Midsummer Eve

Midsummer Eve. The biggest holiday feast next to Christmas here in Sweden. It’s connected to the summer solstice, but since the Midsummer feast always occurs on a Friday they’re not synced.

I’m not going to say much about it and the traditions like the history or the weird frog dance around a pole and such. But food and “nubbe” (untranslatable in English – it’s a nickname for shots) are for sure the number one and most important component when celebrating Midsummer Eve. Well, at least the food. The “nubbe” is not that important or even necessary, although a deep-rooted tradition.

Playing games is also a common activity during Midsummer Eve. The Midsummer Eve traditions we celebrate belongs to the more party and playful generation. Which probably is the most common way to spend this day, in one or another way.

Otherwise, it’s also common that family’s meet up at public arranged Midsummer Eve gatherings. These gatherings don’t include any spirits – they are pure innocent family and friends gatherings of a finer cultural nature.

Basically, Midsummer Eve is a typical family and friends feast holiday. But when the teens are big enough to mind their own business, they usually preferred to celebrate this day on their own. For a reason. Or at least after some hours spent with families, they say thank you and goodbye. Oh my, I remember my teenage Midsummers…

On Midsummer Eve we eat a lot of “sill och potatis” – herring and spring/new potatoes. This is the absolutely most important item on the table – this is the King and Queen. No midsummer without it, don’t you dare. But the herring and potatoes definitely need to be served together with sour cream, chive, red onion, and eggs.

And of course we drink beer to this, and in between, we take our “nubbe”. Small shots of strong spirits spiced and brewed on different herbs. Sometimes accompanied to a short, often a quite odd song called “snapsvisa” – shot-song, and hail “skål” – cheers. “Botten upp” – bottoms up, is also a common expression together with the “skål”.

I’m not very good at shot-songs, but this is the most traditional and famous one:

Helan går
Sjung hopp faderallan lallan lej
Helan går
Sjung hopp faderallan lej
Och den som inte helan tar
Han heller inte halvan får
Helan går
(Drink)
Sjung hopp faderallan lej

Here’s a link to Wiki with a translation and some background info >> The whole one goes

But it can be something very short, like this – in English:

Not now… Not now…
… But now!

… simple as that. No rules. It doesn’t even have to be a song. Anything stupid will do.

To dessert, we have strawberries with cream and drink coffee. This is just as traditional important as the herring and potatoes. And probably maybe some more shots in between, but this time it’s often something more sweet kind of liquor.

Don’t worry, much booze here, but most people handle the spirits well. But some too happy people easily get really, really drunk and go crazy. Or fall apart in a corner. I don’t lay any other values into this more than people with known repeatedly bad alcohol issues should not be allowed touching it.

However.

After all this eating we usually mingle around and then it’s time for some playtime. It can be just anything. It often involves some kind of physical and playful competition activity. A good and strategic way to shake and fresh up your body and mind after all food, beer, and shots.

Then we rest, keep on mingling. So we can eat some more later. And now it’s time for the next tradition- the barbecue. So we eat, drink beer, maybe some more shots in between. Usually more coffee again. And so it proceeds into the night and as long as there is someone left. Usually, we drop off one by one until Midsummer Eve falls to sleep.

Tied to the Midsummer Eve traditions comes the tradition of remarkably bad weather, spot on no matter how nice it has been just a day before. But the weather is nothing but an annoying detail. Some don’t give a shit, party and having fun outdoors anyway. We are so used to it that even the weather is a part of the tradition.

This year was no exception. But the outdoor games went little too rainy this year and got changed into an indoor quiz instead.

So far, we have had this Midsummer Eve feast tradition since our kids crawled on all four.

 

Follow the invisible rabbit

Local walk to watch the day

One of the more warmer days today. Too hot in my ordinary shoes and flip flops are not made for long walks. So I put on my favorite shoes – my Vibram Fivefingers. Yay, that’s it. Feels like heaven also for my feet now.

Fivefingers

Ok, and now where to go? Follow the invisible rabbit.

Actually not very much happening anywhere this day in Mölndal. Sleepy slow. Days like these many people either take a trip to Gothenburg or the coastline, maybe one of the lakes or just hanging around in their garden or balcony.

I never bothered finding any specific reason what to shoot. Just anything and walk anywhere. Probably my favorite mood and way of making photos, not getting locked up inside thinking what and the need of must find something.

I like the idea of just get out and look around and crossbreed my thoughts with the view. No matter how well you know and many times you have seen your own little town. You will always find a new layer of thoughts upon the same old view, making it slightly different.

And you never know when something unexpected appears. Either inside your head or in front of you.

I love those simple laid back everyday adventures.

Inbetween days

When life flow like water between your fingers. Seems like a waste of time, nothing to catch.

But you are wrong. Can’t you feel the smooth nice feeling in your hands when the water runs through fingers and touch your skin.

Life is everywhere and never bored of being so. You just need to discover the details that make it.

Blinded and killed by the superfluous. Dreaming of entertainment to excite you and feel good. Everybody hunting the need to feel great to be real.

Reclaim the speed of life. Wait, wait… wait. Watch, listen, smell. Can you feel it. It’s life.

It’s happening again. Don’t try to catch it. Let it flow, slow down, open your mind and it will catch you.

it’s happening again

 

West Pride and the Rainbow People : part 2

West Pride

 

If you fall into this first you may want to read/look at part one first, or after, which order doesn’t matter. You find part one here >>

The parade is on and now I really don’t know where to be. So I stayed and walked along the direction randomly. That felt best. Staying in one same spot would be a boring lineup of photos. And I wanted to feel more alive and dynamic involved.

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The only drawback since I was focused on the parade. Is that it’s a parade. It gets a little bit like an exhibition. Well, kind of just what it is, but it’s a whole lot more fun to flow around and participate more.

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Since it was an open parade I could walk around in the middle of it all if I wanted to. But I think it would be very confusing and maybe annoying for others. And then, where? The parade was about just as long as the distance – about 2km. So I was pleased with randomly changing direction and step in and out of the parade in between.

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This year was a record year with about 16.000 participating in the parade. Probably just as many along the way. That makes whole lot of people when you bake in the rest of everyone else doing other business in the city.

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Doing a huge thing like this, occupying the centre city streets completely is quite amazing. But this is Gothenburg, and we love to party in the streets. And Gothenburg have a very strong partnership with the HBTQ movement / LGBTQ .

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Next time I will either stay longer or come later. At this time, about four hours later I was really exhausted I began to feel a bit dizzy and empty in my head. Impression overload. Still a craving need to make more and just be in this expressive gathering.

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So many more shots I wished I could make, but somewhere you just have to choose what and where to be. Impossible to be everywhere you would like to be.

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I think I could have had a really nice time after the parade when the participants in the parade began to gathering at the “Rainbow Square” for more happenings. I spent some time walking around and thought – shit, More fun to shoot!

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But somewhere it have to end. And then came the rain.

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But what would Rainbows be without rain. Fortunately for the Rainbow people it was a short lived rain and I think they got a really nice evening and night at the end.

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Peace, Love and Soul

West Pride and the Rainbow People : part 1

West Pride

I have never made so many photos in one day ever. Oh my, that was fun, but awful many shots to edit and process. Nothing I regret however, I could easily have made twice more if I was faster in my head and had more time and the mental endurance.

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So many photos I want to share, so I had to split this into two posts. Even then there are some more photos left behind. You will find those and these on my flickr account – klick any photo and you’ll find the album.

This was a blown away day – so many impressions all over everywhere. Surrounded by happy open minded people from the rainbow. Think if the world could be more like this.

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I love those humans. Thankfully it seems to be more of them than you think. Not only the Pride ones, also people who stand by their side who choose peace, love and soul before hate and fear.

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This was actually first time I went away to be there and see this. For some reason. Probably because I usually used to avoid crowds. Simply don’t like be in high intensity crowds. The cure is a camera and street photography. This have changed my brain patterns radically.

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Pride might be one of the most perfect time for street photography. The circumstances makes it kind of natural making photos and being photographed. No one think it’s strange to be caught on film, probably the opposite and like to be made, even want.

I began the day in the mingle where everyone was gathering for the parade. I didn’t knew what to expect or where to be or go. No need to. It was impossible to not feel as you where just where you should be – wherever you where.

Then I slowly moved my way along the direction of the parade.

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And here ends part one – welcome to part two >>

 

StreetParty – Hela Dagen Lång 2017

 

Every year a big street party occurs in the streets of Andra and Tredje långgatan in Gothenburg, formerly called Andra Långdagen. This year it was actually cancelled due to permission and safety issues, which have been a shadow of this Event since the beginning 2005.

Basically it’s a kind of gathering of the people who lives here and those who run their business here. Inviting everyone and anybody from everywhere to participate in this street party.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

This festival actually doesn’t have any official organisers or permission to arrange this happening. Still it keeps coming back. Only days after the announcement of this years cancelling it bounced back and resurfaced under a new name – Hela dagen lång (All Day Long). Now even more unofficial with no contact persons at all. As said – you can’t hold back such a strong force of love.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

This is a really a strange concept that seems unstoppable, and the decision makers of the city seems to unofficial permits it to occur, well aware of probably impossible to do anything else but let it happen. And it works, unexpectedly well, beside same drawbacks as always that follows during festivals, with or without official permission. People behave as they are attracted to be.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

The art of simplicity is probably one major reason behind the successful atmosphere. A self-centred balance between me and you and everybody else, and a soul in the centre of it all.

This laid back attitude really show off in this street gathering party. Everybody is welcome, performers and visitors. People of all kind flaneur the streets together. Sitting, standing or spontaneous dancing together. This relaxed atmosphere of joy is contagious. This is intensive mindfulness in action. This is made for people by the people.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

The performance of the day was definitely this act, of what I don’t know much more about than the lead “screamer” and dog toy player is known as H.M. Hammarin. They were absolutely awesome in their own kind.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

And here is a short video clip

Unfortunately I had not that much of time as I would like to. I could probably have stayed here for some more hours without any signs of tiredness. Which was quite unexpected for being me who very easily gets ridiculous exhausted in intensive crowds.

I wish I could stay all night and keep on making photos. A gold mine for a street photographer and so much more to shoot. And I would like to have been far more hustle in my shutter finger than I was.

See ya next year for sure. This time loaded with shutter speed and more time.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Square of Split Identity

*uck continuity

I have been writing quite a lot about finding some kind of personal identity and continuity in my workflow. Something to rely upon as my style. For some days back in time now, I think I finally have found it.

I am not going to get stuck in any style at all. I have found that I actually don’t want to. Why? Because some people assume it’s important to find a style that identifies your personal style? Why?

?

So be it, if it’s so it is to be

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I don’t *ucking care.

Sometimes I feel like this, sometimes like that. That’s my style. I will go on do what my intuition tells me to do with my photos. Two of almost same, same but different shots may feel like two different dimensions of space time. And I will treat them thereafter, just as I feel. Not what suits best in the name of continuity and consistency.

And I’m very happy and relieved with this insight of what I want. Finally I can let go and go on doing my thing without hesitation and stupid rules to follow. Of which I never felt satisfied in thinking that I need to have, because I haven’t found and seems to never do.

I may be lost. Ok, I am where lost is and this is how lost looks like, and I actually like to be lost. Lost is my home. Therefore I can impossible be lost, or fail to find where or what to be. As long as I follow my heart and soul – the only real home.

Stuck in patterns you need to repeat to meet others expectations? Time to break the laws of your captured mindset. Is your style really you. Or is it what others expect?

By the way

This is Frölunnda Torg – Frey grove square… (ok, that was a strange attempt of translation, impossible to translate). As you can see, no grove actually, not even a square. Frölunda is the name of this suburban district of Gothenburg and here you’ll find a huge shopping centre. Surrounded by large residential towers but also a lot of nice open activity and green space in between.

Got the idea to get here today. I don’t know why but I felt for going somewhere and this happened to be my choice of the day. But not for shopping.

At first quite boring mostly. And then it continued. I really never got into the mood today, more than some glimpses. But never anything that grabbed any withstanding mood.

It wasn’t anything about the place. It’s actually quite nice here with lots of scenes to work. For being so big as it is, it’s actually a surprisingly calm atmosphere here.

The fault was myself. I have had some issues lately with my motivation. I feel motivated but all of a sudden it fails me for no reason at all. I haven’t found out what’s wrong other than I still have some quite big problems with my mental endurance. Followed by hypersensitivity to headache.

But I will never give up. Somewhere deep inside me, my lust is always bigger than my shortcomings. Curiosity never killed the cat. Ha!

Hasta la vista

Dry Rain

The rain was pouring down today. Good. It haven’t been raining that much lately actually. Ok, maybe some yesterday and some the day before that. But not very much.

Yesterday my head was full of Chromebook, so there was no time left for photography. I mostly missed the rain. I had motivation for rain.

You must think – what’s wrong with me? Well, almost every shot I’ve made so far have been made in sunlight, or under a muddy grey sky at worst. I feel a need for a different view. Rain would be a nice companion and mood to be in.

Muddy was how I felt today. Almost like a hangover, but without the headache, fortunately. Still very off.

Yesterday I was awake to late and woke up to early. I’m actually on a short vacation this week. Doing nothing special at all but just because I can. However, I couldn’t re-sleep even if I felt not done yet.

Time actually doesn’t matter that much right now. Good for me.

During spring and summer and some time past into autumn, we almost always sleep with the window open in our bedroom. I love the sound of pouring rain and dripping drops. It’s mindful and reminds me of camping.

Rain kind of slows down the speed of life and makes you more sensitive to your own thoughts and feelings. My mind felt a balanced connection with the rain today.

But where is the rain? Do you see any rain on my photos? No, me neither.

I made myself prepared and then it suddenly disappeared when I walked to the bus. Even the clouds partly disappeared and the sun started to shine through. My sleepy brain started to feel numb and lost.

Where is my rain? I really needed that rain. The rain made me feel in harmony. This felt like a collision, smashing my head into the pavement. Suddenly the world became same as it ever was. I wanted it to be not the same as it ever is.

My motivation dropped, so I tried to create new connections with the world to make it fit my mind. It drained a lot of energy out of me to empower my inspiration. So I got really fucked up in my head and felt like a black hole at the end.

Back home I closed down the system and fell to sleep and dreamed about colourful horses who shouted – HeellooO! just like agent Cooper. Then everything was much better.

Proud to announce I’m going CC

I’ve been thinking about it or that for some time now and just made my work available under Creative Common license. Just like that, and it feels wonderful right doing it.

Of course. I’m almost invisible and totally unknown as an artist. So this will probably not have any remarkable impact on the world, or myself. I’m not very good in SEO or aggressive enough in making a brand of my name. I really suck in those skills.

In many ways, I have to suit myself for why things are as they are. My blog title says What? I don’t use tags (yet, but I consider to begin). My posts generally don’t have the most obvious titles, and my category titles are not very optimized either. I mean Street -ish, what is that?

For me, it’s Street Photography. But when I simultaneously started this blog and my adventure in street photography I was not sure if this was my thing. And I thought that it probably would be a lot of crossbreeding off road. I wasn’t aware and didn’t had the knowledge about what the heart and soul in the genes of Street photography was about.

Today I know that Street photography is a myth and a metaphor of so much more than what the chosen name says.

If I knew all this today I would probably simply name my Street -ish category Street photography. But it has been an -ish for so many posts now and I’m too lazy to change it, and somehow I just happen to kind of like my -ish so I will keep it.

I’m aware of my choices and can’t complain about anything but myself if being hard to find. Same thing on flickr where I host most of my photography – very bad in making myself more visible.

If my photography is good enough in my viewer’s mind to be of any interest is another question. I may suck in others thoughts. I really don’t care if. I just want to do what I do as I do anyway.

Anyhow Anyway about Whatever about that.

As an almost nobody, unestablished artist with no reputation among the many names of photographic artists, it’s very hard to be recognized as someone worth the attention of any significant importance. You need a bigger audience, ego, or wallet, before making dreams out of the blue. I don’t have either (yet).

Maybe open up my he(art) for almost free can help my dream to infect the world with my art.

As long it’s not for commercial profit – feel free to download and use my work as my choice of Creative Common license allow you to do, in the same way.

Peace Love and Soul

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Mikael Stenström / Smike66

Live Today, Die Tomorrow

Live today, die tomorrow
Life is time, time is life
Life is changing, changing is time

Life between yesterday and tomorrow
A lifetime before tomorrow

Today we live as long there is time
Tomorrow we die as long as we live

Be there and don’t miss the road trip
Live today, die tomorrow

Born to be alive, not die

A walk, some shots, a meal, some coffee, some sleep. In the air. Looking at the sky, the sun and the passing clouds. Life unlimited as long as you are. The wind made a song of air in my head, whispering. This is what I heard, or felt, I’m not sure.