I am sooooo proud!

I’m not even going to try to pretend that this is a small thing for me – I just can’t believe there’s a whole episode of the pod Drinking from the toilet with my voice in it! And I’m saying some good stuff! I have decided that my accent is charming and not annoying at all and that I’m actually doing a decent job – with a lot of help from Hannah – trying to explain my Swedish thoughts in English.

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We talk about what makes a good photo, a few tips on what to think about when you want to photograph your own pup, a bit about why I feel strongly that no photo is worth a sad dog, and about the training of a good Top Dog Model.

There’s no photo worth a sad dog! There just isn’t!

And it’s free to listen to. Let my (not so) soothing voice join you in your next car ride (that’s the time in my life when I listen to podcasts), train ride, or dog walk. I hope you get some new ideas!

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Exercise in creativity

A few weeks ago I purchased Eric Kim’s “eternal return to creative every day”. It’s a fun little booklet with creative ideas and exercises, and I finally printed it and started with the first task yesterday.

Photograph everything that interests you during one day. Go through the images, see what you like.

I did. These are the ones I chose (from a trip to Copenhagen):

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I am pleased with the result, Every one of the photos tells a story – at least to me. From the moment we left (Midori says “Huh! You leaving?”) to waiting in traffic five minutes from home at a roadblock.

Families come in all forms!

What is a family?

To me, it’s a group of individuals who have chosen each other.

It’s as simple as that. There may, or may not, be blood ties. The individuals may, or may not, be the same species.  A group is at least two individuals, but there is no maximum limit.

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I sometimes feel like I’m blessed with many different families. My family consists of two people and three dogs – that’s the core. But my family is also us five plus parents, siblings, and sibling’s families. And I have friends that are so close I call them family. These are all individuals I have chosen to have in my life because I love them and they make my life a better place. And they have chosen me back – it goes both ways.

Families stick together, help each other, care for each other, and make everyday life easier. They may argue, but they find their way back. They do stuff together because it’s more fun that way.

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The family in these photos is one I met earlier this year. We had two sessions together, and each time I felt happy for days after I met them – their love and affection, respect and care, was contagious.

They have chosen each other, not once, but over and over. All four of them.

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It’s actually kind of amazing.

 

Easy like sunday morning

It’s 5.30 Sunday morning. Husband is asleep, I am awake because the sheep started baaa-ing for food and we have neighbors. Dogs are with me. It’s cloudy but warm, all is quiet (as soon as the sheep are fed).

Instead of going back to bed, I fetch my camera and my Lensbaby velvet 56. This morning I feel like photographing slowly, look for compositions and details, and just fill my head with here and now.

The dogs find their spots in the grass and watch me move slowly, looking at flowers, grass, bushes, anything that catches my eye. When I get more than ten meters away, they get up and find a new spot a bit closer. We are a family. Families stick together.

I forget about the time and take about 50 photos of a rosehip bush. And then 50 more of some raspberries. And so on. My Lensbaby forces me to go slow, set focus manually, really look at my mage before I shoot. It’s really relaxing.

So, these photos are just for me. Full of Sunday morning, summer, dogs by my side, and doing what I love.

Christina and Fant the Fant-astic!

I’ ve known Christina on the web since she took one of my online classes, and I’ve admired her work. She and her beautiful cocker Fant lives in Paris at the moment (enjoy her insta! ), and as they were passing by Sweden she asked for a private session. Some new ideas on street photography, and how to pose Fant in order to not make him look posed, was on the wish list.

We met in Västra Hamnen in Malmö (a beautiful part of the city, do not miss when passing by!). I know the area fairly well, and as Christina wanted to work with the composition of lines and shapes with her 16mm wide-angle, I added the idea “dog goes on an adventure in town” to give a bit of backstory.

And then we got to work. For me, one of the keys is to really “work through” an area. Different angles, compositions distances, poses…Little by little that makes me realise what I want from this scene, and I often end up with something completely different than my original idea. So that’s what I had Christina doing.

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Fant is a very well trained model, and seemed to really enjoy himself! Lots of treats were involved 🙂

We deliberately chose poses that did NOT involve looking into the camera. The idea was to capture Fant’s view of the town – how would a dog explore? If he was a bit adventurous, and more about seeing than sniffing (I know, it’s not super realistic, but the images get better…)?

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This part of town has lots of big windows, and that means lots of reflections. So much fun to play with!

Of course, a dog visiting Malmö would want to look at the sea and the bridge to Copenhagen. We got him to look in the right direction with a little help from some strategically arranged treats.

I really liked the idea of him lying almost like a statue, overlooking the city with the Turning Torso behind him. Him – not so much…But hey, anything for Mom!

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And my last one of a very warm and tired Fant. He did not actually seek that shadow by himself, we put him there. It still tells the story 🙂

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My shots are a bit haphazard, I wasn’t there to shoot but to teach and give feedback and suggestions. I know Christina got some really good ones, and can’t wait to see them!

So. Lesson learned:

  • What’s the story?
  • Try, try, try!
  • Change something in every shot
  • Leading lines
  • Diagonals
  • Rule of thirds
  • Play with reflections
  • Avoid poses that look posed
  • Work with the light, make the subject stand out
  • Don’t be afraid to go close
  • Don’t be afraid to back up
  • Keep the dog happy!

And to finish: keep your eyes open. What happens around you?

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Freedom

At the beginning of this year, my husband and I decided this would be a year of freedom. Six months in, we have accomplished some big things that will give us the freedom we want: I’ve quit my job and am now self-employed, he has changed his job, and we bought a new house and sold the old one (still haven’t moved though).

We call the new house Freedom. It’s really nice to say “Meet you in Freedom!” or “Should we go to Freedom this evening?” or “I and the dogs will be in Freedom Wednesday.”. It’s a small house by the road in the middle of nowhere. Woods surrounds it, and some fields with cows. It’s really quiet and calm.

The garden has once been really beautiful – we think – but has grown wild for some years. Behind the forest is a deforestation, that will be full of birches in a few years.

The hose comes with a garage and a few extra storage-houses (including an outside dry toilet – not in use).

And inside are two rooms and a small bathroom.

That’s it. Freedom. My new home.

Posing boot-camp

I never pose the people I photograph, I work with moment design and work with the poses that come naturally.

But. I want to be able to pose someone if I have the need, to have the skill! So in order to learn, I searched the internet after a photographer who works like that, and give classes. I found Meg Bitton, and am currently in her Posing Boot-camp.

This week’s assignment is posing a single subject. I borrowed a friend’s daughter yesterday, and got to work – trying to remember all the “do’s” and “don’ts”. My model was absolutely fantastic and tried everything I asked for without hesitation, despite mosquitos and nettles.

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Bend, twist, and turn. All limbs visible (at least partly). Hands relaxed.

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Take the photo slightly from above, to enhance the eyes.

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And remember location! Where is the light? How can I make her stand out?

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I love this photo, despite the flaws (her right hand is not placed in a good way). That look…

When I had tried all my ideas – some worked, some most certainly did NOT work, she got to play around a bit on her own:

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Really like this pose! Relaxed, with movement, twists and bends for interesting shapes. Hands relaxed.

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And this light! All limbs visible, slightly diagonal lines, beautiful.

So far so good! I look forward to more sessions and experiments! And yes, this will be in my repertoire. Soon.

Releaseparty!

Today is a good day.

The reviews for my book are starting to appear – and they are great! I’m not the only one who loves it 🙂

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And tonight is my releaseparty! My friends (and publishers) are coming from Gothenburg, a lot of my friends around here will show up, I have bought ingredients to make tidbits of sorts (I haven’t actually MADE them yet – but how hard can it be?), and I’m going to do a live presentation with powerpoint and dog.

In short: it will be AWESOME!

And you know – it’s still not too late! Everyone who reads this is most welcome. Follow this link and click “kommer”.

Can’t come, but still want the book? Not a problem! Read more and order HERE!

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Behind the scenes

My work as a photographer sometimes brings me to new and interesting places, to do new and interesting things. Two weeks ago I went to Gothenburg, to work with Svenska Terapihundskolan (Swedish school for therapy dogs). My assignment was to take photos for their coming book about therapy dogs and their handlers – so much fun!

Sara made me extra happy because she took photos of me working! So you can see what the scene looks like, and then my photo 🙂

It was amazing to see the different dogs and handlers do their magic. Because it’s really magic! The way people relax, smile, open up…

And it’s not only the clients that smile – both the dogs and their handlers really love their work. The dogs are work colleagues and respected as such, never a “tool” to use. The dogs love their work, they may be trained in certain tricks or moves, but I think that what really moves the clients is that the dogs are having a really good time.

As a dog trainer, I also loved the nice and neat training that took place. All training is 100% reward-based. The clients love giving the dogs treats, and the handlers make sure that all clients know how to treat a dog nicely. No matter the age of the client.

And as there is a wide variety of clients, from children’s hospitals to elderly care facilities, the dog (and handler) get to work with the type of humans they love the most. Some are really calm and cuddly and love to just hang out and get cuddled with. Others like a bit more action, and work well with school children. There’s a place for everyone!

The book will be released in December. Worth waiting for!

Gathering inspiration

Creativity needs to be refilled. At least that’s the case for me. I need input – new ideas, new ways to see and interpret the world. I get that in a lot of ways:

  • Watching TV (yes, it’s true!)
  • Talking to friends
  • Take a walk with my dogs, with my mind open
  • Talking to new people
  • Look at images and films
  • Listen to music
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Learn new things
  • Get new equipment (something small is enough)
  • Go to an exhibition or art-gallery
  • Discuss with other photographers
  • Teach
  • Experiment within boundries (only 23mm, only night, only flatlay, etc)

And a lot more…

Some of these things I do automatically almost every day. Some of them I need to plan for. And some of them happens rarely, but makes a great impact.

As an introvert person I enjoy the company of one (me) or maybe two (my husband), and I tend to not make interaction with other people my priority.

That’s why events like Fotomässan are extra good for me! I’m forced out in the world, and for a few days my head is wide open and I take in a lot of new impressions at once. It’s exhausting. But it’s exhilirating!

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A calm photo to rest my brain a bit…;)

Yesterday I spent the whole day with other people. Talking, listening, looking, learning. I will do the same today.

And then I will need at least two weeks to process everything, write down all my new ideas, try everything I learned, follow up on new contacts, and little by little make sense of what now feels like a beehive in my mind (but in a good way!).

I’ll write a bit more frequently here, as a part of my “get everything out of my head into the open and take a good look at it”-process. Maybe it will be interesting for someone else, mostly it will be interesting for me.

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A mobile-photo of poor quality, but it’s still valuable to me – it will always remind me of Fotomässan 2018!

My creativity is full, overflowing actually, and will be for some time 🙂