In defense of the 3:2 frame

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In defense of the 3:2 frame

There are two possible approaches here, aren’t there?

  1. Sorry, but there isn’t any. It’s horrible and should be banned.
  2. The 3:2 frame, like frames of other proportions, needs no defense. It’s just a simple rectangular*, of a certain shape. Now move on, nothing to see here.

Personally I should force myself to commit to #2, no later than now. Have spent way too much energy already on disliking 3:2.

*Perhaps what we should be asking is why rectangular?

Summer day, walking

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From the archives
Summer, walking

Summer light is nice, it lasts forever.

In some places at least, say north of 60 degrees, it does. Not here though, not in Southernland. Not because Southernland is so far south, just enough to allow night to be night and change the summer light character quite a bit. It’s still nice, very nice in fact.

The hows and the whys and that sort are not too important. Just different.

By the way. It’s not only the duration of summer light that makes it nice. Although that’s nice too. Let’s say it’s complicated.

That was five times nice. Six including this one.

Out with the thirtyfive

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Tourist stand overlooking river.

We did get out some, the thirtyfive and I. In another country and not a whole lot, but enough to burn a few gigabytes of data to a harddisk. I like the term *tourist stand, a bit like a light stand, about position. Or positioning. Stay tuned.

Swimming pool classic. Or was it cliché? Not that it matters, I’m equally, easily, charmed.

Somehow the most genuine photograph I have made in a long time. Genuine as in resonance.

A variation, I guess, on a photograph I first started thinking about making a couple of decades ago. Given that it feels remarkably unsatisfying but that’s ok, it leaves room for growing on me, later.

Pull, with a twist

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Pull, with a twist
Unrelated? Perhaps.

Some places have a stronger pull than others.

During a less–than–likeley–ever–to–be–realized moment of fantasy I looked up this place in Iceland. It’s fairly remote, the last time I was there the only way to reach it could hardly be described as a road. A double track with ambitions perhaps. For all I know that may have changed though. The search engine came up with several informative—for the potential tourist—and less informative pieces. I clicked on the images tab. The first few captured the scenery, there was birdlife, the odd man–made structures in the landscape, people looking out towards the ocean. Then the 4×4 shots, the I conquered the landscape with my vehicle, my extension photos.

Looking at them it felt overwhelmingly obvious how I wouldn’t be able to contribute anything meaningful to the image search, were I to realize my moment of fantasy and travel there and later upload the photos I would make to the internet. Somewhere the search engine could index them. Or perhaps it was more like a moment of 21st century apathy, no not apathy but hopelessness with a twist.

After not looking for a while it started to make sense again. Make sense to go and see, to breathe and smell, to touch the rocks and the weather, to experience, to be. And—perhaps—to record. Even if there are way too many records already. Not to contribute to the image search result pages but see if they might initiate a thought or two. A question worth asking.

We speak in hearts, stars

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Night sky, stars..

Not that kind of stars, but stars that use only a small amount of energy and in return they don’t shine particularly bright. Or for long. Same applies for the hearts I believe, and thumbs, for that matter. I wish there was a way to replace them, with something like a nod, but I guess that would be difficult to illustrate so that we all understood what it meant. Or—and I know I am being demanding here—words, even sentences.

No, better snap out of it. On we go. With stars and stuff.

Norsk landskap*

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Norsk landskap*

Many years ago I learned about a project, carried out by four photographers (or artists, not sure how they would have categorized themselves, if at all). They went out in an attempt to redefine the *norwegian landscape photograph which, at the time, was suffocating in waterfalls and other epic–ness.

A brief disclaimer; the photograph above is mine and apart from being influenced by the work of the four photographers, as well as others who came before and after them, it is unrelated to what follows, which is a description of their work.

“In 1987 the four photographers Johan Sandborg, Siggen Stinessen, Per Berntsen, and Jens Hauge took a trip around Norway in a Volks-wagen bus in search of the ordinary Norwegian landscape. Every time one of them called out “Stop!” they halted the bus, got out, and came to consensus about motif and angle of vision before a picture was taken. On this 18-day trip they drove more than 7,000 kilometers and took altogether 134 exposures with an old-fashioned Japanese large-format camera. The result was Norsk Landskap 1987 [Norwegian Landscape 1987], hereafter called NL1987, which consisted of 44 framed color photographs, a montage of postcards sent home from the trip and a map of Norway on which the route and the sites of exposures were drawn in. The project was shown in an exhibition at the Henie Onstad Art Centre in 1987.”


“Many people also had problems with understanding why it was necessary to photograph these ugly places when Norway had so many beautiful ones to offer.”

Christine Hansen, in an essay for Norsk Landskap’s 25th anniversary exhibition catalog.

To catalog text.
To a selection of photographs.

Norway, Buskerud, Hol, Ustaoset

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Norway, Buskerud, Hol, Ustaoset city

Ustaoset is a small village in the middle of Norway. Its claim to fame, if it is at all famous that is, came with the railway between east and west. And a skiing event, large for its kind I believe, although I’m not sure if that type of skiing is very popular outside of Norway. And huts. And Hallingskarvet, the short montain range just above it. Not very many people live there though, according to 2014 numbers, only 36 of them.

I have driven through Ustaoset only a few times and it always strikes me as an intersting place, perhaps because when I get there I’m usually coming down from Hardangervidda and the view and surroundings tend to be impressive, not to overstate. A place I’d like to see more of, preferably in early autumn, with a camera and a tripod and some compositional balance*, clothes that keep me warm, good shoes and healthy feet and all the time in the world.

Rural road construction at dusk.

Some construction on state road 7, railway tracks in the back.

*Just made that up. Not the thing but the phrase. Suspect I’ll be using it some.

#runningman has a worse* camera

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#runningman has a worse camera

Replacing old with ancient, in digital camera terms at least, #runningman’s image quality just decreased, considerably. It turns out that’s quite alright, if not for the better. Battery life is still adequate, pixel count has gone down and with it, file size is lovely, colours are wonky in a good way and the optic is good. Best of all though, the older, worse camera of the two is much smaller, lighter, and no drama worth mentioning will happen should #runningman trip with it in his hand and land on it.

Brown puddle in low green vegetation

It all looks decent enough on the internet anyway..

old=Fujifilm X100S (is being missed, terribly)
ancient=Ricoh GR Digital III


*Update: I probably should address worse, in the context that the best camera is the one you have with you, cliché as it is. And how if there is going to be a camera while running, as long as the image quality is acceptable, small and light is number one on the list of qualities for #runningcam. Well, the Ricoh GRD has plenty acceptable image quality and the title of this little piece is nonsense. For a different usage, other criteria would apply.

..the communication

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the communication

Aperture has a workshop. They ask:

“Do you know where you’re going next with your photography–or where it’s taking you?”

Good thing you asked, Aperture. Honestly, I have no idea. I do know this, though:

I photograph because it is the communication, the one that is. Even if it exists partly, mostly, exclusively even, in a void*.

An empty room, where the images and what they carry bounces between the walls, slightly altering meaning and/or perspective with every change in direction.

Where much of the content exists outside the visual, making it hard if not impossible to give meaning to others than the one who was there, thought that, felt like so.


To an extent a bit like talking to oneself on the way home from work. Yet not.

Two trees, a stream in the background, in black and white.

Landscape photograph, odd proportions, no colours.

*(If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to ..)

Mona in heart and other compositions

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From the archives
Mona in heart and other compositions

Although there is reason to believe that both Mona and the artist behind the work with her name are real people of flesh and blood who got up in the morning, ate breakfast and went to school, based on the information available it is not possible to say whether their paths crossed only briefly or if they ever had a relationship of some kind. If they were classmates, played in the school brass band together, etc.

Mona in heart is in the middle, yet at the edge. She was visible only to the few who drove through the underpass, the vast majority of drivers who travelled on the road above never had the opportunity to wonder about her existence.

Mona in heart might still exist, under more recent layers of paint. The work will likely never be recovered.

River seen from a bridge at dusk.

Stream doing what streams do.

Overpass and things that are under and around it.

Anno 2013. Finding out stuff. Some insignificant successes.

Please, not another square

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Please, not another square

Perhaps it’s as simple as this.

That I need to accept the fact that in my near future there is a square 120 film back, a 55mm lens and a camera that can move it around. Up, down, and to the sides. Well, not necessarily to the sides. And by the look of this shopping list, no kidneys in my abdomen.

Guess it isn’t. That simple that is.

They do keep messing with my head though, the damn squares. Even after I had manually convinced myself that they were little more than a somewhat pleasant byproduct of proper, serious work. Right.

Not that I would mind terribly to continue shooting squares, with the 35mm PC Nikkor. If only I had a square sensor to shoot them with. One that was 36x36mm with sufficiently dense pixels. Wouldn’t need a lot. To my knowledge, a sensor of that size does exist but in the context of digital photography it’s prehistoric, yet the price it seems to collect on used markets is impressively healthy. And the pixel density, well—it’s not a lot. Besides, what platform would mount such a thing on one end and a Nikon F lens on the other? Now that I’ve argued against it a little, without so much as having seen, let alone used one, I’m actually a little curious about it. As in what it would be like to work with one, what kind of output one migth expect, that sort.

I would mind a little though, because somewhere in the back of my head the plan was to stop chimping. A new chip, whatever the proportions, wouldn’t help much. I want that 120 film back, want to go about with a light meter, want the smell of chemicals in my nose, to release a shutter and not instantly see an image on the back of the camera but have to wait for processing to see what the result looks like, want to look at negatives on a light table again. Also very much worth mentioning (and an attempt to get away from), the fact that the photograph above, like most of the squares I’ve made for a long time now, is a composite of two images. Two reasons for that; A) the horizontal coverage of a 35mm lens on a sensor that is 36mm wide feels quite right to me and B) I don’t seem to care much for cropping a square frame from a rectangular. Lately though I don’t seem to care at all for composing an image from two, and moving beoynd that was the other part of the plan.

Oh, and this is not GAS (aka. Gear Acquisition Syndrome), just to get that out of the way. Well, not for the sake of equipment at least.

Speaking of equipment. I’m finding it interesting to notice how talking about gadgets is often easier than the whys and the what–ifs and the hows regarding the work itself. Wonder what to make of that. Actually finding it a little embarrassing, the fact that I’m approaching it from this angle, but regarding this particular issue—frame proportions—I’m having trouble putting my finger on what it is exactly about a square frame that attracts me. Apart from how it feels right somehow. Whether or not it adds qualities to static landscape photographs (or removes them) may well be debated, but it’s one that I haven’t even come to terms with myself.

Guess the search for components that fulfill the need and match each other is about to continue then. And not another word about it here until something constructive has come out of it. Should that ever happen.

Six favs, six months

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Six favs, six months

For the lack of having anything to say, and the fact that it’s late may already, six favs are up.

Afraid this time the selection will look more like a chaotic shoebox, one that’s been stuffed with random images from random people. They are all mine though. And they can all be clicked for more pixels. If that’s of interest.

Yea, well. Let’s say it has emotional value.

Like the previous, emotional value. Lots of it. Half–decent photograph too, I think. Hope saying this is redundant but feel free to disagree.

Squares are the people I’ve wanted to get to know better but was too shy and insecure to go and say “hi, I think you’re cool”. And when our ways accidentally crossed there may have been a brief moment of genuine communication right before, again, there wasn’t.

This I can say. Found a polarizing filter, had to try it. Seriously though, I do find cruise ships somewhat interesting, but then,.. It’s complicated.

It was a decent thursday. And I got to puzzle some images together. And I’m fond of this place. And if you click that link the only way back is your browser’s back button.