sami rabie

Work Balance

When you do what I do, it’s almost ridiculously hard to maintain equilibrium. I’m just too intrigued by my creative process to draw the line – to know when to call it a day.  But the fact is, right now, I seem to have found just the right balance.

I’ve started training again and the subsequent endorphin boost I get after running 7k or more, is getting me through long hours of studio and location shooting.

It’s the end of yet another productive week with one TV commercial (TV4), a print folder, unveiling of my Turning Torso book and about a dozen or so other projects. Tomorrow, Charlotte and I are going to partake in the Midnight Run (10k) which starts about the same time as I usually head off to bed. Already looking forward to running next week while in New York for yet another gig. This time, at the Swedish Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

The picture above? Sami – the young son of Samer, my buddy and one of Malmö’s best chefs.

HSB Turning Torso book

NEW BOOK

So today we celebrated the beautiful sculpture that evolved into an amazing skyscraper; Turning Torso. Delicious birthday cake, a great jazzband, a few speeches and ten daredevil base jumpers that descended from the roof, helped wow about 250 guests during the party.

Completed ten years ago today, the festivities, held right outside the Turning Torso’s main entrance, also celebrated the courage that HSB (the premiere cooperative housing association in Sweden) showed when they commissioned the Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, to design it and then have the boldness to actually finance building it.

In late spring, I was assigned by HSB to produce a coffee table book about Turning Torso. The book, simply/aptly titled, “Turning Torso”, was unveiled today and contains, aside from exterior and interior images, several interviews and “home visits” with some of Turning Torso’s residential and commercial tenants.

The spanking new book is available at Galleri Västra Hamnen in the Turning Torso Gallery, right next to Turning Torso itself.

turning torso-malmo-sweden

Quadcopter perspective

I’m not entirely comfortable seeing one of my cameras fly out over the ocean, but thanks to my buddy, the skilful quadcopter pilot, Axel Pandolfi Elmi, I was pretty relaxed as I triggered the shots whilst looking through a pair of goggles.

NIKE+Runner

on the pavement

Bought new runners the other day. And since they need to be tried and tested prior to next week’s Midnight Run here in Malmö, I put them to the test for a 11k run this morning. I’ve always had a preference for Nike (Pegasus) when it comes to runners and Adidas (Stan Smith) for sneakers.

This morning’s run went surprisingly smooth and the weather conditions couldn’t have been better. Malmö is an ideal city to run in with plenty of parks and beautiful scenery. And since my knees don’t like running up or down stairs or hills, I’m extra appreciative of the fact that the city is pretty much flat as a pancake.

swimmer

Watershots

Started a new, three month assignment for a client Friday. I’ll be shooting multiple sports activities with several models of various ages and shapes – one of which was a former competitive swimmer (seen above). I shot with a few different lenses and for a few of the trickier takes, I used some lighting support. Most of my favorites were captured with a 400 mm lens from across the pool where the model was standing or swimming.

Elvis Presley ken wegas

THE KING (FROM HÖLLVIKEN)

I was way too young or ignorant to appreciate Elvis Presley while he lived. But I distinctly remember one of his devotees – a classmate (from Tennessee or Alabama) at Bancroft Junior High that had long, black sideburns, wore gem studded shirts with giant lapels and spoke with quite the twangy tongue.

When Elvis passed, I had already moved to Sweden and the distance likely made for a less dramatic impact than if I had still been living in L.A.

Aside from a few visits to Vegas, the closest I’ve ever been to “The King” was as recent as yesterday while filming two commercials for a client, the electric scooter company, Eloped. For one of the shoots, we hired an extraordinary fellow that brings Elvis back to life.

Swedish artist Kenneth “Ken Wegas” Wahlberg has nailed the mature and robust version of Elvis perfectly. He’s taller, fitter and fortunately, nowhere near as bloated as Elvis was during his final years.

Now, I won’t go as far as to say the resemblance between the two was eerily striking. But the similarities in charisma, coupled with the jet-black hair, thick sideburns, ever-so glittering jump suit (tailor-made according to Elvis’ own design) compensated far and beyond for all physical differences.

Before filming, Ken and I hit the studio for a superfast session – as seen above. He’ll also be showing up in at least two commercials that I’m producing within the next two weeks and come December, Mr Wahlberg is staring in a Christmas Show at Clarion Malmö Live here in Malmö. Info about Ken Wegas can be enjoyed here.


Morning bather II – Hubris

A short film conceived by my buddy, creative collaborator and acclaimed visual artist, Johan Carlsten. Filmed a few weeks ago during an early morning in Västra Hamnen, Malmö, Sweden.

Anna Eriksmo Tapestry

Anna E Tapestry

Basically, there are three main genres of photography: EDITORIAL (telling a story as objectively as possible = minimum of post production/enhancements), COMMERCIAL (suggesting a mood, selling a product or a service = lots of post production/alterations and enhancements) and FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY (more or less anything goes).

My work takes me – not entirely unlike a creative nomad – between all of the above. My FINE ART work is becoming increasingly important to me. But measured in time, I often have to sacrifice my personal projects for the commercial (bread winning) work. Which is okay. For now.

However, I am aiming to spend more time with projects that offer more creative longevity and longer-lasting fulfilment. And I’m pretty sure this is a natural progression for most creative folk.

First off, you’re just so friggin’ excited and curious – almost childishly enthused about all the genres, sub-genres and any creative challenge that gets thrown your way. Obviously, this provides a ton of experience, but can also wear you down – both physically and creatively.

I’ll likely never be a war photographer, work in pornography or venture into the depths of oceanic photography. But I do hope to eventually find time to focus more on less. To spend weeks or maybe even months on a single project – or, why not a single image!

As part of a creative exercise, I had the opportunity to photograph one of Sweden’s best Triathlon athletes, Anna Eriksmo a few weeks ago. We really took our time during the shoot, finding the right light, the right angle and the best lens and so forth.  I’ve since then gone slow whilst testing different approaches how to visualize the results of the project. The above image, ANNA E TAPESTRY,  is just one of several that will eventually find its way into the gallery.


Lillaro Café & Music

No summer is complete without a few visits to our favorite countryside café, Lillaro. The place is such a charm and decorated with just about anything imaginable. The food? Always great. Coffee? Freshly brewed, old school java – served in grandma’s porcelain cups and saucers. The smoked salmon open sandwich – seen in my film above – was amazing. Did I mention how friendly the couple that own Lillaro are? Well, they are. This place is the benchmark for all of our café visits. Lillaro Café & Musik are open on weekends throughout August.

Vejbystrand

The Skeptic in Vejbystrand

How I spent this afternoon? Mostly enjoying a long overdue re-listen to Paul Simon’s album, Graceland while taking in the immensely beautiful coastal landscape here in summery Vejbystrand.

I’m not much impressed by ponies. Sure, they’re cute. But the full grown Nordic beauties grazing on the meadow in front of us during the summer, get me to pull out my camera and take a few shots.

And with the help of a few organic carrots, this evening I managed to persuade both horses up from munching on the grass below into several interesting upright poses. This particular shot is titled, “The Skeptic”.


Samer’s Juicy Sliders

My buddy Samer and I spent an hour or so in the kitchen at Green the other day. While he cooked up his juicy sliders, I grabbed some footage with my iPhone. This could be the first of a series of food and music videos.

Midnattsloppet Malmö 2015

Malmö Midnight Run

It’s been said about me that I’m extremely competitive. I can see how friends would think that. However, I think they’re confusing my competitive nature with my obsession to achieve my goals – regardless of who’s on the playing field.

Fact is, I don’t really like to compete with others. Partly because I really, really hate losing. And partly because I have a hard time focusing on my objectives if I also have to consider that other folks are simultaneously trying to reach those very same goals. Truth be told, I’m way too busy competing with myself to have to play the psych-war that inevitably takes place during almost every kind of contest.

Having said that, I still signed up for the annual Malmö Midnight Run on August 15th. For no other reason (consciously, anyway) than to compete with myself – and keep Charlotte company during the 10k jog around Malmö.

Öresund Bridge

Delayed but welcome

Finally summer. Two months late. Nevertheless welcome. Dinner by the sea last night. Then down by the bridge. Swedes are incredibly adaptable. As soon as the heat gets turned up, off with the clothes and on with the smiles – as if all is forgiven and forgotten. Most people go back to work this week. I haven’t had a traditional vacation in…actually, ever. Once in a while, I’ll ponder what it would be like to spend two or three weeks without a camera, a computer and the Internet. That hasn’t happened in probably 15 years. Interesting to see how long time it would take me to adjust.


Tokyo on my mind

About 85% of the footage from this video was shot on iPhone 6 using a handheld gyroscope stabilized steadycam. I’m still amazed at how creatively versatile and commercially usable mobile phones (at least higher end models) have become.

Eloped

Eloped

Reboot after a short summer vacation yesterday with a full day shoot for Eloped, the electric scooter company based here in Malmö that I’ve worked with for a few years. Half day in the studio with three models, six scooters and a gazillion angles. Above: Rolf the Mechanic.

joakim lloyd raboff

A new year

Fifty two. A deck of cards. The B-52’s. The atomic number of Tellurium. 52 weeks in a year. The number of letters in the English alphabet.

Today’s birthday clearly signifies that I’ve got a pretty auspicious year ahead of me. Hopefully, it will also be one of the most creatively fulfilling and emotionally satisfying. Not that I really ever want or even expect to be completely satisfied with anything. That would probably be my demise. Stay hungry, as Steve Jobs so aptly put it.

I don’t make new year resolutions. But I will promise to try harder – during my fifty-third year – to focus on taking my life as an artist to a more spiritual level. Above all, I’m going to work harder than ever on choosing projects and setting goals that have long-term benefits for me and my family. Which means, I’ll be re-introducing the word “no” to my vernacular at an accelerated frequency. The vintage photo above was taking sometime during a voyage in my youth. I may have been 19 or 20 at the time and it was likely shot somewhere in the archipelago along the west coast of Sweden.


There and back: Riga

Just back from a full day in a warm and sunny Riga of Latvia. Primarily, I was there to oversee the results of the initial print run of a forthcoming book. Didn’t see much of the city, but what I did see, I found intriguing. Particularly the wide variety of architectural styles – spanning over several hundred years – including the more recent, dire, concrete post Soviet apartment blocks. In passing, I also got a glimpse of the controversial new public library, which, depending on your viewing angle, either looked like a gigantic cruise ship or an enormous parentheses. Either way, I can definitely understand why it has created a ruckus. Hope to return to Riga one day and explore more.

charlotte raboff

Charlotte in the Studio

It’s not that often, but once in a while, Charlotte asks me to take her portrait – usually for one of her commercial travel sites. This one is for www.airlinestaffrates.com which is entirely dedicated to providing professionals in the airline industry with sweet deals on hotels.


Vejby, baby!

Here’s a shorty I put together this afternoon.  A week in Vejbystrand is good for the soul. At least when the weather is favorable. Which it was the first couple of days. Then this unfathomably insistent storm set in and kept us indoors for five days and nights – as if it was October. Today, the wind finally calmed down and the sun graced us with some warmth.

Turning-Torso-Sunrise

Home Sweet Home

After an intense couple of weeks collecting visuals and impressions from first north east and then south east Asia, it was fantastic to find that it’s just about as warm (but thankfully, not nearly as humid) at home. Had an unusually long and strenuous flight from Bangkok via Oslo before finally landing late last evening at Copenhagen Airport. Slept 5 hours and woke rested and wide awake at 3:00 a.m. Got dressed, put together a camera kit and then rode my electric bike around Malmö to capture the day’s first rays of sun. What a contrast to Tokyo, Kyoto and Bangkok. So clean and tranquil. After my ride, Charlotte and I ran 7k and then went for a spine-chilling dip in the ocean.  The rest of the day was spent backing up roughly 75 gigabytes of images and video clips from the trip. Ended the day with a couple of flights with buddy Axel, an amazing quadcopter pilot.