Monday, March 31, 2008

Conversation with Sigmund Freud

Image: Jasper Johns

Chicago O’Hare airport, B Terminal, United Airways waiting area.

tm: “Mr. Freud?”

sf: “Yes, do I know you?”

tm: “Well, not directly but I have recognised your face from your book covers.”

sf: “Aha, so I still look like I used to.”

tm: “What are you doing in the USA?”

sf: “I am doing some research for a new book that I intend to write.”

tm: “That sounds incredibly interesting… You would not want to elaborate, would you?”

sf: “It is early days and I usually do not share my thoughts with complete strangers whom I meet at the airport.”

tm: “I understand… but you wouldn’t give me some hints while we are stuck here at this waiting area?”

sf: “Alright, if you must know… I am doing some research on the difference between Europeans and Americans…”

tm: “That sounds like you have cut out some work for yourself that should keep you busy for a while. What did you get interested in this subject?”

sf: “Self interest… ultimately it has to do with my profession…”

tm: “How so?”

sf: “Well, my central hypothesis is that Europeans have friends to talk things through when times get rough, whereas Americans rely on their psycho therapists for that. That’s why in general Americans appear much more cheerful, albeit superficial when talking to their friends… And maybe their friendships are lacking in depth sometimes… Haven’t you noticed that things are always ‘awesome’ and positive when you hear them talking about their lives?”

tm: “Now that you say so, I can see you might have a point.”

sf: “In Europe, people are complaining about their perceived miserable lives and - they are complaining openly to their friends…”

tm: “…and you think that makes Europeans more personable?”

sf: “At least to their friends… and that might make friendships between Europeans a bit deeper if fraught with a lot of fraction points, and spectacular fall-outs if things go wrong.”

tm: “Accordingly you think that Americans are less open when talking about their problems with their friends?”

sf: “That’s at least my hypothesis. That is maybe also the reason why Americans are less fuzzed when friendships disappear.”

tm: “So if your hypothesis is correct, which ‘friendship model’ - if I can call it that - would you prefer?”

sf: “I am neutral as to that… my research is purely factual not judgemental… from a narrow professional point of view, remember that I am a psycho therapist myself, I obviously prefer the American model…”

tm: “So where are you off to now exactly?”

sf: “Los Angeles, then off to Beverly Hills to set up my practice as a psycho therapist… If my thesis is correct, this should prove fertile ground… and, I need to make some money before I retire…”

(This piece of complete fiction borrows heavily from a conversation I had with a close [European] friend who lives in the States).

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hollow Man (REM)

I've been lost inside my head,
Echoes fall off me.
I took the prize last night for complicatedness
For saying things I didn't mean and don't believe.

Believe in me, believe in nothing
Corner me and make me something
I've become the hollow man,
Have I become the hollow man I see?

Mmm I see...This echoing.

You have placed your trust in me.
I went upside-down.
I emptied out the room in thirty seconds flat,
I can't believe you held your ground.

Believe in me, believe in nothing
Corner me and make me something
I've become the hollow man,
Have I become the hollow man I see?

I'm overwhelmed, I'm on repeat,
I'm emptied out, I'm incomplete.
You trusted me, I want to show you
I don't want to be the hollow man.

Believe in me, believe in nothing
Corner me and make me something
I've become the hollow man,
Have I become the hollow man I see?
I see...

(REM: Buck/Mills/Stipe)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Past and Present...

“…You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday dont count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothing else. You might think you could run away and change your name and I dont know what all. Start over. And then one mornin you wake up and look at the ceilin and guess who’s layin there?”

Cormac McCarthy: No Country for Old Men

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Looking for... Elvis :-)

I was looking for hookers but all I could find was Elvis...

- come to think about it, the line would probably make for good song lyrics...

Monday, March 17, 2008

One year later...



Saturday, March 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Coco & Jonas (and Frans :-)

Back in Seattle...

After almost a year, I am back in Seattle now to continue on the ‘gay dads’ story and to be at the twins’ first birthday party later today…

While Ms Coco is happy to pose for pictures (Heidi Klum here she comes…)…

...Mr Jonas is not at ease with the camera…

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The beauty of Polaroid...

I was relieved to learn today that Polaroid will not discontinue all film by the end of the year.. they will continue to produce my beloved 690 instant film...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Der Spiegel

Zu eines wassers blumenlosem tiegel 

Muss ich nach jeder meiner fahrten wanken. 

Schon immer führte ich zu diesem spiegel 

All meine träume wünsche und gedanken 

Auf dass sie endlich sich darin erkennten - 

Sie aber sahen stets sich blass und nächtig:
Wir sind es nicht‹ so sprachen sie bedächtig 

Und weinten wenn sie sich vom spiegel trennten.

Auf einmal fühlt ich durch die bitternisse 

Und alter schatten schmerzliches vermodern 

Das glück in vollem glanze mich umschweben. 

Mir däuchte dass sein arm mich trunknen wiegte.. 

Dass ich den stern von seinem haupte risse 

Und dann gelöst mich ihm zu füssen schmiegte. 

Ich habe endlich ganz in wildem lodern 

Emporgeglüht und ganz mich hingegeben.

Ihr träume wünsche kommt jetzt froh zum teiche! 

Wie ihr euch tief hinab zum spiegel bücket! 

Ihr glaubt nicht dass das bild euch endlich gleiche? 

Ist er vielleicht gefurcht von welker pflanze.. 

Gestört von späten jahres wolkentanze? 

Wie ihr euch ängstlich aneinander drücket! 

Ihr weint nicht mehr doch sagt ihr trüb und schlicht 

Wie sonst: ›wir sind es nicht! wir sind es nicht!‹

(Stefan George)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Chien-Chi Chang

Magnum photographer Chien-Chi Chang presented his work yesterday in the course of the photo festival here in Oslo... Apart from having a very impressive body of work, Chien-Chi is incredibly funny.... He was asked how he knows when a project is completed... His answer: "... you know, it is like going to the bathroom".


Omlott paras löven längs långa gatan
äppelröda i jackans fickor

kastanjer bär sina hjärtblad som vägkost
nerblåser mot kyrkportar och grusgångar
så lätt de rör sig bort ur minnet

vad man bär på anteckans nu
skrivet med en lutning

löv och trohet
löv och tålamod
löv och neutrala dagar.

(Marita Ekblad)

Magnum workshop with Paolo Pellegrin

I had the great pleasure this week to be in an inspiring workshop with Paolo Pellegrin in the course of a Magnum workshop series in Oslo… Also, half of the Magnum royalty (inter alia, Chris Anderson, Richard Kalvar, David Alan Harvey, Jonas Bendiksen, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Chris Steele-Perkins, Alex Webb and Chien-Chi Chang) was here to give presentations in the evenings… I was always a big fan of Paolo’s work… now I am even more so… He is not only an immensely gifted photographer and artist but also a warm, compassionate and very thoughtful human being… He took a lot of time to look at my work and made some very helpful comments on how to take it to the next level… And I have started a long-term project here in Oslo, which I want to pursue further over the next few years… Now I have to work on this and deliver… The pressure is on…

Here are some of the other things that Paolo said (I am paraphrasing, these are not necessarily verbatim quotes):

“…Photography is ultimately about yourself in relation to others… this is the same motivation where great paintings, music, writing come from… It is also an interpretation in visual terms of your relationship to a place, situation, people…”

“…in order to be able to produce great photography, it is important to get rid of one’s boundaries and react instinctively to one’s environment… you have to bypass your mental controls and react instinctively, to a point where you don’t seek control anymore and let go of pre-conceived ideas of the subject matter and rules of composition…”

“…Photography is useful in creating evidence; a visual record for future generations... despite its many problems and difficulties, photography contains elements of truth/reality… and manifests itself as this micro exchange between you and a subject…”

“…Ultimately it is important to find your own photographic voice… but as much as you try some might never get there… I have seen this repeatedly with very talented photographers.”