There are portals inside your head

Today, tomorrow and yesterday. Now have been everywhere.

The weather has been really crazy lately. Snowing, raining, snowing, raining, freezing, raining, snowing, freezing, snowing, raining…. and so on.

Maybe not so very different from how the winters usually behave here, but in a very fast forward mode.

The scene changes quickly. Just like where I am and what I shoot. And I have been heavy shit tired lately. And all this annoying headache behind every corner. Thank you, my friend, Sumatriptan for being there helping me to fight for my life.

Time moves so fast, and I’m so slow. And when I run, time slows me down even faster. I feel like a motion blur between two worlds. A ghost.

Reclaim the speed of life!

 

Thank you God’s, that I’m so fu**** curious to experience what happens next no matter how obviously life seems to be carved in stone. You never know.

Life is full of everything behind the imaginary walls of the ordinary everyday. Open up, be prepared, be curious. It’s not even a wall, it’s just a thin layer of projections. Inside your mind.

There are portals inside your head, hidden in unexpected combinations that unlock paths to unknown destinations in your mind. Change the scene.

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Meanwhile

Creating a photo book is easy, making it is not. One million ways to think and see – pick a path.

Meanwhile, I have not made so much of photography since I got trapped. This thing really consumes time. And oh yeah! It’s a mind-trap. Full of endless possibilities to decide about where to go.

Fun and frustrating. Impossible to stop until you are satisfied – which you sooner or later will realize is impossible. Beware the devilish perfect enemy of the good. So face it and embrace it and accept the flaws. It will never be flawless without causing brain-damage.

Finally, I found my way through this mental labyrinth and physical puzzle. More about what about that and the book in a later post not far from now.

“I’m doing time in a maximum security twilight zone” a song by the crazy bat-cave band Alien Sex Fiend from the eighties. A title that suites good as a description.

Changing destinations through time and space from here to there and where and here. From inside out and outside in.

Meanwhile, I have actually managed to live a quite normal and functional life after all. In a parallel universe. And even found some cracks where I could make some random shots in between.

Mostly why not moments while doing other stuff. Like being at shopping centers. Watching life in slow motion.

Less is definitely more those days. We came early to avoid the stressed-out Santa zombie hunters. One hour later the invasion took place.

Inside this mess, I suddenly saw a pair of trousers I liked. Why not. One of my few is slowly dying from a crack in the butt. Actually, the one I was wearing (not visible, fortunately, but my bike saddle occasionally sneaks into it sometimes).

And more snow, but nothing stops me from riding my bicycle. I’m a Viking. Challenges make life fun, exciting, and interesting. Even stupid visits at the malls.

 

Thanks for the fish. See you in another time, not far from now.

 

ImagiNation

 

What next…

I don’t know. I never plan my life. Things just happen as it comes to me, and from there I make my move.

You are here now!

Some things I know. Some things I don’t.

I have never known what to be or do when I grow up. Now I’m grown up, still not a clue. So I am, and I do.

I see patterns in an abstract map of now. A kaleidoscope full of possible ways to see.

My plan is to proceed. Forward in any direction.

Repeat and transform.

 

 

until the end of the world

 

The Show must go on

Winter is definitely here now. At least for the moment.

Let it snow.

Usually doesn’t last very long. The winter season here is usually everything at the same time and then back to nothing, usually steady at nothing – borderline.

Snow is rare. It comes in huge attacks, rain, melts and freezes into a hard bone cracker glaze. Or just slush and gone and so on.

I have learned to cope and don’t care. Look beyond the shit. It’s only a bad distraction trying to make you feel bad. Totally useless feeling, never invite it unless making fun of it.

I didn’t need to get out, I wanted.

I love snow. Some don’t because they think it’s only will turn into slush and ice anyway. Wrong input and output – reset and reconnect. I love snow, not what it might be as worst, even if it usually does. I love every second of snow. It makes me happy. Bad clothes and bad mindset is your enemy, not the weather.

Snow lights up the world.

When the days are short, darkness dominate and the world look like 50 naked shades of dirty brown and grey, how can you not love snow covering it.

I will never stop dreaming of white fluffy winters. All of a sudden it actually will happen. Just like the dreams of a long warm sunny summer. Never abandon your hope and dreams – shit will take its place immediately and make you boring. And you will always freeze.

If you’re really good at bending your mind in curious and smiley directions it will make you feel good from the inside of your heart. If your world is shit. What else is there to make it better for you, but yourself.

Never blame the weather. It will always be as it is no matter what you think about it. Make a better world. We don’t need to fertilize and grow shit from the inside out.

And I also believe in unicorns.

And then it disappears.

 

And when it rains it rains. And when it’s storming it’s storming. It won’t be any better than it is inside your head. The elements are not the enemy, they’re there to make us alive.

 

 

the Anti Hotel (travel & hotel 3) and home

Hotel Göta…. I can’t get this place out of my head. It really made a deep impression in my head. I will remember most of Örebro and the days through this hotel.

Some would probably wonder wtf and either get grumpy or just say sorry but I don’t want to stay here. One couple actually did that. They were booked but was definitely disappointed.

When I and my college arrived we were really much wtf in our heads. In a fun and curious way. It really has odd qualities beyond the ordinary expectations. You can’t expect this hotel to satisfy you from the outside without exciting, curious and creative imagination. And you probably want to be here together with someone to share the funny thoughts that will begin to act like a pot of popping popcorns.

Was it good or bad? Impossible to tell. Probably not worth the cost if you’re not aware of its awkward qualities (and probably not even because of that). And the breakfast was lousy. Not bad, but very poor and quite boring. A very strange place. Was it real? Hotel Göta is an anti-hotel.

It’s shared in the same building as private apartments, split into two parts by a stairwell in the middle. Wide open even when no staff is there.

One of the ladies who worked here asked for “English please”, but could barely express one word understandable. And apparently, she didn’t understand very much English either. But she was very kind and smiled a lot.

Jokingly we wondered – What if this place is an experiment. All of a sudden we disappear and our friends say that we were staying at a hotel called Göta – Sure, and a smile. That place doesn’t exist, it’s a myth.

In many ways, it reminded me a lot of a very small version of “The Overlook Hotel” from “The Shining”. I just waited for the girls standing at the end of the hallway. Fortunately, or not, this place seemed not to be very haunted. But I almost wished it was, it would fit perfectly.

Hotel Göta is just odd and I will never forget it. It’s absolutely worth a visit, but maybe not two. Maybe 10 years later, for nostalgic reasons.

 

Time flies and all of a sudden the visit came to its end. Five days passed slow and fast simultaneously.

 

Back home we made another nostalgic trip. First a short trip with one train and then a change to “Blå tåget” – the blue train. Yes, it’s blue. Actually a modern concept with old things. The wagons are original wagons from the early sixties. Beautiful living things with a soul and no plastic fantastic furnishing.

Back to a chaotic Gothenburg where a gigantic European Union meeting was afoot. Half the city and surrounding areas affected by preparations and cordons. No busses no trams to Mölndal. Luckily there is a third alternative – train, again. Much train and travel back home before a good night in my own bed.

 

 

 

Örebro (travel & hotel 2)

Another day. We can call it Tuesday or Wednesday, maybe Thursday. Or all three.

Occasionally I am, but usually, I’m not the ordinary tourist photographer. I like to remember things from a slightly different view.

Things never became as expected. I never felt much of my melancholy as I usually do under circumstances like this. And I never made much of my expected photo walks either.

But my issues with my insomnia was much the same. And it got company every morning when my sleep usually always is as best. In the morning just before the wake-up call. Wtf and get up, my sleep is ruined anyway now.

Strangely I was surprisingly awake and alert through the daylight time, not falling to sleep in my chair more than a couple of sporadically minutes. Really odd actually.

Sitting almost still the whole day four days in a row is really demanding when you are used to moving your body and mind constantly. Interesting but mentally and anti-physical exhausting.

Unknown places are always a fun, scary and exciting experience. But it’s never about the physical place itself, it’s a psychological location happening somewhere inside your mind.

Örebro is most likely just like Mölndal or Gothenburg, or any other place on earth. Same same but different depending on where you feel is home and unknown places are always exciting.

But nothing here made me very impressed more than the curiosity of moving around in the unknown. It could, of course, have to do with the fact that I only saw most of the city after dark. But I always like cities with water.

A double nature visit. One for my profession and one for myself. One for the matter and one for the soul. A nice break in the ordinary patterns of everyday life. And I will never forget hotel Göta.

And I made my first snowball of the year.

Stay tuned for the sequel. Too many shots to share in one more post – so there will be a third “hotel and travel” – to the end of days.

 

 

Travel and Hotel

Sunday.

On my way far away for a four day long lecture/course in orthopaedics through my job, where I’m doing my time as assistant nurse at an orthopaedic clinic.

289 kilometres away from the ordinary.

I have never been away on my own like this for so many days before. And I have never been staying at a hotel for so many days before. Feels odd, and maybe sounds odd for some, but it’s true.

I have been camping in a tent for weeks many times before. Hiking in the mountain wilderness of northern Sweden without a sign of other humans for weeks. Together with my wife, totally self-sufficient with the hotel (tent) and everything needed in our backpacks.

So what to do in my spare time when the days are done? I’m not much into socialising all the time. I need space. Probably talking with my camera, walk around and have a chat with my shots on my iPad. Probably. And write some shit. I think I will be to restless to read a book. Watching TV is not my most wanted time killer.

I have never seen much of Örebro before. I have been here once before, about 20 years ago. But that visit flew by very fast and I don’t remember much more than the pavements and hundreds of bodies with inlines on their feet’s. I was an inline speed-skater and participated in a lot of races around the country back then. I actually managed to perform some really nice top level races. But mostly not. Örebro was not one of my best memories.

Traveling alone always affects me strangely. I have mentioned it before. I always fall into a strange mood of melancholy. It comes from deep inside me. A very intense feeling that moves my mind into a twilight dimension.

Well, I’m not really alone. I’m here with one of my colleagues on this trip. But that’s not really the same thing in my world. But I’m good at acting like nothing. Sometimes I even do it so good that I believe nothing is different. Surfing on the extrovert waves and diving in the introvert depths at the same time. Luckely I have a very fun travel company with a crazy sense of humour. The best way to stay sane and alive.

So here I am. At the hotel. The day before tomorrow when the lecture days begin. Looking through my catch of shots of the day, feeling strange.

Five days and four nights in the twilight zone.

My biggest enemy those days will probably be my insomnia. Already one o clock at night, and not a sign of need to sleep. So I wrote some more lines on this text.

I wish a good night.

 

 

This is a very odd hotel.

 

All Saints Halloween

 

A post about contrasts, life and death, abstract light-creatures and the ghosts in-between.  Whatever -ish…

Halloween is not a very big thing here in Sweden. It came late into our traditions, in the nineties. And there has always been a confusion about what day it actually occurs since we do celebrate All Saints Day also, which is not the same thing. All saints day is a Christian tradition, Halloween is a pagan tradition. Totally opposites, still kind of same in its nature.

On all saints day, things are focused on memorial stillness, flowers, and candles. Visiting the graves, most popular doing after dark to see the dead performing a mesmerizing light show.

On Halloween there are a lot of Halloween themed party’s going on at the nightclubs. And children have their own gatherings together with friends and families. But the trick or treat part knocking for candy barely exist here. It happens, but not often, and when, it’s usually knocking on doors of friends and relatives just for the thing.

Halloween is adopted, rooted and established. Slowly growing into a commercial monster. So one day it might be just as huge as any other tradition of importance.

During the weekends of October into November, the amusement park Liseberg in Gothenburg changes into a ghost à la zombie land. Well, at least in parts. Except for 10.000 pumpkins, scarecrows, and stuff, Halloween themed horror houses and some ghost/zombie performers walking around it’s still mainly just an amusement park. Crowded and quite hysterical. Fun but not very impressive and way too hustle and stressful.

This weekend we did both the All Saints Day graveyard thing and watching Halloween.

Yeah, I was a bit into my experimental mood on this amusement night. However not very focused on making or thinking photography. More spontaneous if in between.

I don’t use the flash very often, but I felt this would be a nice fun-time using it. And I always enjoy playing with motion blur. Something I would like to explore and do more of – both explore how to play around with the flashlight and slow shutter speed abstract painting with light. I actually feel a great hunger for more experimental art beyond the ordinary photography.

As an artist who used to paint a lot, but doesn’t have the time and space to do it very often nowadays. This is the perfect alternative medium to do it another way. Always finding new ways to express my artistic creativity.

I’m actually planning to slow down my photography. Photography has become a drug and I’m heavily addicted. Luckily it’s not a bad drug or destructive addiction. But it has almost become a bad habit and eats little too much time from other things around me. Same old behavior issues as always – when I burn, I really Burn. I must learn how to glow.

 

Memento Mori – Memento Vivere  – Tempus Fugit / Smike;)

 

Underpants…

And now some random moments on the go shot with my iPhone.

I never hesitate using my phone whenever I get struck by a sudden desire.

That’s the nice thing with mobile photography. More or less you don’t think photography at all. Unaware and suddenly you react at something in your surrounding, pick up your phone and shoot. Either something you see, or an unstoppable eruption of lust from the inside, or a strange combination of both. For me, it often happens on the threshold between aware and unaware, while waiting for something, or when doing what I use to do as usual, deep inside my thoughts, far away, and then suddenly come back to reality.

I have tried to achieve this behavior in the relationships with my “real camera”. Having it hanging around for no reason but if, and nothing more than that. Trying not to think photography.

But it doesn’t work, not for me. For some reason you are too aware of your camera in the bag or wherever you have it, ready to shoot if something of interest occurs. Subconsciously looking for things to shoot instead of letting things happen without the distraction of photographic thoughts.

With only my iPhone in my pocket I usually never think photography in any serious terms. I never look or wait for things to happen (inside my head or outside). It just happens – click, click… and then it’s over and off.

I would like to have this mindset even with my Fuji at hand. Learn how to not bother and think about photography all the time as soon my Fuji is there.

I think you can practice this skill. You probably need to have the camera with you more often. So often that it becomes just as natural as wearing underpants and no longer aware of it.

Suddenly and happily finding out that you have when you need to know. Nice!

At the same time. It’s a relief only having your mobile at hand. Forcing you to be and see things with a more laidback mindset. More spontaneous relaxing stupid fun. I think a “real camera” will always wake up the more serious photographer inside you. So it’s probably a perfect combination having either one or the other as your tool at hand and keep your double nature moods separated.

Yeah! I will probably keep things as they are. Mobile photography is fun, stupid easy and creatively rewarding.

Keep on making your day interesting and don’t bother if it isn’t / Smike;)

 

 

Simply Simple

When you do not plan to do any photography but do it anyway.

Today was my buy me some more memory day and going to the optician and ask where my new set of contact lenses are. Just that, no photography. Not now, maybe later.

One second before leaving I grabbed my camera and walked away. Ok… ok then. I might find something.

Finding something to shoot is never a problem. You always do. I have never achieved not finding something. Just anything that appears is worth a try. You never know what your reactions will make. Shit or hit or something in between.

I shoot a lot and often. But it seems that I’m not even close in quantity compared many other photographers, I have noticed. I barely never do more than about fifty shots or so during my ordinary walks. Sometimes even less. I seldom “work my scene” with loads of shots – three maybe four, at the top.

The main reason behind this restrained approach is my aversion of staring through tons of photos back home. I love making photos, and I enjoy post-processing photos. But I hate having too many the choosing and decision making. I prefer less more often instead. I like trying to achieve as much as possible with as little as possible.

So you could say that I use my brain as I used to use analog film. But instead of economic reasons, I do it to save my head. I like it simple, as possible.

So my memory cards last very long. Even longer because I always shoot in jpeg. I definitely don’t need it RAW. Tell me why I would need raw and I will kill your reasons, easily. I’m not impressed by pixel porn quality and don’t care about the enhanced possibilities to achieve imaginary perfection.

And I also prefer no larger space than 16mb cards because I use them as permanent storage space for my original “negatives”. That makes a not a to big collection of photos on each card. I only erase the worst crap-shots, usually – I think there’s a pile of shite left although.

I actually like and make use of a lot of shit. This is a very odd relationshit…

However. This is Mölndal, passing through an ordinary but unexpected sunny warm Saturday (for being autumn). A mixed feeling of nice, simple, insignificant and boring. A typical odd small town love and, not hate, but maybe not so very exciting. And this is what makes small and insignificant days and places like these into an interesting challenge of more than just what it seems to be.

Thank you for following me on this ride. And all the other rides I have been sharing with you so far.

Have good Life / Smike (my name is actually Mikael Stenström, if you didn’t know).