On Loving, Preemptively

Charlene journal

Singapore Today, I am officially a staff member of Preemptive Love Coalition!  Preemptive Love and I have been talking about this for a while now, with my recent month in Kurdistan being a part of that conversation. It’s great to finally be able to say it 🙂 I’ll be photographing, writing and making video as a part of the Communications team in Iraq. All of my work will be about, and for, the people we serve in the region. I write this at the end of my first work day. I’m still in Singapore, working remotely while waiting to head over. Today’s been about catching up with my team on video chat, and getting into the flow of how we speak about the lives of the …

It’s 2019!

Charlene journal

New year’s eve in Copenhagen was watching people setting off fireworks in the streets, with the Jensen clan, from the safety of Vibeke’s balconey. It’s legal for people to buy fireworks in Denmark. I hear they’ve spent a billion kroner doing just that, this year. There are safety issues, of course, and more than a few horrible accidents that happen. But it’s hard not to get caught up in the mad anarchy of it all when the clock hits 12, and a new year is rung in. Happy New Year folks. Here’s to the possibilities of a fresh year.

Stockholm: My Fuji family

Charlene journal

This is a rejigged Instagram post What makes Stockholm – that astoundingly beautiful city – extra special is the people that Flemming and I get to see. Fujifilm Nordic is headquartered here, so when we’re in town, we get to catch up with our Fujifilm family. All of us – the good Fuji Nordic folks, fellow X-Photographers Knut and Mia – met at Fotografiska this time, at that wonderful restaurant with the epic view at its top level. There was talk of pirate eye patches, getting your teeth industrially checked at the Eastman Dental Institute (never knew Kodak and teeth were a thing), Swedish crayfish parties, and Instax cameras. Against the mad vista of Stockholm at dusk, very fine food, and a decent amount of …

Stockholm, December 2018

Charlene journal

I know what you’re all thinking: 2 posts in as many days. Is she on drugs?! No, no she’s not. She’s just been busy with stuff. Christmas, you know, and other absorbing things like procrastination. So, Stockholm, again, earlier this month. When Flemming and I left after our few days there in April, we both agreed that more time would have to be spent in this beautiful city. Turns out, he’s almost as taken with it as I am… I say “almost” because he doesn’t read fantasy and therefore doesn’t walk around looking for dragons and other imaginary creatures in likely spaces. That kind of thing just makes any experience better, if you ask me. But I digress. Meant to do a few more touristy …

Stockholm, April 2018

Charlene journal

I visited Stockholm for an afternoon, three years ago, to give a presentation at the Fujifilm Nordic office. I had an hour in between activities to walk around. Before I set foot in Stockholm, the only things I knew about the city were It’s the capital of Sweden Fujifilm Nordic is headquartered there (and yes, we visited with the great folks who look after us photographically) I had no idea about anything else, beyond a few photos I’d seen on Instagram. I figured it would be something like Copenhagen, just bigger and more…. well, Swedish, whatever that meant. Then I had a glimpse of it during that hour in 2015. I was flabbergasted. All those islands and bridges and graceful spires rising from the water… …


Charlene journal

Copenhagen, Denmark Every time I come back to Denmark, friends here (and in Sweden) will say “welcome home.” It gives me the warm fuzzies. Denmark isn’t technically home, although I’ve spent a lot of time here over the past half decade. I’ve never lived here, nor had the visa to do so. But if home is where the heart is, then Denmark certainly qualifies. My better half is Danish after all, so between his family and the friends I’ve had the pleasure of making over the years, it’s been a place that part of me is so comfortable in, since I stepped into this country for the first time in 2013. I landed in Copenhagen in the middle of November, grateful for all of the …

The air we breathe

Charlene journal

Copenhagen, Denmark It was dusty in Sulaymaniyah, but nothing compared to what I returned to in Singapore. In Suli I learned quickly that I couldn’t inhale through my mouth. Nasal filters needed to deal with that air before it hit my lungs (not the best pair, since a bout of bronchitis in 2013), or I’d be gasping for breath. Then I got back to Singapore. Our government is undertaking an enormous Home Improvement Program in our area that includes giving every household brand new bathrooms – among other things – for the price of a song. It’s a tremendous program, but it did mean that the air in and around the flat was full of fine concrete dust for weeks on end, as hundreds / …

Through the veil

Charlene journal 10 Comments

Remember this epic sandstorm from the last post? Well, that was just a taster of what we (Erin at the wheel, Ashley and me passenging) were in for, the rest of the ride in. The 8 hour journey from Dohuk to Sulaymaniyah was made half in the dark, through windy mountain roads, and a great sea of dust. The dust, thick and persistent as it was, enveloped us in a shroud that made everything outside the car completely surreal, straight out of an episode of the X-Files. Pictures, for your viewing pleasure.

[Fujilove] Night Lights: Iraq

Charlene journal

Originally written for the Fujilove website, published on 28 October 2018 I’ve just returned from a month in northern Iraq, doing some work for an organization called Preemptive Love Coalition. This piece, though, is not about the work but my after-hours in Sulaymaniyah, the city nestled in the mountains of Iraq’s Kurdish region, where I was based. Aside from long-haul transits in plush airports, I’d not been anywhere in the Middle East before this. The impressions I had of Iraq were exclusively news-driven: burning oil fields, military-armed and flak-jacketed to the teeth, faraway plumes of destruction, decimated cities, a despairing population and ISIS, all against the scorching backdrop of desert. But I knew that was only one side of the story, not only because I …