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Climate Change Conundrum

Elle and I took out the trash this morning and while sorting the contents of boxes and bags into relevant recycling bins, I noticed that much of our waste was various forms of paper packaging. It made me feel good that we didn’t have that much made of plastic to throw away.Which is not to say that I in any way, shape or form am a good environmental citizen.

These are confusing times. On the one hand, more people than ever seem aware of the planet’s environmental crisis. Yet the vast majority of us that agree drastic measures are needed to slow down the ensuing catastrophe – stemming from decades of arrogans, neglect and denial – are in essence ignorant about how we as a collective can contribute to make substantial change.

And even if climate science has been politicised and is used as arsenal in the war between conservatives and liberals, the trajectory of Earth’s population growth is compelling enough evidence that there is no way we can sustain our current lifestyle without fucking the planet up to the point of inhabitability.

I mean, once China (1.4 billion), India (1.4 billion), Sub Saharan Africa (1.3 billion) and South America (400 million) catch up with us in Europe (750 million) and in North America (600 million) and yearn for all the material stuff (furniture, cars, clothes), foods (meat, dairy + processed crap) and holiday travel we’ve come to define our quality of life by, we’re basically screwed. And even if overpopulation doesn’t get us, the natural resources needed to support everyone and everything will ineluctably dry up. I’m all for recycling and innovate ways to reduce our addiction to fossil fuels, but when most of what companies like Wall-mart, HM and IKEA sell are heavily dependent on plastics and synthetics, not to mention shipping, we’re still going to need more oil than Mother Earth has stored in her belly.

When all is said and done, I’m still an optimist, albeit a cynical one. Because though I might feel a slight pinch during my lifetime, like the Nobel Prize winning idea of a global carbon tax or an even bigger increase in the frequency of natural disasters and even more smoged cities, I will likely live out my terrestrial life way before the apocalyptic future arrives. Which is probably how most folks my age and older – and much of Gen X reason; “Hell, it ain’t my problem once I’m gone”, or, “I worked hard to get where I’m at, I ain’t makin’ no sacrifices”. #nonissue #whogivesaratsass #colonizemars

The image above is from the Bay of Pigs on Cuba.


Rosengårds Fastigheter

Of all of last year’s new clients, Rosengårds Fastigheter, a new residential property owner and developer, was by far the most engaging and inspiring.

I shot and edited four short portrait films of key employees, took a bunch of PR photos, navigated a drone to capture the neighborhood from way above and documented more than 30 individual properties. The other day, the company’s annual report arrived with a slew of photos I’d shot in it.

Rosengård is a Malmö neighborhood which has, mostly unfairly, come to represent the bulk of challenges facing the city in regards to integration and related socio-economic concerns.

There are obviously issues that need addressing. But Rosengård is actually relatively peaceful and flush with green and airy spaces. And thanks to being such an eclectic melting pot, I think you have to be really naive to not see that the area has huge potential.

I’ve visited plenty of places around the world that have metamorphosed over time. Nothing stays the same. So I’m convinced the tide will eventually turn for Rosengård. And Rosengårds Fastigheter will certainly play a key role in that transformation.


Early at the Gym + Old Havana

Went to the gym early this morning. At 06:00 am, there were four of us patiently waiting for the janitor to open the entrance’s sliding doors. By the time I was done with my cardio warmup on the treadmill, five or six more people had arrived. I’m guessing here, but I’d say most of us early birds are a few years above fifty, but by the time I’d completed my workout at 07:01 am, a half dozen “old timers” had also arrived. For them, the gym is as much a social venue as a place that helps them get or stay fit. While I go through my program with rigorous focus and a podcast playing through my Airpods, the retirees take it nice and easy, spending plenty of time chatting with each other in between gym machines and stretching exercises.

The above shot is from a rooftop apartment in Havana, Cuba. I don’t remember the circumstances of how I got to this vantage point, but I do remember loving the view. One of the capital’s most famous gyms is located somewhere over to the right in the photo. I don’t know the current state, but last I was there, the workout equipment would easily have qualified for an exhibit at the Smithsonian.

Back to the scene above. There’s something indescribably beautiful and soulful about buildings so old they look like they could be or should be condemned. The dilapidation is surely not as appreciated by those forced to live in them. But for a photographer coming from the diametrically opposite environs – like Västra Hamnen – where every square centimeter is relatively new and shiny, and where there is very little, if any, soul to be seen or felt, places like Havana are nothing less than a visual bonanza. I hope to return one day. In the meantime, I’ve got a collection of images from my two visits here.


The Swedish Boom

I’ve spoken to a few locals here, Swedes that have lived and had businesses for several years, decades even. The consensus is that there have never been as many Swedes living on or visiting the island as right now. With all the sun-depraved visitors flying in from Stockholm, Malmö, Göteborg and other cities, I suppose it’s not really surprising that Swedish seems to be the second most spoken language here in Palma. I don’t mean it’s a nascence (though you do have to watch what you say) – it’s just that after Bodrum, where we barely heard anyone from Scandinavia (but plenty from Holland and Turkey), it’s a little strange to hear so much Swedish chatter.

Aside from an absolutely terrible fish dish last night at an unnamed Swedish owned restaurant (but not La Perla), the food experience has been really good here.

Though much smaller, I could argue that the number of decent corner restaurants here in Palma is pretty much on par with what I’ve experienced in Barcelona. Like the ancient eatery El Puente, a new favorite place where we’ve already eaten a few times. Might even end up there tonight again. More images from Mallorca/Majorca here.


Perfect Timing

I think this could be my 20th visit to Majorca and I feel reasonably at home in Palma. At least as long as I stick to the center, that is. As soon I venture beyond Cala Major, things tend to get a bit hazy and everything looks more or less the same to me. Kinda like 50 shades of beige. I’ve been doing a lot of walking since arriving and today was no exception with more than 12k. This is absolutely the best time of year to visit Palma. It’s warm but not balmy, sunny but cool in the shade and nowhere nearly as crowded as it will inevitably be in about a month.

Above is a shot from a few years ago of a church in Soller.


Vintrie by Hyllie

From earlier today over Vintrie, a small village adjacent to Malmö’s popular shopping Emporia and the region’s latest neighborhood, Hyllie. I was flying over the area capturing images for a client with several ongoing construction projects in the area. Tomorrow by this time of day, I’ll be in a climate much warmer than what we’ve got here.


Memory of an Old Tractor

I find it increasingly interesting how my memory works – especially so when it fails me. With my humungous computer archive (4TBs and counting), I obviously have the advantage of being able to recollect by looking through my images, videos and rereading articles I’ve penned.

I wonder if a day will come when I don’t recognize photos I’ve taken, videos I’ve shot or stories I have written.  Probably.

In an entirely different part of my memory, I recently find myself making these really interesting associations. Like for example, this old tractor we came across during our bike ride in rural Kos the other day.

As soon as I saw it parked on the edge of the field, I felt compelled to get off my bike and photograph it. But why? Perhaps because my maternal grandfather Eskil had a similar tractor back in the 1970s. I know I rode in the cabin with him a few times. And he might even have let me steer it, too. Don’t remember that level of detail, though. Heck, I don’t even recall what type of stuff he grew on the fields outside of Trollhättan. Wheat? Probably.

I wonder what a loaf of bread tasted like back then. Would it be more flavorful, healthier to eat and would the methods for growing the grain be better for the planet than what’s used today? Everything seemed less sinister in the 1960s and 1970s. Maybe I’m just naive. Probably.

My maternal grandmother, Eskil’s wife Agnes (which prepensely is Elle’s middle name) used to make a fluffy, yet wonderfully chewy flatbread that when eaten straight out of the oven and topped with home-churned butter and a generously thick slice of creamy cheese, put me in a state of calm that I’ve since never experienced.

Some mornings when I stayed with Agnes and Eskil, breakfast would consist of a slice of grandma’s delicious bread and a large cup of really sweet hot chocolate. I remember exactly where I sat at the small kitchen table with its wax tablecloth and window overlooking the road to the barn. To my left was grandpa, holding up the local paper and mumbling now and again about something he had just read. Rarely did Agnes take a load off and sit with me for breakfast.

There seemed to always be a ton of stuff to do in the kitchen, around the house or on the farm. Like making sure gramps had his lunch with him before he took the tractor parked out back and headed out in to the fields.

More photos from Bodrum and Kos are now available here.


24 Hours in Bodrum

Shot this timelapse from our balcony yesterday. Not suffering from jetlag, yet I still wake up sometime between 4 and 5 am-ish, mainly for a pee, and can’t get back to sleep after that. So after yesterday’s awakening, I got the idea to capture a compressed 24 hours of our fabulous view.


Confidentiality & Little Fishes

A friend pointed out the other evening – over a glass or two of summertime wine – that my climate change motivated intention at the onset of 2019 to travel less was failing miserably.

I thought of this while showering a few minutes ago. The warm water took a little longer than usual to arrive and I caught myself feeling impatient by the delay.

I could argue that unlike many other business travellers, or, as I like to call them, “corporate seagulls” who constantly fly from meeting to meeting and likely spend more time in airport lounges than they do with their families (let alone experiencing much of the places they travel to), my travels document destinations and I share my impressions – in words and visuals – with many thousands of people. Though I these days rarely produce much for Swedish travel magazines, once my work is published on, for example, www.airlinestaffrates.com under Travel Tips or on the site’s companion Facebook page, over 170,000 people can read it.

Conversely, one could argue that my travel stories only encourage more people to board fossil fuel burning planes, cars, buses and boats.

After almost 20 years of professional travelling, it’s going to be unimaginably difficult to change my ways. I am prepared, however, just as soon as I find the perfect place to settle down at. A place so immaculately beautiful, socially and ethnically heterogeneous yet remarkably affordable, warm and clean, that my need to travel will be forever quenched. Tips, anyone? Maui comes to mind…aside from the affordable side of that island (where it’s anything but affordable).

The little fishies above gave their lives to a sauce or stew at some streetside restaurant in Asia of which I have no recollection.


Healthy Food and Yoga

Just finished an hour of twisting and bending. Got up at 05:00 am, about a minute before my alarm went off. Startting the day with qigong and yoga is like giving yourself a generous gift that keeps on giving all day long. Most of my aches and pains and any negative thoughts or seemingly insurmountable challenges I might perceive to have are gone by the end of the session – dispersed like clouds clearing from a worried sky.

I discovered yoga about two years ago and have been hooked ever since. It’s now my go-to remedy and keeps me honest and aware of my body’s current state. But you know what? I don’t buy into all the hokus pokus stuff often connected with yoga. Nothing wrong with spiritualism, just as long as it’s kept personal and not dictatorial. Heck I don’t even know most of the sanskrit names of all the animals I’m supposedly posing as. It doesn’t matter. In essence, Yoga is just a collective name for an ancient workout. No more no less. When anybody tries to tell you differently, their just preaching religion. And we’ve all recently heard about the tragedies in Sri Lanka and why we all need to stay clear of dogmas and mysticism…

After a relatively calm Easter with lots of tasty food in Göteborg and especially after yesterday’s “heavy” Easter dinner with a ton of herring, salmon and creamy sauces, my body’s yearning for lighter, plant-based food. Something akin to the salad above, shot with the Leica Q in Costa Rica during our visit 2017.


Göteborg

From the week’s two-day visit to Göteborg. I’ve wanted to revisit some of my old neighborhoods and places where I’d once lived. Just to refresh my memory and take a few snapshots for the archives.

On Thursday, I walked from the downtown hotel where I was staying and headed northeast along Friggagatan (lived there for a year), up to Redbergsplatsen and down to Gustavsplatsen (my first ever apartment for two years).

I then trekked up to Strömmensberg, down from there to Härlanda, through Kålltorp (where I lived for about a year with aunt Lillemor and her partner Karl-Erik when I arrived in Sweden in the summer of 1978) and Kålltorpskolan where went to 9th grade and finally, via Torp, Örgryte and Liseberg, up via Götaplatsen to Vidblicksgatan 5 in Johanneberg, which was the very last place I lived in Göteborg.

In all, it turned out to be a five hour, nearly 20km walk down memory lane.

The above little video doodle (shot handheld with my iPhone), of sculptor Carl Milles masterpiece “Poseidon” was from one of the very last stops before meeting up with a late but nonetheless well-deserved Easter themed lunch with old buddy Tommy Sahlin.


Gotland & Fårö

After the weekend on Gotland, I’ve spent some time sifting through my vast collection of photos from just shy of 30 years of visiting the island and neighboring Fårö. I remember being awestruck by how beautiful the landscape was and totally seduced by Visby those first few days back in 1990.

I had moved to Visby after being accepted to Gotland’s Konstskola (art school) and had somehow managed to rent a small house just inside the north gate of the town’s medieval ring wall. The house wasn’t fancy by any means, but it did have a kitchen, bathroom, a small living room and another room where I set up my easel, paints and brushes. It was an idyllic time where my art and photography developed and thrived.

Here’s a collection of photos from Gotland and a bunch from Fårö.


Back in Visby

It’s been a little more than a year since I was on Gotland – and judging from today’s brisk cold wind, it feels almost like it’s February – which was when the last visit took place. It’s no secret that I’ve had a long love affair with this island. I love shooting here and writing travel stories about why a visit should be on everyone’s bucket lists.

We arrived late afternoon and had just enough time to check in at the hotel and freshen up before it was time to head over to Munkkällaren, or, in localese, “Munken” where a huge celebration of my old buddy Timmy Skinner’s 50th birthday was about to commence. Met a lot of ancient friends at the party, most I’d not seen in many, many years. I probably missed a few cause I couldn’t recognize them or them me. The one constant here is the thousand year old ring wall which I got a few good shots of today – despite the cold weather.


Easter Candy

Looks as if most of Easter 2019 will be celebrated in Malmö – or, at least in the general vicinity. We’ve spent several Easters in Vejbystrand over the years with plenty of egg hunting, egg throwing and egg eating to last me a while. I was in a new grocery store yesterday and they had a long row of knee deep containers full of various kinds of colorful Easter candy. Like the raspberry chews above.

While I was walking down the aisle, looking at all the sugarcoated candy got me thinking that there has had to have been at least a few scientists, perhaps some with PhDs in chemistry involved in deciding how sweet, sour, salty or bitter a particular candy was going to be. Not to mention discerning the exact color, texture and how chewy a gummy bear or wriggly snake would turn out.

I mean, there’s has to be several laboratories around the world where serious, well-educated men and women in white coats spend most of their workday mixing chemicals to make candy products that the marketing departments and product managers for successful candy companies like
#Haribo, #Malaco and #Fazer have decided will sell well in grocery stores like the one I visited yesterday.


Visit The Norrmans

About a year ago, Charlotte and I visited The Norrmans Bed & Breakfast about an hour south of Copenhagen. Lars and Anna took great care of us (as they did with their other guests) and though we only stayed a night, we we’re overwhelmed by how different the atmosphere was from just about any other overnight place we’d ever been to in Scandinavia.

It was as if the two of us had discovered a whole new category of accommodations. I mean, after decades of staying at large and small hotels all around the world – with varying levels of service, comfort and noteworthy dining encounters, what the Norrmans were offering was something totally different. I guess I’d characterize it as an intensely personal guest house experience set in a beautiful Danish homestead milieu.

From what I’ve gathered from their Instagram posts, the couple haven’t exactly been resting on their laurels. On contraire, The Normmans seem busy as can be with new ventures – including a shop full of quirky, cool stuff in one of the farm’s barns. Not sure if we’ll have time for a visit this year, but you never know! Yup, that’s me standing in the dirt on the parkiing lot.


Affenpinscher Okondja

Rummaging through one of my archives today, I stumbled across several photos of Okondja, the cute and wild Affenpinscher I shot in my old studio a few years back. As friendly as she was, I can’t see myself ever owning a dog that small. They’re just too twitchy and skittish. But cute, very cute. Sadly, I’ve heard that Okondja sometime after moving to South Africa passed away. More of my dog photos from around the world can be viewed here.


The Butterfly

From yesterday’s morning shoot at Kockum Fritid with model and former competitive swimmer, Gustav Åberg Lejdström. The Butterfly stroke, or,  the “Fly” as it’s called among competitive swimmers, is something I never even attempted as a young member of the West Hollywood Park Swim Team in the late 1970s or during my short time at S02 in Göteborg in the early 1980s.

Back in the day, I swam the Crawl/Freestyle and won a few swim meets as a sprinter in the 100 yard distance. I think the Butterfly stroke is really interesting as it mimics both a dolphin’s tail movement and the wing flap of a butterfly. During peak speed, the Butterfly stroke is apparently the fastest of all styles. Which I saw some proof of yesterday while trying to capture the above shot. Took me a good 100 tries before I got it right.


Figure Skating

This is Felicia Nilsson, a talented figure skater from Malmö that I’ve had the privilege of working with on a few occasions while working on an advertising assignment for our local sports center, Kockum Fritid.

I shot this with the Fuji Fujinon 56mm f1,2 at ISO400 and though not visible in the monochrome version above, shooting in an ice skating rink is really asking for as much color trouble as possible. Not only are there several competing color temperatures involved, the innumeral amount of crossing vertical and horizontal lines and shapes make composing a shot of a fast moving subject extremely difficult. Despite or maybe thanks to all the disstractions, I still found shooting Felecia and colleague Nicole both fun and creatively challenging.


AirPods 2.0

For many years I lived a tangled life. Then came the AirPods and I felt as if a huge weight was lifted from my…ears. I used my pair of white wireless earbuds extensively. Probably as much as 3-4 hours a day – including when I fell a sleep listening to a podcast.

Finally, after about two years of daily use and waking up with one or both often lodged somewhere in the skin folds of my back or stomach after a night of sleep, the microphone and then the batteries started to give up. I could still use them, but the charge wouldn’t hold for more than an hour or so.

I ordered a pair of AirPods 2.0 just as soon as they were announced. I actually placed my order while lying on a bed overlooking the Indian Ocean in Goa without a nanosecond of hesitation. That’s how good I think this Apple product is and how dependent I am to using them to listen and talk via the iPhone. Love this little film Apple produced for the Airpods. And The New York Times has a good albeit somewhat crticial take on the new Airpod version.


The Spice Shop

It’s cold but beautiful today in Malmö. I’m going through my images from Goa and the contrasts between here and there make the photos seem as if they were all part of a vivid dream or an elaborately detailed hallucination. The change of temperature, humidity and above all, shift from a cacophony of scents and smells to a bouquet of… nothing is a little bewildering.

Met this sweet woman at her spice shop along the north end of Agonda’s main village road. After about a week of enjoying Indian and Nepalese food, I was getting used to the mix of essential spices found in the local Masala dishes, including tumeric, cumin, and the  indispesible and irreplaceable coriander.


Steamrollin’ in Goa

When I saw this steamroller crushing gravel that had been carried and then emptied from the workers baskets earlier today, I was transfixed. How far from my existens was this? Lightyears.


Meine Reinemachefrau

This is my friendly cleaning lady. I’ve kept a fairly neat ship, so I  only need her help every other day. I’ve heard her hum what is probably a well-known Indian tune when she’s sweet my patio.

The headline “Meine Reinemachefrau” is German for My Cleaning Lady and is a reference to the brilliant, deadpan comedy, “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” starring Steve Martin. I don’t know why I thought of that right now. Maybe because so many German guests have checked into the hotel over the last couple of days.

I deactivated my Facebook account this morning and I feel a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Once again I found myself caught in a crossfire between having unreasonably high expectations of appreciation from what I often spent a lot of time creating and posting – and a really weird sense of resentfulness when people posting what I thought was meaninglessness were receiving a ridiculous amount of attention

– Life is not online. It’s happening every second you look beyond the screen. The only likes and comments that really count, are those you give and receive from people you interact with in real-time.

I’ve deactivated my account before and after a five year hiatus, I decided to give it a shot and see if the algorithm had changed for the better – or, if I had changed my attitude. Sadly, the answer is neither. It’s still an eco-system where everyone – whether they are aware of it or not – strive to achieve popularity and celebrity status among their friends and followers. It’s a dark place where the currency is valued in the number of Likes, Comments and Shares you collect. It’s an unhealthy place to spend even a few minutes a day. Let alone hours.

Good ridden!

Shaken not Stirred in Goa

From yesterday’s adventure in the beautiful rural hills above Agonda in south Goa, India. I used a suction cup on the windshield of the rickshaw to connect a Gopro Hero 7 Black to see if the hypersmoth stabilization was as good as proclaimed. And it was. I’m fairly sure that it films in 4k and then uses the higher resolution to stabilize the footage in realtime and then downsample and render it to a still impressive 2.7k.


The Breakfast Sandwich

Once I’ve discovered or located something that “fits the glove” snuggly, I’m inclined to stick with it. At least for a while or until something more appealing shows up. Such is the case with the English breakfast they serve here and that I make a very tasty open-face sandwich of. Firstly, I butter the toast, then cover each slice generously with baked beans and finally top this culinary concoction off with the fried eggs. Back when I ate meat, I might have also added a fistful of bacon to the recipe. But the thought almost disgusts me now. I don’t touch the ketchup, but I’ll eat the hashbrown potato cake thingy between the two sandwiches.


Holi Colorful Me!

If you didn’t check out the video in the previous post (below) here’s what I looked like when the staff and fellow guests had smeared color all over me during the Holi Spring Festival.

I’ve since handed in my t-shirt and shorts to the laundry lady, visited a local barber and had an Ayurvedic massage.


Holi Festival, Batman!

From today’s extremely playful and colorful celebration of the vibrant Spring Festival called Holi. Shot on a Gopro Hero 7 (4k) and an iPhone 7+ (4k/720p). I’ve handed in my clothes to a local laundry shop, but they were dubious about being able to clean all of the colors. Not to fret, I said. Could make for a nice keepsake from an extraordinary day. Read more about Holi here.


Back in Goa for Holi

After a weeklong delay, a short stint in Delhi, I’m now back on schedule and have arrived safely in Goa.

The distance from the chilly, windy and pallid southern Sweden to the balmy and colorful southern India couldn’t be wider.

While it was officially spring in Sweden yesterday, here in Goa today, they will be celebrating “Holi” which is the Hindu festival of colors honoring the triumph of good over evil, increasing the prospect of a favorable harvest as well as improving fertility.

The layered image above is a composition of cows I met heading down the village road yesterday afternoon and a young guy with a lavish hairdo I came across a few minutes later.


Goa Tuk-Tuk

From last year’s visit to south Goa in India. Shot on an old GoPro and an iPhone in the beatiful hills behind Agonda Beach during an afternoon. I remember having stubbed my toe on a piece of wood at the hotel that morning – yet still insisting on going surfing afterwards.

Quartier écolo

Un quartier modèle de Malmö en Suède, qui fonctionne à 100% aux énergies renouvelables. #19h30RTSRTSinfo

Publicerat av RADIO TELEVISION SUISSE (RTS) Måndag 11 februari 2019

TV Interview

From an interview I did for Paris based TV team Story W. They visited in January to produce a story about unique sustainability projects in Malmö – primarily Västra Hamnen and Hyllie. The reportage will be shown on Swiss TV station Radio Television Suisse (RTS) and on a yet to be disclosed (to me anyway) French TV channel as well.


Tuscany

Thanks to a friend, wine connoisseur and restauranteur Erik Schneider, I was invited to Tuscany to photograph for a few days in the Val d’Orcia region. The winery Cal d’Orcia, founded and operated by Count Cinzano (one of the family members that make and own the aperitif brand) hosted me for the week. Tuscany is as beautiful as I’d read about – and then some. And a completely different Italy than what I had seen in other regions of the country. Here’s a collection from the visit.


Istanbul

Been so busy lately, that I’ve totally forgot about updating the travel section. I’m giving it some attention now and in addition to the South Bronx and Tokyo, Istanbul went up yesterday. Politics aside, Istanbul is absolutely amazing and I’d love to return one day. If for no other reason, then for all the friendly folks I met during the weeklong visit a few years ago. If you look closely, you’ll see a plane taking off behind the Blue Mosque. More from Istanbul here.


Waiting for Spring

So, it turns out that we might not be getting any winter at all. We’ve only had a few hours of snow and few days with subzero temperatures. Nowhere near what the folks in New York have had to endure and continue to cope with. I hope now we can look forward to an early spring. Despite reasonable temperatures, mostly above zero, the cold and dry air has been unusually cold and dry.


Female Genital Mutilation
From a visit to a Maasai village in the Maasai Mara National Reserve a couple of years ago. As this was my first visit to the Mara, I wanted to visit what I was told would be an authentic Maasai village, however touristy and staged I assumed the experience was going to be.
 
While most villagers were kind and friendly, one of the young males, the fellow standing to the far left wearing a lion headdress, had a blatantly aggressive attitude. I wrote it off as a schtick, an act to emphasize his alpha male status among the other men (and me).
 
I couldn’t resist but ask about female genital mutilation (FGM) within the Masa communities. According to our guide, though still practiced, it was on the decline throughout this male-dominated society. 

After some research, I learned that traditionally, Maasai men won’t even consider marrying a young Maasai woman if she has not had her genitals circumcized. Only after going through this painful and often life-threatening ritual would women, mostly barely sexually mature young girls, be allowed to partake in cultural celebrations and have their future children considered legitimate.
 
Despite attempts to eradicate this horrific tradition, according to a 2018 United Nations estimate, because of population growth, the number of girls mutilated each year could rise from the current 3.9 million to 4.6 million by 2030. That’s roughly the entire population of women in a country like Sweden.
 
Central African Republic, Kenya, and Egypt top the list of culprits, but there are many other countries in Africa and Asia that practice Female Genital Mutilation including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and India. In the Maldives, mutilating women’s genitals – as part of a coming of age ritual – is legal and therefore sanctioned by the government.
 
For all the good intentions and funding aimed at eradicating diseases like malaria, cholera, and aid going to other important causes, I really can’t understand how we in 2019 can accept that so many millions of women are forced to go through female genital mutilation. As a human, a man and a father to a daughter, I feel ashamed on behalf of all the men in the world that inflict this on women. And I feel really sad that we literally shy away from this issue.
 
Ridding the planet from such a senseless, brutal practice should be priority number one for all humanitarian NGOs as well as the UN and WHO.
 And we should all boycott countries that openly allow this torture.
 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-singapore-fgm-asia-factbox-idUSKCN12D04E
 
https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/prevalence/en/

Kyoto’s Bamboo Forest

From the bamboo forest on the outskirts of Kyoto, Japan. I can’t put my finger on exactly why I’m so intrigued with the country, but I really love visiting Japan and hope to visit again sometime later this year. I suppose I say that about a lot of places, mostly because I’m constantly thinking about places I’ve been, some of which I wish to return to. Check out my collection of images from Tokyo/Kyoto here.


In action @taladnoi

Here’s a composite of two different images from the same afternoon in Bangkok. I had told photojournalist Thomas Engström and his wife Lena about a really funky area near Chinatown called Talad Noi that was literally filled with auto parts and invited them to join me on the tail end of a photo shoot I was doing there with a local model in a ballerina outfit.