Stockholm Fotomässa

Stockholm & More

I’m on the tail end of an intense, photography centrist weekend in Stockholm. Elle joined me and we’ve had an excellent time – despite the despicably cold weather.

Directly after my arrival on Friday morning (Elle arrived later on an evening train from Malmö), I headed out to the annual photography trade show in Alvsjö. Despite it being a much reduced show compared to previous years, I still only managed about two hours before feeling overloaded with stimuli.

Something that struck me as a bit odd while I walked in and out of all the booths, more or less consciously studying fellow visitors, was how many, primarily men, had brought their DSLRs with them to the show. My shoulders ached just looking at them lug around those huge cameras + lenses. Why would you bring your heavy gear to a photo show? I sure didn’t see much worthy of anything that a reasonably recent iPhone couldn’t capture.

I was a little “shocked” to see that neither Canon nor Scandinavian Photo had a booth on the show floor. Sony, on the other hand, had invested in a relatively large presence and I got some hands-on time with their new video focused camera, the A7III. I was so impressed that I ordered one right there and then. Sadly, the Norwegian sales rep from the German camera maker Leica discouraged all and any hopes of the “Q” receiving a rumored firmware update to enable 4k video.

After an excellent open-faced avocado-on-sour-dough sandwich and a couple of cups of java at the immensely popular Bageri Petrus in Stockholm’s Södermalm-district Saturday morning, I took an Über to the Hilton at Slussen where the Swedish Association of Professional Photographers had their yearly photo book conference. I think gatherings like these often get a little bit incestuous. Yet I felt compelled to participate and exhibit my latest book about Malmö Opera.

While there, I listened to the Dutchman Erik Kessels’ mostly entertaining talk about the importance of fuck-ups. However, this turned out to be a sneaky lead-in to the core of his talk which was about poking fun at family photo albums and amateur photographers snapshots. Half way through and two or three dozen slides later, I was bored and exited the auditorium.

After about 4 hours, I split from the conference and strolled over to Fotografiska where I, together with Elle, saw all three of the museum’s ongoing exhibits. Very inspiring stuff, indeed. Especially the South African photographer and activist, Zanele Muholi’s amazing work. The massive show with Ellen von Unwerth was a bit overwhelming, but inspiring nonetheless.

Slicing available time during a mere weekend here with all the things we must do, want to do, hope to see and yearn to experience – as well as eating well and meeting up with friends and family – is no easy task. I seem to always feel just a slight sense of guilt for not spreading myself thinner and meeting what is likely only imagined expectations. One day I’d like to live in Stockholm. In the summertime, when the weather is high.

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