Some time ago I was challenged by fellow Nordic X-Photographer Palle Schultz to post my 10 best pictures of the year on Facebook, which you can see here if you have an account. I’ve never done a year-end recap before this, but finding those pictures brought back some key moments from my year that I would like to share.
This comes to you by location, because my perception of time is tied to where I am.
Perth, Western Australia
I loathe gardening, so making pictures of plants wasn’t something I ever saw myself doing.
I’d returned to Perth in February 2015, with the intention of going back to corporate life, convinced that my sabbatical experiment of living on the road was over: I was dead broke, so there was clearly no way to sustain such a life.
I arrived in the glass and steel behemoth that was the Matrix on my first day back, in what my mother would call funeral clothing – white shirt and black trousers – every cell in my body screaming “run away.” So I marched through the security gates and up into state of the art office floors flooded with sunshine and promises of wealth.
Out of this environment, I went for walks in the bushland reserve near the my friend Nicole’s place (a.k.a. home). The sweetness of the Australian bush was an effective salve for the shock, and forced me to look at things around me in detail. Crawling around to examine the texture of leaf, petal and branch was a much needed meditation that dragged me outside the walls and reminded me that the rest of the world was still real. Around this time, I received my X-T1 from the good people at Fuji Nordic, so it was also a novel way (for me) of getting to know a new camera.
I lasted all of a month back in the corporate machine – I’m not sure that it and I ever fit, but where I once tried to belong, I didn’t want to anymore.
So far, Flemming and I are scraping enough work together between photography, video and website making, that I’ve been able to continue freelancing so far. I’m hoping that it will continue for a very long time to come.
On my last day of what must surely have been the plushest offices in all of Perth, I asked my friend Audrey, who was also working there at the time:
“Hey, I want to make a tiny movie about you and the Mustang to celebrate. How about it?”
Editing is still in progress. One day, I’ll finish it, and you can watch a small film about why Audrey restored a 40 year old car.
4 months after I came back to Perth, I left again. But not before managing to pull another Fuji product promo project off.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember I made a video ad and stills for the new X-T10 when it came out. If you haven’t, all the details in their glorious grit are here, and a followup using the X-T10 for event shooting here.
I remain charmed by little details in plants, and am persisting with this series. Find it here, if you’d like to have a look.
(Props to Håkan Lindgren for once mentioning that plants looked scary up close. It gave me a whole new way of coming to this project I probably would not have had otherwise.)
I’ve been in and out of Singapore frequently since my Dad died in 2013. Coming back was a shock to the system in too many ways to write about here, but it’s taken 2 years to readjust to losing a parent, a reorganized family and this society. All difficult relationships, but as much as I angst about them in the moment, they are threads of my life that give it their particular richness.
I have family in Malaysia. This means I never visited for pleasure, until one weekend in January with Flemming and my Mum. Flemming and I later returned for a month on our own.
This was the first travelling I’d done for discovery, not work, since my father died; a gentle step back into my travelling shoes.
I’ve been in Copenhagen every summer since 2013. It’s a bit of a charmed place for me, being the hometown of the one I love, and also my first encounter with Europe (fabled lands I never thought I’d see. Also, I’ve waited all my life to see a real live castle), and thus always cloaked in some kind of glamour that made it impossible to shoot.
This was the year I saw more of Denmark, with my own eyes.
This has also been the year I joined the Fujifilm Nordic family as an X-Photographer.
Ib Thordal and Karl Löweberg, your support is uncommon in its strength and steadfastness. Thank you so much.
Two special people that make Hannover, Germany, a wonderful place.
Having gotten my head around being back on the move, Flemming and I ventured a little further afield to Colombo. We rode a lot of trains there, among other things, tales of which are to come.
Hånd i hånd
No post about adversity, achievement, discovery and Denmark can be made without mentioning the one who teaches me to walk gently through it all, and makes the journey with me.
And because no one says it like Neil Gaiman does, here it is from the master himself:
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.