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Return to Catalonia

Back in Barcelona for yet another project (and a celebration). It’s actually the second visit to the capital of Catalonia this year and boy, is the difference in police presence huge. It’s both comforting and alarming simultaneously.

While most casual visitors share their sight-seeing experiences in large schweaty crowds, I’m letting myself get lost in the mostly authentic El Born (La Ribera) district. Purposely avoiding all the main drags and promenades and focusing on documenting street art.

The abundant graffiti scene is dumbfounding. So many street artists with so much to say and convey. Amazingly, most tags and imagery is applied to corrugated metal garage doors and shop window covers – leaving the city’s often beautifully designed and crafted doors, ports and gates alone.

While Sweden has already transitioned to mid autumn weather, it’s still summer here.

The Q? It’s performing excellently.


The Q Arrives

I’ve had my eye on the Leica Q ever since it was released in 2015. Just couldn’t discern if it would meet my needs for capable and reliable compact camera.

About a month ago, I saw the gray version that Leica released earlier this year somewhere online and fell in immeddiately in love with how it looked. I was initially a bit concerned about the relatively wide field of view. I’ve not used a camera with a 28mm fixed lens for a long time. I’ve been choosing my 35 mm f/1,4 for most work related shoots this past year – including for the vast majority of all portraits in my most recent book, We are Malmö Opera.

When the Leica Q arrived a couple of weeks ago, I decided to produce my very first unboxing video. I’ve never made one before, always considered them a little nerdy – ritualistically perverse, even. But the temptation was just too hard to ignore.  I wanted to share the experience of how meticulous thought-through and beautifully packaged the camera was when it arrived. Turned out that it was not very dissimilar from the way Apple presents its products. Question is, who’s been taking cues (pun intended) from who?

Opera-book-Malmo-Opera-LaGioconda-ballet

Fotobok Gbg 17

Can’t remember when I was in Gothenburg last. Seems like years ago. Anyhow, I’ve been invited by Fotobok Gbg 17 – a photo book focused weekend long event – produced by the Swedish Association of Professional Photographers (SFF) during the city’s annual book fair – to speak tomorrow afternoon about my latest book project, We are Malmö Opera.

Update: Despite the Neo Nazi rally (or, attempt thereof) and subsequent anti-fascist movement’s violence against a sea of well-prepared and appropriately geared-up police, my presentation went well and was positively received. I even heard that a few copies of the new book were sold shortly afterwards.

axel munthe's villa san michael

From Munthe’s Capri

Majestic view after an exquisite lunch on the island of Capri at Villa San Michael, the former home of Swedish-born physician, psychiatrist, philanthropist and animal lover, Axel Munthe.

sorrento

Limoncello

From one of many small lemon gardens that are scattered throughout the city of Sorrento, along the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy.


Mesmerized by Clouds

Under the Storm
budhas rosteri i lycksele

Specialty Coffee at Budhas Roastery

Experiencing something totally new is especially exciting and I’m the first to admit of being a junkie of almost anything that tickles my curiosity.

So, when the opportunity to gain some rudimentary insight and subsequently produce an article about the amazing story of a former Balinese DJ and his wife/partner running a popular specialty coffee café in the far north of Sweden arrived, I naturally jumped at the opportunity.

For about half a day, I hung around one of the country’s foremost experts on the subject, the Master Coffee Roaster, and long-time protector of the Coffee Galaxy’s Light Side, Budha Sutedja (pictured above) and his wife, Katarina Johansson at their extremely popular café in Lycksele, Lapland, Sweden.

During my short visit, Budha guided me gently through some of the fundamentals of the intricate – some would even say scientific – roasting process, all the while hammering in the importance of being mindful about the symbiosis of mouth and nose when reporting and recounting some of specialty coffee’s amazing plethora of flavors and smells.

Stay tuned for more on this percolating topic. 

umeå river run

10k Norrland Run: Umeå River

The weather here in Umeå is spectacular. Much warmer and dryer than in Malmö right now, I’m told. I headed out early this morning for what turned out to be a most refreshing and rejuvenating run along Umeåälven, a river that is approximately 400km long and is connected with smaller waterways and river veins that originate as far west as Norway.

hotel lappland lycksele

Lycksele, Lapland

Short trip to Lycksele in the southern reaches of Lappland Province. First time here but I feel the same blissful calmness as when in Rikgränsen. Budhas Kafferosteri, Vindel River and the rapids of Vormforsen are included in my assignment to convey what I still think is one of the most beautiful and exotic regions in Scandinavia. I took the above shot last night after an excellent char and mash potato dinner at Hotell Lappland on the Umeå River, where I’m staying.

© Joakim Lloyd Raboff