I’ve been taking photos on and off since I was a kid, first with film cameras and then later digitally. Why have I kept coming back to it? Why do I take photos now, and why has photography become such a big part of my life?
I believe the short answer is that I have always been fascinated by how the medium of photography translates the world around me into a flat image.
As a teenager and in the first half of my twenties, my main motivation for taking photos was to preserve memories, from my travels as well as from important and ever-day occasions at home.
At some point, without really noticing it, I became concerned with the stories my images could tell. Nowadays, the main goal of my photography is to achieve exactly that – images that tell me a story, that, crucially, trigger my imagination by being more than snapshots, more than representations of what I saw.
I’ve always been concerned with stories and storytelling. I learned to read very early, my parents always read me stories at my bedside before I went to sleep, and I have been a voracious reader ever since. As well, I have a huge interest, professionally as well as on a hobby-basis, in mythology, medieval sagas, folklore and fairytales.
From time to time, I come across a story that touches me deeply. As the romantic teenager I was, I got the idea that I would like to repay the world for all those special stories that mean so much to me, in the sense that I might produce something that may affect other people as much as I am affected by the stories I read. This idea has stuck with me throughout the years.
Now, I will probably never be a fiction writer myself. What I have found, however, is that photography may serve the same purpose. So I have an external motivation for taking photos as well, namely the hope that other people will find their own stories in the images I shoot.
Having got a scanner for Christmas, I am in the process of digitalising my old prints. Many of those images are nothing more than snapshots. They are valuable as a reminder of how the world looked back then, but I don’t often bother to scan them. Sometimes, however, I find images that do tell me a story.
I’ve included one of these images below, as an example. This is from the last day of a tall-ships festival in Oslo, probably about ten years ago. I was watching the ships leave the harbour, which is exactly what the image shows. However, this image also speaks to me of departure, of the sadness of those left behind, as well wanderlust, the excitement of setting out on a journey, of sailing away to explore foreign seas.
If my future images speak to me like this ten years later, I know I shall have achieved something.