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.

 

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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;)

 

Detour

Nice but now I want to go home, I think. But as always I usually make one last detour, if.

This is the beginning of the end of my last post when the paparazzi of the unknown left the building with his head full of colorful balloons from outer space…

From a ship into a pinball machine.

After some walking around, I felt this was over and done. I got to the tram-stop. 10 minutes left to wait. Boring. I walk to another stop. I usually do that. I’m too restless just standing still and wait for the time. It’s more fun to do something active while you wait, and more healthy.

So I went to the next one, actually one stop before the one I was at. I usually walk to the next. But that way is boring.

Three minutes left. Zero… ten minutes… Hey! What happened? Ok, probably some hiccup somewhere. Four minutes left. Zero… 10 minutes left… wtf!

The confusion is growing. Making looks of lost in time and space ? a sudden strike of dementia. People trying to communicate in silence through telepathy.

There it is! Someone said suddenly. Where? On the other side of the park. It isn’t supposed to run on that side. Everybody’s confused. Some run. Stupids, you’ll miss it anyway. And yes you just did.

I walked, to take a look what’s going on. The timetable said nothing about line 4. Because it’s not going here, normally. Apparently, the tram was in the mood for a detour also.

I went back where I started my way back home.

Five minutes. Waiting…  Zero… And yes, there it is. Finally, we have lift off. And back to sleepy slowly Mölndal for the next ride home.

It was probably meant to be like this. In reward, I got some more shots.

Always look at the bright side of life.

Everything happens for a reason, even things that don’t happen. No divine or faith shit, things just don’t happen without a reason. There’s always a reason why things happen. And reasons constantly collide with other reasons all the time, making loads of other reasons. And you are always somewhere in the middle of it, for a billion of colliding reasons, right here, right now.

Interloper

Colour me crazy. Blame it on the weather. Yes! Probably the weather. The world has been quite dull and desaturated for some time here. I think something inside me wanted to fuel my head with an overdose of colors today.

Back onboard my “ship”. My parallel-universe-time-machine. But this time I wasn’t thrown back and forth in time. More sideways, diagonal, up and down, in a strange pattern… and I got into a spin and made a slingshot all the way back home…

My mood was kind of… offside today. Somewhere else between here and there. Nothing stranger than that…

This place is just so strange. Or makes me strange(er) when here. So many strangers.

Maybe it’s something that happens when you come here without going anywhere. Normally this is a place you passing through to get to another place. Or waiting to leave.

I’m ok;) I just felt a little bit unfocused. Like a bunch of colorful balloons that flew away in different directions. I think the sudden mood for color distracted my vision.

Beside this little distraction, everything went on just fine. Except for one little incident.

Suddenly I was stopped by two guards who claimed photography prohibition???

I didn’t know that, are you sure? There are no signs anywhere? So it is they said. Ok!.. strange!.. still ???

No hard feelings. We actually had a friendly little chat. Fortunately, I felt quite satisfied at this time. I had already made more shots than expected and was not in the mood for arguing. So I gathered my balloons together and walked away, a little bit confused.

Back home I made a quick research about photography here, and yes – photography is not forbidden. So next time they claim photo prohibition, I can inform them about something they apparently don’t know. Ha!

An unexpected and somewhat interesting little happening after all. So it kind of suited my penchant for the unexpected. Maybe not the most wanted variant of the unexpected.

From here to my way back home will continue in my next post. Same balloons, another place(s).

SeYa! / Smike;)

 

 

 

The Ship

Once upon a time, when I was a teenager, I spent a lot of late hours here. Waiting for the first morning train back home to Trollhättan, my hometown back then. Every weekend more or less.

With a blurry head of deep empty space after some wild concert with lots of beer in the blood. If you were lucky you might get some fragments of sleep. The winters were harsh.

Still, we kept coming back, doing it again and again. It was worth the suffering.

After some years I finally escaped from my hometown killing time and moved to Gothenburg for good.

So here I am again, walking around at the central station. Far away in another galaxy. Not that I haven’t been here before since then. I have been here many, many times. Both as a traveler and as a photographer.

The very odd difference this time was this strange impact of nostalgic memories of once upon a time that suddenly started to pop up from nowhere. This place has changed a lot since then, hiding the original setup. Camouflaging my memories.

Something woke it up.

After this days visit I have decided to come back here more often, probably next time and the next time again, maybe little every time I’m in Gothenburg. Not because of any nostalgic reasons. This just happens to be a perfect place to explore photography, not at least street photography.

It’s a dynamic place full of everything and lots of exciting light and structures to explore. And far more relaxing in a strange way than the outdoor streets. It’s like walking into a ship floating around in its own dimension of spacetime.

This place invites me to explore and experiment. Like going back to my old school manual shooting. Exploring the light and movements one step further. More feelings, more suggestive, more reflective mindset. More me making photography, with my mind, rather than with my camera. More mindful.

So I will probably keep my manual settings for a while. It’s not very complicated actually. It’s not as in the old days when you never knew the outcome until the film-roll was developed. The learning curve is instant interactive. But you will for sure forget to change your settings from time to time and make a lot of failures in between. But definitely worth the suffering.

And when even failure feels like a nice opportunity to have some fun, you know you’re having a good time. Like this, extremely overexposed photography. That’s what easily happens when you shoot manual and forget to change things when the scene change. But it got its own charm and atmosphere.

So this place at this day took me back and forth through time in two ways. I found a time machine. It must have been some kind of conjunction of circumstances in spacetime.

 

And then I met major Tom in his ship.

Even if the subway-walk connected to the station, not really is a part of the station. I consider it being so. It’s a pathway between the station and the city.

Here you occasionally find some street musicians performing their passion. And this day was almost an extraordinary coincidence of when time just connects things in a strange way.

Being in this time machine and then suddenly meeting this man performing an unexpected soundtrack of my day in it, singing an old Ziggy-Bowie song. Not only good, he was fu**.. awesome talented.

I needed some physical money. I passed him, bought me a Red Bull to get change and went back to ask for some shots and gave him some money.

He made my day. And I probably made his. It wasn’t very big deal, but he stopped playing, said thank you with a big smile and a friendly hand and hug. Then back to the strings and the song. Slowly fading into a dreamy echo as I walked away.

What a wonderful day. And later on, while making this post, editing my shots. Brian Eno’s “The Ship” in my ears was a bullseye companion.

. . .

Have yourself a good time, hug and cheers / Smike;)

 

 

 

Expect Not

This is what I came for and this is what I saw.

There were some cultural activities going on in Gothenburg this night. Mostly things indoors around the city. Nothing that much of my interest to make me wanna jump around to make photos.

But there was one thing announced catching my curiosity. A fire-show. That seemed nice and I imagined me making some nice shots of fire.

Even if I usually never let my expectations grow too much I quickly lost my inspiration I had for this visit. I was looking forward trying to catch something different.

The beginning of the bad began with bad sync between the bus and the tram. I missed the tram with about 20 seconds. I never run after trams or busses – you usually always miss them anyway. It’s some kind of law meant to happen no matter how you do.

So this made me late to the show and the place was crowded when I got there, I saw barely nothing. Luckily there was supposed to be a second performance – supposed to. I don’t know what, but there was no second fire. Ok, it was raining some, but it was more like a slightly wet moisture in the air. Not a real rain. The rain came later – cowards.

So I just got one shot between the heads and a spooky shot of the audience behind me of this “spectacular” experience. Well, it was probably spectacular nice for those who saw.

It took me some time to dig me out from this mud hole and save the night. So, Ok, Here I am! Things went far away in the wrong direction. I can stay here and wish for things that never happened. Or I can try to make things happen while I’m already here.

After some contemplating with myself, I decided to reset my mind and head home with an open mind.

Always look at the bright side of life (yes, I even began to hear them whistle).

My mind-bending game actually worked really nice and I began to feel slightly inspired again. Still no big craving for photography, but enough to enjoy my time. I really never found it while I was in Gothenburg. It was on my way home I found my way and most shots were finally made back home in Mölndal while waiting for the bus.

Things went quite nice at the end and after some time back home I was actually satisfied with my little night visit. Never give up on the bright side of life.

 

 

 

Rainy day

Very rainy.

When I woke up this morning the rain was pouring down. Actually, it was the weather that woke me up (day off, no work, yeah!) and it made me very inspired to make myself a little photographic rain adventure.

But when I left there was not raining at all anymore. Even the sun began to shine through a little. At first, this was a bit disappointing actually. And my raincoat felt like overkill -HA!

Ok, I wanted it. But if I knew I should have taken my little weatherproof Casio with me instead. It wasn’t just raining, sometimes it was more like standing in a waterfall. Usually, I pick my umbrella as shelter. But today it would not have been much to hide behind, maybe to protect the top of your head. It was raining in every direction.

The raincoat was a good choice after all.

Otherwise, my original plan for the day was to buy me a book, get more migraine medicine, drink some coffee somewhere and just make some shots on my way before heading home again.

Well. That was about what happened. I never got that inspiring motivation I had when I woke up. I bought my book and my medicine, drank my coffee and made my shots while passing by.

Ok, maybe I took a little detour.
Some kind of adventure although, but not as I thought.

And I think I was quite alone to actually like and feel great in the crazy weather. Most people were found hiding inside the huge “indoor city” called Nordstan.

I like the atmosphere of wild hard rain. Small shitty grey dull dropping is boring. The latter is, unfortunately, the most common weather here. But I don’t like the wind – unless it rains heavily at the same time. Or snowstorm, that’s really fun. Ok, I’m probably not as I should be behind the bone of my head.

And now I hope to find some more inspiration in another way and begin to read the sixth and last book of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – “And Another Thing”. Unfortunately not written by Douglas Adams (Eoin Colfer), but I hope to find his spirit inside it.

 

 

Floating around in the background

While Gothenburg was preparing for an expected rumble. I took my camera and joined my family for a short shopping visit on the other side of the city.

Later on, when the rumble was on. I took my camera on a short ride to my own little half asleep city of Mölndal instead. Maybe kind of little half asleep myself. I just wanted to get out and make some more shots.

Many photographers of the day were probably already prepared in their minds of what to do this day. I had my thoughts also. But then I thought – Do I need this negative chaos to make interesting photos? And do I need it myself? – No!

Making photos of bitter and frustrated neo-nazis trying to accomplish their legal demonstration rights, angry opponents and police forces trying to keep them from confrontation and confusion in general. For sure a lot of excitement to shoot. But honestly, not my kind of action of choice.

Of course, I could choose to join the happy forces, powered by over 20.000 people around the city that took place in other areas instead. Maybe I should, to show and share my opinion. But my head was actually not in shape for either. I prefer to perform my beliefs and statements in the small at small stages anyway.

Today I was in my flaneur mood. And have been so more or less for a while. And I know myself very well by now. Ignoring my condition and capacity have never been a lucky shot of choice.

I have some annoying issues of being slightly oversensitive, taking in too much information, sounds and visions fading into an exhausting messy blur of chaos. And from time to time it grows into hypersensitivity making me absorb even more impressions than I need.

So this was just a perfect choice of egoism for the day. Slowly floating around in the background of the more sleepy slow corners of the world instead. Personally, I prefer to call it self-awareness.

So how did the demonstration and rumble in the city of Gothenburg went? Surprisingly well actually. The Nazi demonstration failed totally. They actually never came anywhere before their given time was over and forced away. Ironically they made their own situation, ending up in an embarrassing anti-climax humiliation.

There were some minor violence and incidents but the police made an impressive performance controlling the situation. And the few of the more aggressive people in the anti-nazi opposition never got the space to act, nicely stopped by the more smart people in the surrounding crowds of opposition before things went out of control. The rage and the anger never got the fuel to start the engine. And the fear of expected riots never happened.

The citizens of Gothenburg showed their power of peace, love, diversity, and inclusion.

 

 

 

Photographic Manoeuvers in the Dark

So I took a ride on my bicycle to Korsvägen – “the Crossroad”, named after being what it is. The big eye-catchers of this area are the hotel(s) Gothia Towers, the Ferris wheel and the free fall tower at the amusement park Liseberg. And a dinosaur outside the entrance of the science/nature theme park Universeum. Korsvägen itself is not very fancy, but a nice target for street photography.

Back in my teens, I was a creature of the night. But this was another time and city. Mostly I made slow arrangements of cityscapes, nature, objects or else with my camera on a tripod. Street photography was never on my mind.

Night shots with a tripod are quite easy. You learn quickly how to use your camera settings to make amazing good looking shots. Plenty of steady time to think, arrange, act slow and methodical. Almost impossible to fail.

Today I’m very stubborn in my wishes to avoid using a tripod. I love the freedom of just me and my camera too much. And a tripod is not very useful for street photography anyway. Not in the way I like doing it. If I for some reason suddenly would feel an urgent need of a tripod I have a cheap “Gorilla Pod” look alike in my bag that will do (still never used it). But I still like to act slow and thoughtful in between, just without the helping hand.

Sharpness is overrated anyway – in my point of view. Some blur, out of focus or unsharpness, in general, have never made me sad. Either you nail a nice touch, or fail. Never avoid things you want to try. Have fun and avoid the serious killer inside you.

But I do like and want it to be more as sharp as possible sometimes. Making everything into a motion blur style just because, is not a goal. I actually do like more simple and plain ordinary good-looking shots also. I’m not that stubborn stuck in need to make things odd and arty, but I like doing it whenever I want.

Motion blur can be an enemy or an exciting friend to explore. Either you avoid it as far as possible, or you explore it and learn how to make use of it. The big challenge is learning to control your own made motion blur in your hands as you want it to behave. Shooting motion while being in motion yourself is the hardest, but very interesting.

When you make shots at shutter speeds close to the edge of the possible in your hands and want it sharp(er) you need to sharpen yourself. I don’t have anti-shake on my camera, and would probably not use it even if I had.

I seldom change my settings very much. Shutter speed stays on auto (almost always). But I often use + – compensation. Iso is mostly fixed at 1600 and aperture mostly stays at f8. But I dial it back and forth from time to time. It depends on what I want to achieve and prefer.

Nothing bad about using autofocus, but I prefer to use it the “back button focus method”. This means the focus is fixed and pushing the AEL/AFL button at the back with my thumb makes the autofocus to kick in whenever I wish to change. I just happen to like it and find it more practical, and even more when dark.

For this night-walk, I knew that iso 1600 probably wouldn’t work very well so I tried 3200. But that wasn’t enough either so I went to 6400. Still low but I wanted to give it a try to manage it. I like balancing on the edge and this was a night meant to be mostly about exploring and experimenting.

So far I have come to the conclusion that street photography at night is a demanding skill. It’s completely different from shooting in daylight. And that’s the nice and fun challenge of being so.

I will take my time as needed finding my way through this darkness. Right now I feel quite primitive. I feel like a moth mesmerized by the light. I’m actually more attracted to the abstract life of the darkness and light itself than what. Lights, shadows, shapes, patterns, structures, and locomotion melting together into dreamlike dimensions.

This was a short trip. Soon there will be lots of more time practicing and doing street shot experiments in the dark. The dark half of the year is closing in and soon there will already be dark at four o’clock in the afternoon, and cold.

But this night was exceptionally warm for this time of day and year. Making things a lot more easy and comfortable. +15 degrees Celsius at night is not bad at all in late September.

Street Photography is a Rollercoaster

Welcome back, my friend!

In the beginning of my street photographic adventure I often felt a little disappointed -Crapshit! inside my head. Failing to nail my imagination of what I saw in my mind. Or just missed. Maybe never saw and lost motivation.

And I felt like a God when I succeeded to make a great hole in one. Or just found that inspiring bubble of flow.

Street photography is a rollercoaster and something you have to deal with.

It’s actually a bad habit expecting greatness every time you shoot – it can easily become a killer whale, tearing your motivation apart. Never listen to your inner killer whale, it will make you blind and may even bore you to death.

I still feel like a God when I succeed and I still make a lot of mistakes and odd shit in between. And I still struggle with scrambled motivation from time to time. But this is a part of the challenge and the excitement in street photography. Especially when doing candid street photography snapshots.

The best way to avoid and cure negative mood is to become a crazy Devil aiming for odd shit. Make loads of unexpected stupid shots of things and folks of any kind whenever you feel blocked and bored – just shoot it. Don’t be afraid of the little Devil in you. I can assure you things will happen inside you. And you might be very surprised by the result.

What you shall be afraid of is the Ghost of Borderline.

And then – what is shit, failure, and a bad photography? And what do you think makes it so?

Are you sure?

In my opinion, this is personal – you are the creator, you choose the path of your own opinion and mindset.

I really like those strange and awkward moments I sometimes succeed to catch with totally unexpected results. And I really like when things aren’t perfectly in place in my photos. Missing heads, half bodies, out of focus, motion blur – off-road in general. Everything’s there to challenge the perfect and open up closed windows in our heads.

Today I’m more true to myself and confident in what I like, what I want and how to do it. Well, this actually began quite soon after I started doing street photography and realized that I missed something.

The more I shoot the more I understand my camera. The more I shoot the more I understand myself. The more I shoot the more I learn about photography. The more I shoot the more intuitive I become. The more I shoot the more relaxed I become. The more I shoot the more I see.

Follow the invisible rabbit  / Smike;)

Well, this was kind of part tw2 of my unexpected trilogy writing. The t3rd is on its way. Except connected in context it will contain only very random mobile shots as companion.