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.

 

 

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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;)

 

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).

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

High on Atmosphere

Even if I like the summer better, winter has its own untouchable greatness. The only thing about winter that I don’t like is all those clothes all over your body. And stone cold fingers. You can’t really relax when making photography in the winter.

Well, ok. Actually maybe not really winter yet. But the signs are here. Two early mornings with a white layer of frost on the grass and the roofs.

Super clear blue sky and crisp air. Let’s follow the Invisible Rabbit

Coffee, then some more, and a walk with the dogs. Then a surprise attacked me with a spontaneous trail-run. Struck by some kind of subconscious inspiration.

A great start to a great morning. Capture and keep that great feeling. High on atmosphere, the perfect drug.

Shower and then out again. Nothing advanced but a happy head, shooting anything that comes in mind. Just a short visit to Mölndal by foot with a silly smile.

All kind of things felt awesome today. Not very much people in the streets photography although. Because on Sundays there are not very much people in the streets anyway. So I didn’t bother to hunt those humanoid moments very much.

But apparently, I caught more people than I remember when went through my shots back home. This was a little strange.

The whole walk was a bit strange actually. In a pleasant way. I was definitely walking around in my parallel universe today. Okay, I know, I’m obsessed by spacetime. But I can’t help it. That’s what Smikes do.

 

I love days like these. So simple and full of infinitude.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Street Photography is

Street photography is a curious genre derived from the candid and documentary style/genres and has adopted a whole lot of different styles and genres within itself through time. This makes the street photography genre very contradictory and confusing, and a myth.

The candid soul within the art of street photography is wild at heart and the untameable child of anarchy, making it a very unpredictable element, if you invite it. It can even take you far away from the streets and still breath street photography in its context.

Or not…

Don’t ask: What is street photography?!
Ask: What is street photography not!?

I’m in love with this genre. Probably just because of its wide open and creative heart of wilderness where any subject or object are welcome to participate. Fits my mind perfectly.

What happened to become a trilogy of words is now at its th3rd and last, and longest, step. Even if there is a connection they are readable in any order, or alone. Actually, I have been writing versions of same, same but different posts before. Life on a blog often tends to become a recurrent repetition in a different light. You will probably feel some deja-vu when reading this. Yes, I repeat a lot of my thoughts here, I know.

What I try to achieve is as usual – therapy for an infinite mind trying to understand what I try to think.

All shots in this post are made with an iPhone7.

In many ways, street photography has been kind of a project in my life with a camera. This was just something that suddenly popped up in my head one day and gave me the inspiration to explore.

When I started this adventure I sort of stepped back to basic and went kind of a cautious wannabe beginner trying to avoid failure and nail greatness. This also included my mindset when I was doing the post-processing. From being quite careless I went far too cautious.

In combination with a completely new environment shooting strangers in the streets, this was a mind-blowing experience. I was extremely stiff and lost and very often felt scared, bad and stuck in a mental block holding me back.

I have had my doubts many times if this was my thing. And I have felt very unsure of what I really want and like. But my curiosity was stronger and now I see the streets as one of my natural playgrounds. And my editing software is my playstation.

Within this more stabilized relationship, I slowly began to feel more determined and sure of what I wanted to achieve. Finding my way back to my more playful and careless creativity as I once upon a time used to make photos with my mobile. More fun and less serious. Never avoid failure and challenge everything you think is interesting and good enough. Fuck the rules!

I do a lot of wild and crazy snapshot photography when I’m out doing the streets or occasionally make random single shots from wherever whenever. Just because of the fun and excitement and unexpected and potential surprises. Create your moments.

But everything doesn’t have to be about snapshot intuition. It’s just a great key to unlock things. Being slowly spontaneous and experimental is just as good and fun and something I also practicing, a lot.

And I Can’t wait to tweak my “negatives” of reality back home. Even if I’m quite cautious in my editing experiments compared to how I used to play around with my photos once upon a time, I still like to tweak my shots quite a lot. But in general, I prefer some kind of balance not making it too obvious fancy excessive. Not lying too obvious. I want to stay in touch with some kind of trustworthy reality at the same time. But it happens that I tweak the light and darkness a little beyond from time to time.

On the whole, every photo we make is a little lie.

Making photography of life from a slightly different and unexpected view is like practicing magic and the art of bending and expanding the ordinary. Just a touch of less is more, as simple as possible. Most likely you will find your own magic when and where you least expect it, hidden in the insignificant.

Nothing has to exclude the other in favor from doing both at the edge of the opposite at the same time. Common mainstream easy digestive and strange oddities side by side will expand your mind.

Love, Soul, and Curios Creativity to you all / Smike;)

The “trilogy” is

Street Photography is a Roadmovie

Street Photography is a Rollercoaster

Street Photography is (this one)