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Nominated: Publishing Prize 2017

My opera book, “We are Malmö Opera”, has been nominated for the 2017 Publishing Prize. On Monday, October 23, the esteemed jury will divulge the winner in the Coffee Table Book category in which the book is competing.

I sincerely think the book deserves to win because it focuses on hard-working, talented and passionate folks that don’t get nearly as much recognition as they ought to. In a perfect world, each curtain call would see the full production crew taking a bow or two.

If nothing else, I hope the book wins the hearts and minds of other photographers, journalists and publishers and inspires them to shed some light on other workplaces filled with unsung heroes.


Eyeconic

Thanks to my buddy and code warrior Yigit Telyakar, I’ve now got a much more mobile and tablet friendly way to showcase my photographic efforts. Check out the new “Eyeconic” category in the menu up top. The Jumbo Jet? Shot last year in an abandoned yard on the outskirts of the sprawling Asian city of angels, Bnngkok.


The Rose according to Q

Shot with the Leica Q’s macro mode which is easy to switch to via a short twist on the lens barrel. The ease of use makes the Q such a great go-to camera for those spur-of-the-moment shots. Whereas the iPhone would suffice, the Leica frame’s dynamic range and file size offer much more versaitility – should I eventually decide to incorporate a photo in a future montage.


Turning Torso Timelapse

A timelapse video I shot the other day from Sky High Meetings on the 53rd floor of the skyscraper Turning Torso in Malmö Sweden. The Turning Torso was designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava and is owned and operated by HSB Malmö.


Leica Q at La Boqueria

Not much of a candy eater these days, but the artificial coloring of this chewy confectionary at Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueriain market in the El Raval district of Barcelona was just too tempting not to get a shot of. Yes, I’m impressed with how versatile the Leica Q is. The sensor is super sensitive in lowlight conditions – which is great when you like me hesitate to push ISO beyond 100-200. I’ve shot a few times at ISO 3200 and if I didn’t have any alternative, I think I could make use of that setting too. Even more striking and noteworthy is how well the optical stabilization system performs at speeds that I’d previously never even consider working with.

Over the weekend in Spain, I shot quite a few frames of static objects at 1/30th of a second with perfect focus. There’s obviously some battery drain when using OIS, but I always carry plenty of extra batteries with me, so that’s not an issue. Focusing is fast too. Not as fast as my Canon 5Ds, but not that much slower. And at 10 frames per second, the Leica Q is actually twice as fast when shooting moving subjects.

I’m adjusting nicely to the 28 mm field of view. It’s an allround size that’s been great in Barcelona’s El Born neighborhood where there are mostly narrow alleys. As a first time Leica owner, I’m starting to understand some of the hype surrounding the brand. And I can definitely see how I could use the Q in professional circumstances.

Pissorama in Barcelona

Shot this earlier today. I thoroughly enjoy visiting Barcelona. It’s a city we even would consider living in someday. Still, I’m unfortunately often reminded of a less positive reality here; the thick, pungent stench of both fresh and vintage urine that permeates Barcelona’s streets, alleys and boulevards. Sure, you get used to it after a while. But it’s nonetheless a really bad habit males have here – locals and visitors alike. And surely a few dogs.


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?


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.


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.


Limoncello

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


Under the Storm

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. 


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.


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.


Today’s Wedding Anniversary

The 15 of August is special. Very special. It marks Charlotte’s and my wedding anniversary. We were married 19 years ago today at Brunnby Church between Arild’s chapel – where we got engaged exactly a year earlier – and where both Charlotte and our daughter Elle were baptized. Our wedding dinner was celebrated royally with about 100 good friends and relatives at Mölle by the Sea. A spectacularly joyous event, by any definition.

So here we are a year before celebrating our “Porcelain Anniversary. It’s long been clear to us how unique our relationship is. Fact is, we only have but a few friends who can honestly say the same about their marriage. Many seem to live together for convenience and seem almost to embrace every opportunity to quibble and fight.

Not that we haven’t seen our fair share of challenges along the way. But because our love grew out of genuine friendship and has always been based on respect for each other, we are able to shield ourselves from whatever obstacles life throws at us.

If you ask me, what characterizes our marriage most though, is that we always have fun together. That’s how it’s been since we met for the very first time back in 1996. In our lives, laughter is never far away, and although we don’t have the exact same sense of humor, we can always find common topics and situations that make us laugh hysterically. Fortunately, our amazing daughter Elle has inherited our ability to laugh at ourselves and the weird stuff that just seems to happen once in a while. That’s an magnificent inheritance, indeed.

Tonight, somewhere in Copenhagen, we’ll lift our Champagne glasses, smile at each other and rejoice for yet another great year together.


A Momentary Lapse of Time

Shot today, Sunday the 13th using an old iPhone 6s and my constant pocket companion, the ever-so versatile iPhone 7+.


Crayfish Commie Critters

Historically, I don’t think this has ever happened before. Probably won’t be a sequel, either. Consequentially, I’m feeling some physical fatigue after two back-to-back crayfish parties. Combined, Charlotte (pictured blurrely above) and I likely chewed and sucked my way through a hundred of them lil’ red Chinese and Turkish critters.


Form today’s FarEast 28R World Championships 2017

In da Woods

Shot this beautiful house last night sometime in between the third and fourth course of a fabulous dinner at Talldungen – a rural hotel just outside of Brösarp in Österlen, the that stretches along the eastern seaboard of Skåne County in southern Sweden. Talldungen will be part of an upcoming “Sweden Weekend Getaway” story.


The Motto

The other day I remembered that I’d once had a postcard sized framed text hanging just above the light switch in the bathroom of my old bachelor pad in Göteborg. It had a single statement that read,

“Never do nothing.”.

I can’t remember whether I coined that phrase – or just stole it. In any case, the three words worked well for me then – and I still try to live by them today.

The objective of hanging the motto was to remind me to stop avoiding challenges. It gave me a well-needed shout-out to take a driver’s seat approach to life and steer forcefully towards my goals – however lofty or banal they were.

The motto also inspired me to start making mental to-do lists and then consciously rank them in accordance with what I thought could be reasonably accomplished each day.

As a consequence, I started competing with myself. A habit I’ve continued with ever since.

Admittedly, at that stage of my life, in the mid 1980s, I certainly needed something to get me to stop procrastinating. Back then, I was dividing my days between painting canvases in my kitchen studio, working part-time as a substitute teacher in (Philosophy, English and Art) and spending weekends either working for or patronizing several of Göteborg’s most popular bars and restaurants.

It was both a creative period (in which I produced some 200 paintings), but also an undeniably self-destructive era where I indulged in way too much of pretty much everything.

I remember often feeling guilty for not working harder at my burgeoning career as a painter of abstract art and eventually taking the plunge to work full-time as an artist. And to make matters worse, the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle I led back then really took its toll on my ability to focus. There were just too many distractions and diversions. And because I’ve periodically had a hard time making decisions, I’d often end up doing absolutely nothing. Nothing meaningful, anyway.

I won’t go as far as to say that thanks to the framed motto, everything turned around for me. But it certainly helped remind me to never do nothing.


Rebecca Reflection

As I was working on this image, I was ever-so lightly reminded of David Hockney’s iconic painting, “Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool” which is part of a themed series from his very first visit to L.A in the 1960s. The model in my piece is Rebecca, a former elite level competitive swimmer. We spent a couple of hours in shooting in the pool at Kockum Fritid here in Malmö as part of a commercial assignment to document their various activities.


Quality of life

Earlier this morning, here in Västra Hamnen, Malmö. First a strengthening session at Kockum Fritid’s gym just a few hundred meters from our condo and then a dip in the chilly but refreshing Öresund Sound. Priceless quality of life.


Mini portrait: Anna Eriksmo

I shot this mini portrait with triathlon competitor, Anna Eriksmo a while back. This is a new and tighter edit of a lengthier version. Anna’s so amazingly focused at whatever she does.


The Organic Forecast