27 April 2024
I've been thinking about introversion lately, prompted by some reading I've done online. Nothing eye-opening, as I'm obviously familiar with the subject. And yet I felt that everything in my life seemed to come closer together from this perspective. From my relationships with people to leaving journalism school, from the development of my non-existent career to the way I go about my daily life, and what I need from it. There is a kind of beauty in the consistency with which every aspect can be traced back to the way the introverted brain works and how it’s wired.

Unrelated: The first interior shots with the 24mm. Olympus OM-1 + Kodak Ultramax 400. The Sonneveld interior is a sort of testing ground for me to try and compare new film rolls, lenses and whatnot. 

29 February 2024

Only now do I feel that the person I’ve been talking to and confiding in for over a decade, and the person who occasionally sits next to me on a rock, have fully merged into one solid entity/identity.

Until, I suppose, we eventually relapse into our ones and zeros personas.
Around Bergen, Norway, 26 February 2024.

21 October, 2023

Scotland, 2023. Kodak Portra 400. Some more film photos here
It's not unreasonable to assume that 2023 won't go down as my most productive or inspired year ever. On the other hand, fiddling with rolls of film and a 50-year-old camera is easily the best thing I've done in a long time. Not because it makes me take better pictures, because it doesn’t. What I appreciate most is the unpredictability of the results (which says enough about my poor mastery of the equipment). The counterbalance to disappointment is the surprise I rarely feel anymore with digital. What the light does to the colours, a kind of softness in the greens, the hues of a reflection or a shadow, a distance to reality as I perceived it. 

In Scotland I have been a little sloppy at times, being used, perhaps, to the indulgence of digital raw files. Taking a photo with the film camera requires more concentration and time than I seem to have allowed myself.  The number of shots is limited, it has a prime lens, depth of field is more of an issue (the Z6 files are pretty much in focus everywhere, even if you don’t want them to be), and of course focusing is manual. So yes, some of them are genuinely awkward. It's not that I cherish these flaws out of some misplaced sense of nostalgia or because operating this camera sometimes feels like playing with a toy camera. No, they make me want to do better – and still be surprised.

14 August, 2023

I haven’t taken a single picture since I photographed the garden, and I haven’t shot more than four rolls of film with the new camera so far. There’s nothing left on the hard drive that is worth editing. I wish I felt an eagerness to go out and take photos, but I don’t. I’m out of ideas and inspiration, out of energy, despite a vague, undefined desire to create something.

I don’t follow anything closely on social media. I’ve lost most of my interest in what other people put online, and I hardly post anything myself. And when I do, I don’t really care what happens to it.

I haven’t spoken to T. for a while now. It’s not unusual that I don’t hear from him for a longer period of time, what is unusual, is that he doesn’t hear from me either. 

None of these things are directly related to each other, but it’s also no coincidence that they happen more or less at the same time. It’s like each one is dragging the others down with it. I started all this a good ten years ago. Perhaps they all came with roughly the same expiration date. It’s not as sad as it sounds though, or at least I’m not feeling sad about it. Not too much anyway. I trust that at some point I will pick up the camera again. I tell myself that I’m using this hiatus to think about what I want to do, about new things to try or places to go, but actually I’m not. Regardless, I know it’s going to be okay. Perhaps in a somewhat different context, without all the sharing and the conversations. I’d miss that I’m sure, but it’s a sort of natural, inevitable course of events that I’ve seen coming for a long time.

From Mallaig to Rùm, Scotland, 2013.  Coming back here hopefully means taking a break from my hiatus.

The questionnaire
10 August, 2023

When I was fourteen, fifteen, I used to spend my pocket money on British magazines like Smash Hits, Just Seventeen, I-D, The Face, etc. Some of them had a section where celebrities or just passers by were asked about the last book they had read, what they were wearing, their favourite movie or band, things they loved, liked or hated. Similarily, I made my own lists to fill out. The first conscious act of trying to define myself, and see myself in the light of others. Not only was filling in a simple questionnaire enough to provide a sense of self, it was also quite satisfying to see it in writing. The lists became a daily journal, recording the mundane events in the life of a teenager who never quite fit in. I kept this journal until much later, when the need to write had faded away for no particular reason. But the need for a story remained. I think everyone needs a story about themselves. To tell others, but mostly to oneself. And the journal became a narrative, a life boiled down to a few dominating storylines. I never liked my narrative as much as I liked my lists, or the person that emerged from it. And now, in my mid-fifties, I feel that I’m better off without one. A narrative has a tendency to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s hard to escape from ideas that you keep telling yourself over and over again, and that you use to explain your life. That may have served a purpose, call it self-insight, but more often than not it feels like a burden. These worn-out ideas, not untrue I’m sure, are unproductive, and their explanatory power is no longer wanted.

And now I feel I should make a clever crossover to photography, since that’s what this blog is about after all, but there isn’t one. Adding a self-portrait feels appropriate though. It’s not much of a stretch to see self-portraiture as just another way of recording one’s self, but I feel that my half hearted efforts in the field are more about the challenge of exposing myself, of being seen. It's fair to say that I don’t do self-portraiture, I never know how to pull it off, and I find the whole process somewhat saddening. So there’s the occasional snapshot, without thinking much, not planning anything, seizing the moment. In this case: in a hotel room in Dax, France, on a warm summer morning in 2022, while waiting for my turn in the showers.