Silhouette Surfers Exhibit

New Exhibit: Silhouette Surfers

This Friday, May 5, my exhibit “Silhouette Surfers” opens at Clarion Hotel Sea U in Helsingborg. The vernissage is between 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and if you’re in the vicinity, I would love to see you there. My images will be shown at the hotel until June 30, in case you can’t make it.

Saint Walpurgis Night

This is what it looked like last night during the traditional Valborgsmässoafton bonfire celebration here in Västra Hamnen. I was expecting there to be some folks, but the turnout was surprisingly large.

Valborgsmässoafton is actually a German tradition and is celebrated in Germany and the Baltic nations as well. In German, Valborgsmässoafton is called Saint Walpurgis Night. Saint Walpurga was an 8th-century abbess in Francia hailed by the Christians of Germany for battling “pest, rabies, and whooping cough and witchcraft. In parts of Europe, like Sweden, people continue to light bonfires on Saint Walpurga’s Eve in order to ward off evil spirits and witches.

Leaving Sjomantorp

Leaving Stora Hult & Vejbystrand

Almost every summer for a quarter of a century, this is where Charlotte, Elle, and I chilled out for a few weeks with countless sunset-lit dinners, and visits to the harbor for swims and ice cream.

During the pandemic, we spent a lot of time here and provided the house with long overdue tender loving care. I also finally got around to producing a book filled with my favorite moments from Stora Hult and the village of Vejbystrand.

Soon, this chapter of our lives is coming to a close. Concurrently, a new one will begin. Where is yet to be decided.

While some get noticeably anxious and visibly nervous when things change, especially if they’re not in the driver’s seat, I typically experience emotionally charged situations like this to be an inspiring opportunity for something new and improved to come into my life.

Consequently and with the obvious exception of my childhood, there are very few chapters and decisions in my life that I feel remorse or regret about. Perhaps it’s my overly optimistic outlook or, that I subconsciously thrive on the drama that typically accompanies a life-changing rift.

In any case, it’s in a situation like this that I’m eternally grateful for having filmed and photographed so many of our cherished memories from Stora Hult and Vejbystrand. A few of these can be seen here.

Aerial Photography

Means to an End
With all the traveling I’ve done since my very first flight to Sweden in 1966 from Los Angeles to Göteborg, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume that I love flying. Truth is, I really don’t. I don’t hate flying, but the only time I feel totally relaxed during a long-haul fight is when I’ve been provided with the rare opportunity to sit in business class.

For some insane reason, I just feel safer flying in that part of the cabin than in “monkey class”. Hm. Maybe “safer” is the wrong word. It’s more like I’m reasoning along the lines of, if life as I know is about to end, I just prefer sitting comfortably with a few cocktails in me when it’s time to go.

The big picture above was taken by a pilot friend named Peter. I don’t remember if it was before or after one of our many flights over southern Sweden where I was so preoccupied with photographing from the claustrophobically tiny cockpit, that I totally forgot how little I enjoy flying.

I don’t remember ever feeling freaked out when flying in the Diamond Star (pictured behind me) out of Sturup or in any of the Cessnas or beat-up bush planes I’ve had the dubious privilege of flying in during trips to Africa and South East Asia.

When it comes to being couped up in those smaller aircraft, I suppose I’ve always been so focused on filling my memory cards with new photographs and footage that I totally ignored any aerophobia-induced anxiety that might have been lurking in the shadows of my mind at the time. Yeah, it’s the classic idiom that as long as there’s a means to an end, the potentially dangerous distraction will triumph over the angst.

Ina Anders Raboff

Letter to Mom

From my ongoing project, “Letters I Never Wrote nor Received”.

Dear Mom,
Today is your birthday and even if you passed away nearly 45 years ago, on the 26th of April, I still spend some time thinking about you. I’m not a huge believer in the whole heaven and earth spiel, but wherever you are, I hope you’ve found peace. And if you are at some kind of cosmic refuge and able to think about me from time to time, I thought I’d write to let you know that I’m doing ok.

In just a few months I’ll be 60. Who would have thought I’d reach that auspicious milestone, right? Tyko only made it to 36, but somehow I keep on truckin’ down life’s bumpy, twisty road.

Mom, in a way, your sudden death back in 1978 was a blessing in disguise. I don’t mean that frivolously or that I’m glad you died (well, not gleefully, anyway). What I mean is how the turn of events that followed upon your passing did lead me to a new and much-improved life. Most of which I’ve spent in your homeland Sweden. I’ve had a good life here and it’s a zillion times better than the substantially shittier one you put Tyko and me through before you croaked.

Your beautiful granddaughter Elle is doing really well. She’s going to be 23 in the fall and is studying at our local university, working part-time, and being amazingly creative. A kind soul. Too bad you never got to meet her.

In August, my wife and your daughter-in-law Charlotte and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. With Dad being married and divorced five times and you twice, I’ve clearly got this whole marriage thing down like you guys never did. Charlotte’s not just a wonderful woman, she’s also been a tireless supporter of me, a great friend, and a terrific mother to Elle.

The creative gene I got from you and Dad has turned out to be the only inheritance I’m thankful for. And now, after a long, and successful career as a writer, photographer, and filmmaker, I’ve returned to my roots as a painter and visual artist.

You know what? A couple of years ago, I spent some time in therapy figuring out stuff that I’ve apparently been suppressing for an unhealthy amount of time. My shrink and I spoke a lot about how you totally fucked up my childhood and how that mess is still lingering and impacting my life so many decades later. Yeah, it was cathartic to open that can of worms and yeah, I’m dealing with it. But I still can’t completely let you off the hook. No way, José.

A couple of summers ago, I visited the rural farm Moderud in Dalsland where you were born and raised. The new owners have renovated the place nicely and kept the same style and color scheme as when you lived there.

While I was looking at the farm with its small barn, main house, and tiny pond out in front, I realized something pretty profound. I realized that as a child, there must be some moments back in the 1930s and 1940s when you were a young, happy girl with a heart filled with innocent joy. Far from the angry, troubled lush I remember you as.

Being at your childhood home got me thinking about how courageous you must have been to leave that life and roll the dice in first London, New York and then L.A. Society is mostly focused on folks that succeed and doesn’t give any kudos for effort. Though I’m clearly still bitter from you destroying most of my childhood and contributing to Tyko’s pain and suffering, I have to give you a pinch of credit for taking on what must have been a monumental challenge for a young woman coming from the Swedish hinterland.

Anyway, I’ve spent more time writing this than you deserve. But since I fired my shrink (she started suggesting that we delve into some crazy-ass, hocus-pocus therapy crap), I’ll chalk up the time it took to write this letter to my annual mother-son, self-help therapy session.


Mölle by the Sea and 25 year wedding anniversary

Mölle & Sexagenarianism

This is the view of the harbor in the old coastal village Mölle-by-the-Sea, about an hour northwest of Malmö. Turns out that 2023 is the year of two significant milestones. 

Firstly, on August 15 1998, Charlotte and I were married at Brunnby Church, just a few clicks from Mölle. While I do remember fragments from the matrimonial ceremony, it was the dinner and party after the wedding that to this day fills my heart with joy and love. This is obviously highly subjective, but I have yet to experience a wedding party that’s come even remotely close to ours. There is also some sadness when I think about that evening as about a half dozen of our guests have since passed on.

The fact that Charlotte and I are already celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary (a silver jubilee, no less), is simply amazing!

The considerably harder anniversary for me to grasp is that in just a few months’ time, I’ll be 60 years old. A sexagenarian. No matter how I try to absorb this fact, the more abstract the “anniversary” becomes. I just can’t relate. Thankfully (he says with ill-concealed sadistic pleasure), I have a lot of friends that also turn 60 this year. Pain shared is pain divided, I suppose.

I wonder what it’s going to feel like when we all turn septuagenarians (70-79).

Surf Film by Joakim Lloyd Raboff

Surf Film in the Works

As long as I have some way to express my creativity during the day, I’m usually a happy camper. At my age and with the breadth of stuff I’ve worked with over the years, including writing, photography, film, and design, I have a lot of ways to satisfy this need. I find it interesting how I was able to be “away” from painting for so long. I mean, even if I often used to spend hours upon hours creating in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign, none of these apps provide anywhere near the creative satisfaction I get when I’m in front of a canvas applying (or removing) paint and seeing when both planned and spontaneous ideas take physical shape.

Today, I’m working on assembling a collection of surf scenes from beaches in southern California, western Costa Rica, and Portugal’s north coast.

Cherry Tree Blooming

Cherry Tree Blooming

Yep, it’s that time of year again. Spring never arrives casually in southern Sweden. It literally breaks out from one week to the next. A kind follower from this page let me know the other day about the courtyard where she lives and how beautiful the cherry trees are right now. I went over there today and the delicate pink and white blossoms certainly create a stunning, almost surreal sight for these winter-worn eyes.

While genuinely appreciated here in Scandinavia, cherry tree blooming is a really important cultural event in Japan, where it is known as Hanami. People gather under the blooming trees to celebrate the arrival of spring, and to enjoy picnics and parties with friends and family. A few years back, Charlotte, Elle, and I celebrated Hanami in Tokyo. It was nothing short of amazing!

In addition to their obvious aesthetic and aromatic appeal, cherry blossoms have symbolic significance in Japanese culture. They are seen as a metaphor for the fleeting nature of life, as the blossoms only last for a short time before falling to the ground. Cherry blossoms also represent renewal and the beauty of new beginnings.

In the United States, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is held annually in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the gift of cherry blossom trees from Japan to the United States in 1912.

Sold paining by Joakim Lloyd Raboff called "Build to Last"

Sold: “Built to Last”

A couple of years ago, I was invited to document the factory environments at Kockums Fabriker, a slew of enormous manufacturing and assembling buildings just a few hundred meters from where we live in Malmö.

Of all the scenes I captured during my three days walking around in those abandoned industrial spaces, this, piece, which was printed on a scale of 1-to-1 and aptly titled “Built to Last”, is by far my favorite.

The other day, a couple came by the gallery and bought it.

Through their purchase, the couple obviously shares my appeal for the motif and its history, which as an artist is by far the most important form of recognition.



Walked by this utility station the other day. Regular readers will know that I am always on the lookout for these stations, wherever I happen to be in the world. As far as I can remember, it’s the only original, old-school utility station that I’ve ever seen in over 25 years of living in Malmö. I love the design and above all, the old logo relief on top and on the manhole below.

There was no posting on it, and therefore only interesting as a relic of Televerket, the precursor of today’s Telia, Sweden’s partially state-owned telecom company. When I moved to Sweden in 1978, Televerket was a monopoly and omnipresent in society. With a fleet of bright orange vans and an army of orange-clad technicians, there was no shortage of critique and jokes about Televerket’s notoriously bad customer service which some would argue is only marginally better today. To a degree, I think the monopolistic mentality is still alive and kicking.

Here’s a little Televerket-to-Telia background (courtesy of ChatGPT):

Televerket was a Swedish telecommunications company that was in operation from 1853 to 1993. It was established as a government agency and was responsible for managing all aspects of Sweden’s telecommunications infrastructure, including telegraphs, telephones, and radio communications. In the 1980s, Televerket began to face competition from other telecom companies, and in 1993 it was restructured and transformed into the modern telecommunications company Telia. Today, Telia is one of the largest telecom companies in the Nordic region, providing a wide range of services including mobile and fixed-line telephony, broadband internet, and digital TV.

watching over Napoli

A Watchful Eye over Napoli

Everywhere I travel, I hope that when I leave, I’ll take with me a moment or a scene that in some way represents the core soul of the place. The humanity. The vibrancy or tranquility of life as it plays out there and then.

The image above of an elderly woman casually watching over her street in the Naples neighborhood Quartieri Spagnoli is just that. A friend pointed out how well-kept the front door is when compared to the rest of the building.

But look at her face. Disgruntled? Curious? Or, just tired? Maybe a combo of all 3. In any case, this street scene was what I was hoping to be lucky enough to take with me from Napoli during our visit to Italy last week.

A moment. A slice of life. A glimpse of everyday mundanity. What a privilege for me to have both seen it and to have had the wherewithal to take notice and capture it.

I’ve collected my visual impressions from our most recent trip to Italy here, here and here.


Clip of Re:Surfaced in Napoli

Shot this short video for the Re:surfaced art project while we were in Napoli. It’s an excellent example of a surface I fortuitously stumbled upon while walking down a busy market street somewhere near the city’s train station.

Resurfaced artifact from Naples, Italy

Re:Surfaced Napoli

Maybe it’s because “Naples” sounds too much like “Nipples” or, that there’s a Naples in Florida, a state I’ve visited a few times and which is currently going through some weird political stuff. In any case, I much prefer calling the southern Italian city Napoli, where the above  Re:Surfaced artifact was captured.

Detoxing from eating too much Pizza and Pasta in Italy

Detox: Italian Cuisine

Home again after three wonderfully intense days in Napoli and two on the island of Ischia. After indulging in way too much pizza and pasta, I am now swollen, inflated, and in desperate need of a dietary detox.

Returning home to our giant bed, which cushy comfort no hotel bed comes even close to, is always something to look forward to. Especially after flying with no-frills Ryan Air.

castello aragonese ischia

Castello Aragonese Ischia

Charlotte and I are currently working on a travel story on the island of Ischia in the Bay of Napoli. The above photos depict Castello Aragonese d’Ischia, an ancient castle that was originally built some 25oo years ago. That’s a mind-bogglingly long time ago. Even for this country.

My very first visit to Italy was in 1983 during a month-long Inter Rail tour of Europe. It started with a few hours in Ventimiglia, three or four days in Rome, and before heading to Corfu on a night ferry across the Adriatic Sea (when I slept on the top deck next to four Danish gals and two guys from Canada), I spent a day in sleepy Brindisi.

In the forty years since, I’ve been fortunate to have experienced Venice, Siena, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Sorento, Florence, Capri, and now Napoli and Ischia.

It just struck me that aside from Sweden, there is no other European country I’ve visited more or as often.

So, I asked myself why and came up with a few, reasonable answers.

• How could I not fall in love with the country that “invented” pizza, pasta, and parmesan?
• How can I not appreciate a country with a language so beautiful and full of drama that even when spoken casually, it sounds like an opera (or, a spaghetti western)?
• How can I not admire a country with such a rich, colorful history spanning at least two millennia and with a reach as far south as Egypt, as far west as Portugal, as far north as Britain, and as far east as Turkey?

• How could I possibly not be in awe of a country with so many world-class artists, designers, and architects?

• How could I not adore a country that has had close to 70 different governments in less than 8 decades, an average of one every 1.11 years?
Italy is certainly the gift that just keeps on giving.
My hotel room view in Napoli, Italy early April 6, 2023.

Napoli Morning

Here’s the view from our hotel room this morning. Charlotte and I are back in Italy for what I believe is the 8th or 9th time. We’ve were in Sorento and along the Amalfi Coast a few years ago, but this is our very first visit to Napoli.

We spent about half of yesterday exploring the city’s colorful, gritty and surprisingly hilly streets. It took only a few minutes to realize how much more alive and kicking Napoli is when compared to Florence where there seem to be only tourists and no locals.

We then took a local train to Pompeii, the fascinating, 2000 year old Roman city that was buried under ashes when Mount Vesuvius erupted, killing approximately 1150 people.

Before heading back to the hotel to rest our tired feet and legs (after 30k steps), we enjoyed an absolutely terrific dinner at a whimsical ristorante called Signora Bettola on via Medina.

My Travel Addiction

ChatGPT: My Travel Addiction

I just asked ChatGPT this question: Why is traveling so enjoyable and inspiring? While not the most poetically written prose I’ve ever read, the chat bot’s response was nonetheless accurate and relevant:

Traveling is enjoyable and inspiring for many reasons, as it offers a unique opportunity to explore new places, learn about different cultures, and gain a broader perspective on life. 

Here are some of the key reasons why traveling is so enjoyable and inspiring:

• Traveling offers a break from the daily routine, which can be monotonous and tiring. It offers a chance to escape the mundane and explore something new and exciting.

• It challenges us to step out of our comfort zones, try new things, and learn new skills. This can be empowering and inspiring, as it helps us grow and develop as individuals.

• A trip can generate lasting memories that we can look back on and cherish for a lifetime. Whether it’s watching a sunset over the ocean or hiking to a remote mountain peak, these experiences stay with us and shape who we are.

• Traveling allows us to learn about different cultures, customs, and ways of life. This can broaden our perspective and help us appreciate diversity and inclusivity.

• Traveling can inspire creativity by exposing us to new sights, sounds, and experiences. This can be particularly helpful for artists, writers, and musicians looking for inspiration.

• Traveling offers a sense of freedom and independence that is hard to replicate in everyday life. It allows us to choose our own path, meet new people, and explore the world on our terms.

Re:surfaced: Stockholm

Re:surfaced from Stockholm

Not until yesterday did it strike me that my Fuji x100v had not been emptied of the resurfaced pieces I’d captured while Elle and I was in Stockholm the other week. Here’s one of four keepers.

Stora Hult i Vejbystramd

The Weekend: Vejbystrand & Art

It’s been an intense weekend to say the least. I spent the better part of today (Sunday) in the studio painting, sketching and thinking. We spent most of yesterday in Vejbystrand where we enjoyed spectacularly beautiful spring weather. The drone view above is from May 2021.

Euphoria abstract art

New Abstract Artwork: Euphoria

The other day, a woman walked into my Pop Up gallery. We spoke for about an hour about this and that and eventually touched upon the subject of my abstract art which she admitted feeling confused by. I did my best to explain my perspective and why the genre is so important on a cultural level. I’ve summed up some thoughts about this divisive art genre below.

Abstract art has had tremendous historical and cultural significance since it emerged as a major artistic movement in the early 20th century, during a time of enormous social, cultural, and intellectual change. The genesis of abstract art was closely linked to broader cultural and philosophical movements such as modernism, existentialism, and the search for new forms of expression in the wake of World War I.

Ok. But what is abstract art?

Fundamentally, non-figurative or abstract art does not necessarily attempt to represent the external reality of objects or subjects through recognizable forms, shapes, or figures. Instead, abstract art can use colors, shapes, lines, and other non-representational elements to create a unique visual language that is independent of any references based on any known “reality”.

In other words, abstract art is not concerned with depicting objects or people as they appear in the real world, but rather with creating visual experiences that exist in their own right. This type of art often emphasizes the use of color, texture, and form to convey emotions, ideas, or concepts that are not necessarily tied to anything in the physical world.

To me, one of the primary appeals of abstract art lies in its ability to evoke a range of emotional and intellectual responses from viewers. Because it does not rely on recognizable forms or subject matter, abstract art is open to interpretation and invites onlookers to engage with it on an intuitive level. This allows for a more personal and subjective experience of the artwork, as different viewers may have different reactions and associations with the same piece. So, as with the aforementioned visitor to the gallery the other day, confusion is a perfectly acceptable reaction.