a protected area and thus forbidden to photograph but that area was behind me and clearly not being photographed. It was quite an idiotic conversation.

This one that took place in the US is even more idiotic (if the reasons stated are true) but we only need to go to the UK to get these types of restrictions. Isn't it amusing that our open and democratic societies are becoming so scared that even snapping photos in the metro, railway stations and such is now viewed as a suspicious activity because it can be for a
"terroristic reason".


No one to blame

In Sweden we don't blame people. Apparently no one bears responsibility for things here. Maybe we need someone like this to stir up some action.


Guns and pizza

I'm back on it now. Traveling the country with my 4x5 and I'm loving it. Needless to say I'm also scared shitless. Negatives? Trusting light meters? Not being able to see the outcome straight away? Am I stupid? Nope, just loving it! It such a delightful way of working. Coming to a location, pause for a while. Take a breath. Look around a bit confused. Another breath of air. Fresh air. Today it was even snowing. Find that thing you think is it. That spot, pile of dirt, cliff, track, bridge, window whatever it is. Walk towards where you think it's the best place to shoot it from and then look through whatever you have that will give you the impression of how it will look framed. Nod a few times. Keep that inner conversation going, that congratulates yourself for finding this nice shot. Then set up the tripod, mount the camera on it. Fold out the bellows and mount the lens. Pop the hood for the ground glass and look. Take a long thorough look, scratch your head again, sigh a bit then focus and realise that it's shit!

This is the delightful thing, now you get to think why it's shit. You just don't snap away. You actually have to think. Then you do whatever adjustments necessary to fix it. They might be major, such as going to another location, or they might just be minor like recomposing the shot a tad bit. And if you're doing this while it's snowing you'll get the added pleasure of freasing your fingers madly. And with large format photography there's a lot of nobs to be twisted and turned and you really want to feel your fingertips for that.

I just love it! It's the best thing ever. I'd turn my digital gear in anytime if it where not for that thing that is called money. I think that one shot of 4x5 here in Sweden will set you back aproximately €10 and then add another €6 per contact for every forth frame. So yeah, I get the digi thing in that regard.

Another really nice thing about jobs like the one I'm doing now is the lone time in the car. Ok, it really sucks from an CO2 perspective, but listening to public service radio (especially Swedish Radio P1) while driving around looking for the next spot is just bliss.

So what about the Guns and pizza thing? While I'm up here in the north shooting the final places for my latest assignment from Fokus I managed to sneak by one of the factories I still had to shoot for my story "Med ryggen mot kriget" (sorry the text is only in Swedish but if you want to see the English text just e-mail me or wait for me to put it up somewhere else....like my website that I'm never getting around to set up). So there I was again taking some long exposure shots of random shit close to an arms factory. Felt good. It felt good all the way back to the hotel and from there on to the pizza place. While deciding what pizza I should have I realized how ingrained in society arms manufacturing can become and to what degrees it can shape the local culture. There, right there on the cold yellow pages of the menu the final proof was, the pizza "Hägglunds".

And if you haven't already had a look at the magnificent job on the Swedish arms trade by the wonderful photographer Moa Karlberg accompanied by the journalist Christopher Holmbäck, well you just should.

Aimpoint, Malmö ©petter cohen
More than 500 000 redpoint sights produced by Aimpoint in Malmö are today
being used by the US military. The last order to them was for 163 000 new