Perhaps Loneliness Does Not Exist After All 2006–2103

The main story I want to tell with this series is a story about identity and self-discovery – of finding oneself again after having gone lost. At the same time this work also deals with survival;  how hope can be restored after a great loss.

There are two kinds of images in the series: black and white portraits and color images. The portraits are portraits of my closest people: my mother, my brother and my sister, my cousins, my best friends, my son.

When I started the project, I realized that for years I had been looking past what was most important in my life. In stead of looking close my eyes had been fixed on something in the distance.  I was focusing on what was not there, rather than seeing what was. The time had come for me to concentrate on presence. So, one by one, I approached the people I love the most and I said: “You are very important to me, may I take your photograph?”

I don’t claim these portraits to have grasped the essence of the people depicted. It is not up to me to define any one of them. For me the portraits are images of something abstract, an invisible bond that exists between between me and the people in the photographs. They are images of friendship, love, caring. Me and you, looking at each other, really seeing each other, eyes filled with tenderness, sometimes sadness, always with a strange mixture of vulnerability and strength. A mixture that comes from accepting that this is as close as you can get to knowing someone, someone you really care about. A person whose pain is your pain and whose joy is your joy, and yet understanding that– it isn’t so. You can, and in fact you will, like it or not, share their pain and their joy, but you can never take it away from them, not even if you wanted to.

The other images in the series, the color images, form a kind of a journey from darkness to light. Among them you can find my grandfather (who died far too early) as a young man, looking at the sea. Then there’s also an unknown mother with her child, there are mirrors (broken or whole, without reflection), there’s skin, there’s light, a little wind, some touching – and in the end: a new beginning.

 

A Shadow at the Edge of Every Moment of the Day 2005–2011

Sometimes you may dream of a person you haven’t seen in years or of someone who is distant in some other way, dead even. In the dream, this person is suddenly intensely present; he or she may come close to you, touch you, even caress you. When you wake up from the dream you feel warm and full somehow. Gradually the feeling of being loved merges into a kind of longing: you start to realise that the meeting with the other was in fact nothing but a dream. It was a creation of your own mind, a glimpse at your own imaginary world.

The same kind of longing can be aroused by many kinds of dreams. One might, for example, dream of a big city. In the dream, one will have just arrived in a metropolis for the first time, eager to discover its streets full of promise. Sometimes one might also dream of entering one’s own home, a house which has suddenly changed, become bigger and more complex. There might be a new room in the house, and from that secret room opens a door into yet another new room, and so on.

My photographs are about that slightly disturbing, melancholy sensation that follows such dreams. It is a strange sort of longing for something or someplace that doesn’t exist; a kind of phantom pain, caused by the discord between reality and a person’s own inner world.