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;)

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

I need a monochrome Spa

More or less, I’m going to get back to my b/w settings without the choice to do anything about it.

At least for a while, even if I really don’t know why.

Oh yes, your little bastard, you know, you just don’t want to admit it – that you have a deep-rooted monochrome crush and feel that you have betrayed an old friend.

I’m born and raised in monochrome. It’s probably some kind of identity crisis.

In the beginning, I thought that color photography only was something I would do sporadically. Then I became to really like it and all of a sudden colors was dominating my photography.

I left my b/w settings and started to shoot everything in color. I also started to see and think differently. Monochrome went my second opinion.

So what’s the problem! So I like colors and if, Colours are easily made into nice monochromes in the post process. Well, that’s a part of the problem.

This is simply a weird feeling I have. And more about how I do than what I do, and what I think is better for my confused little mind.

I am suffering from very annoying alternative possibility disorders. That’s the problem. More alternatives – more problems. I don’t need more alternatives than necessary to deal with. I want less (is more. Yeah!).

When needed, it can be a very useful condition, but mostly it’s only disturbing (the good thing is – creative infinity, nothing can ever go wrong, only different).

Remember that “even if I really don’t know why” in the beginning of this text? I don’t, apparently. But I have noticed that now. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know, yet. And still not really sure… shit!

So you see, this alternative thinking even bleeds through my writings. So many, too many ways to say something. This puzzle inside my mind often makes me feel like an exploding star. And then I begin to feel a little hungry…

Ok, Stop!

So I will go back to basic and use my camera as it was a roll of film in it. Either b/w or color, not two in one.

And my precious little Fuji X100T makes great monochromes, straight from the camera (those here are not made that way, and some are mobile shots). And my monochrome mindset works so much more effective both when shooting and during the post-processing of the “negatives”.

Nothing wrong with colors, not at all. But when it comes to shooting in color on a more regular basis, I need to figure out what the hell I want to achieve more effectively. The confusion of exciting alternatives that lives inside the world of colors, or the sudden change of mood for b/w, or maybe not, or maybe… makes me bipolar.

I love it, and I just hate it at the same time.

If you don’t choose, everything will remain possible.

Maybe this is my path – to never really figure out what I want, meant to be a forever restless part of my mind.

I will keep on doing color photography anyway, however, whenever I feel for it. But not on a regular basis. And not as my standard setting.

Shooting with my iPhone will be an exception and stay my two in one whenever-wherever-however-camera.

But right now I need a relaxing monochrome spa. Focusing on the purity of shapes and contrasts without the interference of colors disturbing my little disordered head. So I will focus a lot on black and whites and the shades of grey in-between.

Less is more. And limitation is a creativity-engine making you more focused and inventive, and less disturbed by possible maybes. I need to clean up what I want.

We’ll see about that. I never trust myself. I often change quicker than I think.

Fuji X100T

 

Take Care, Peace and Love / Smike;)

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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

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)

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.

Street Photography is a Roadmovie

When I was writing this post I began as usual without a clue of what. Just throw out something and see what happens. I could just share my photos and say as little as possible to fill out the space in between. That was my thought when I started this blog. Well – Ops! I did it again.

It ended up in a huge wilderness of word pooping. I’m not surprised, so me. And how me grabbing thoughts from everywhere ending up lost in an endless mess. It took me a while to sort things up and at the end, I had to divide it. It became too big and wild. Suddenly I had made a trilogy. More of this, my thoughts and the shots from the day will continue in upcoming posts.

Street photography is a road movie. You have a base camp and an idea, but what’s next depends more on what comes in mind than what you expected five minutes earlier. When measured in hours things become even more unexpected and haywire.

Not always, not for everyone, but for me, this is bull’s eye and my ride through the unmapped landscape of my mind. I never really know what to expect and I seldom prepare myself very much more than being prepared for anything.

Actually, I think the unexpected is what you want to happen when shooting in the streets, both inside and outside your mind. This is the candid soul of street photography.

I just shoot and make some circles to see what happens next and then make a slingshot away to the next magnetic field, somewhere out there. And my mood can change quickly between different levels. It’s like my mood is doing the same thing simultaneously inside my head.

And this is in many ways a mirror of who I am as a person in general. Not always the best shot and sometimes very frustrating, but exciting and fun when you learn how to deal with it.

So what possible suits better than do what you are and explore the possibilities from there and just do it.

Embrace yourself and the unexpected / Smike;)