lørdag 5. september 2015

It never rains around here...

...it just comes pouring down.
Old words from a piece of music from the eighties for sure, but they are still stuck in my mind. Strange how things seems to linger in your head just to suddenly pop up from nowhere like.
Another thing is that the words fit remarkably well just today. Not only today, of course, but more or less each and every day either I'm home in the western or north western part of Norway or if I'm at work somewhere Way Out West of there, which is right here where I am right now. There's a lot of rain, believe me! 
Anyway, that's what we got where I seem to like to stay. You may wonder why... I "blame" the people around me. Rain, wind and overall unpleasant conditions seem to do something good with people in general me thinks. 

A rainy day... but I like to take a snap when the sky got a bit more interresting look than just the bright and blue. This film was killed during processing, but sometimes that's just adding to the feel.  Boring snap with totally wrong composition, I know, but it sort of fitted the weather I thought.

More rain coming in. As it should... 

Any person would probably find that I'm a bit more than average interrested when it comes to photography. Not that I know a huge ammount about it, but I'm quite curious and want to learn more and you know all the bits. 
Then I get these downtimes. I don't know what it is, but it has something to do with the way I do things. Or the way I have decided to do things, to be more precise. The way I have decided to do my thing as opposed to how the average person next to me do his or her things.
I happen to like pictures where some manual work is evident in the final result. That's not mainstream these days, even though a lot of people will happily disagree and start a big discussion around this statement. I am talking about manual work as in getting your hands smelly and all. Manual work as in playing with cameras with a dodgy light meter, maybe some paper negative inside, or a pinhole camera thrown together in the basement just for testing... You know the story! That's what I like today, just as I did 40 years ago, and the reason why I got into this at all. 

A million opportunities to get a good snap, but also a million people around killing creativity...

I went to this fantastic park in Oslo this summer. Have been here before, and just needed to get back with some film to see if there was any good reasons to waste some of it. 
I more or less ended up watching tourists instead. They were all over the place all the time, and managed effectively to kill whatever spirit I had to go in there and do what I wanted to do. OK, I should have known better than go here in the middle of summer, so I can take that on board, but I must say that there's a few things I observed that made me think a bit further. 
Please do something drastic to me if I ever come to a point where I go to a foreign country far, far away with a few things on my list to see, before ending up with maybe one minute in front of the sight just to take the necessary photos on any phone, smile at the camera while holding the hand of any famous statue or whatever it may be I fancy to see, and then run away to the next thing on my list. 
Me and my wife just got totally knocked out by this, and found ourselves watching from outside ourselves for a while. The people we watched did this as a routine, on autopilot like. They knew exactly what they wanted to see, and what they wanted their picture to look like. When it was done, they just ran away to the bus to take them elsewhere. Not only two or three of them, but hundreds. 
Not one of them seemed to stop for a few seconds to take it all in, have a proper look, observe and take their time to have some kind of adventure or experience. 
People seem to travel more, and experience less these days. It's as they observe everything through some sort of screen, not being able to be there, breath the air. Stop for a few seconds and do some thinking.

I don't know what it's called, but it's beautiful work for sure

This park contains a total of 214 statues mostly made of granite, but also some bronze and other materials. Some of them quite big, a few is rather small. It's all a kind of a one-mans work of Gustav Vigeland. Even though he had workers to do the stone work itself, it was Gustav who modelled all the statues. According to Wikipedia the installations contains around 600 figures of people in total. The "Monolite" alone is 17 meters tall, and contain 121 figures of people. All the installations is spread across a quite big area.

The Monolite

One of many figures sitting around the "Monolite".
There's this bridge, in this park, just after passing the entrance. There's a lot of statues on the sides of the bridge, and one of them has become rather famous. It pictures a rather upset small boy, very angry dude for sure. This is the one these tourists want to see. They come in, walk straight to it, holds the hand of this furious little kid, smile and have their snap taken. Then they put away their smile and go to the bus and leave. That's their entire memory of it all... The left hand of this little boy is shiny bronze from all those tourists having touched it. Everything else made of bronze in this park is just greenish not polished typical bronze statues. I snapped a few snaps of these people, then sat down and had a deep discussion with myself and partly with my wife. 

No... it's not going to help melady! He's going to be just as furious next year... and the next!

No wonder the boy is angry?! It's probably just like this, all year around.

What was I actually thinking when I started to talk about this...? Well, it was the fact that I was thinking about different ways to take and process photographs and so on. A few do this, lots do it differently. And the people that does the different thing always ends up with the best shots. OK, it depends a bit what has been snapped, and how, but in general they seem to do. At least the different thing is what people seem to want today. Not questioning the fact that there's no manual work involved to get there. And can I blame them? Nope! Can I do anything about it? Nope, not much anyway. Do I care? Yes, and no. 
Most of the time I could not care less, then I have these moments... like today, when I started to think that 99% of the people this day in this park probably got home and had a quick look at their zillion snaps, and was very happy with maybe 95% of them. I got home, had duly snapped a couple of rolls, maybe around 70 pictures. Then the rolls lingered in my bag for a couple of weeks before I processed them, like I do, then carefully hang them to dry before I had a look through the scanner. Excitement... Then nothing much to jump in joy about, to be honest. Something killed something inside me on this beautiful day, and I blame it on the behaviour of a few people. 

I could also to some extent blame the new ways of doing photography, where some electronics are doing all the calculations and flickering the switches without anyone even notice it. All you have to do is aim roughly, and press a button. Then you got it... the moment frozen in time if everything goes well the next few centuries. And a good and proper snap it is as well. Most likely.

And I could blame the feeling of being put into a large group of all kinds of people with me in the middle, doing just the same as they do. Snapping away this way and that, all at the same things all in the same way. The only difference is what's inside our cameras, but that's not obvious to anyone in a place like that. 
Huge loads of people looking through their screens pointed in every imaginable direction but nowhere in particular, and there you are in the middle trying to think. Sometimes you got to think, at least I do, and to think I need some peace. 
This day all I could think of was the question "Who am I going to tell this story to...?" and I got no answer at all. It felt like they were all there, and that all of them did a way better job than myself as they ran around with their things snapping. 
It feels like the curse of photography, at times. They are all there, at the same time, and they all do their stuff a lot better than I can ever dream of.

I have been intrigued by this statue ever since I saw it the first time many years ago. Look at the joy in the face of the children, where everything else in the scene seems to me to be quite humiliating. There's a lot of faces and expressions around this place that suggests you stop and have a proper look at it all instead of just quickly look at one thing and fly away.

I know who's fault it all was, and I know who's head will need some adjustment. It's my own, and I have to do something about my weird ways of thinking. Or I probably should stop thinking about things I can do nothing about in situations like this one. 

But still something killed something inside me on this beautiful day, and I have decided to blame it on the behaviour of a few people.
The weather is probably too shiny and bright, and dry, wherever they come from...

2 kommentarer:

  1. Great post Roy. Very interesting park that in Olso - well worth a visit and some great shots there too (and also of the rain, which I like). Love the clouds (and framing) in the last photo. Interesting observations too - people are just moving too quickly these days, don't take time to think about very much at all (which you can do without moving - I think it was Aristotle who said something like that).

  2. Thanks Michael :) We should probably listen a bit more to Aristotle then... he used to be a wise man someone told me years ago.


Feel free to drop me a comment about anything, anytime