{102/365+1v.2} Androgynous

I don’t know what scares me the more sometimes, the media or the people they report on.

Case in point: one of the Norwegian online newspapers, in a feature on Botox and how women are kept to unreasonable standards of beauty, is quoting a female model / tv celebrity as saying (my translation): “I do still have young and tight skin, but no one knows what the future will bring,” implying that she might consider Botox treatments when she grows older.

I hope this is a mis-quote, because seriously, I hope she knows that she will get wrinkles and lose skin when she gets older. The alternative, after all, is to die young and leave a beautiful corpse, as they say, and I assume that is not what she wants.

She is also quoted as saying that women frequently become less attractive at an earlier point in their lives than men do. If I am to be charitable, I’ll credit this more to the sickness of the society she’s living in than to the girl herself.

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My creation

Norway is a monolingual society in many respects. While we do have many minority languages, the majority of the people tend to forget that as they go through their lives speaking Norwegian at home, at work and with friends, and hearing the language on the news and reading it in the newspapers.

When the theme was ‘Words’ over at Mortal Muses, I spent two weeks shooting images containing words in some way, two weeks where I didn’t travel abroad or anything, but lived my life in Oslo as I usually do.

The end result is a collection of words in a surprising amount of languages. There is of course both bokmål and nynorsk, the two written standards of Norwegian. Then, of course, English is highly prevalent. But there is also Latin and French, and there are several examples where two languages are mixed.

If you ask me, this is a positive discovery and a good thing. The more languages we know, the more insight and knowledge we stand to gain.

Links to the images in the mosaic:
1. {115/366-2} Definition of calmness?, 2. Golden Book, 3. {116/366-2} City languages, 4. {117/366-2} Words and images, 5. Weird words, 6. {118/366-2} …if he soars with his own wings., 7. Short – and sweet?, 8. {119/366-2} But where is the sun?, 9. The Crow and the Owl, 10. Signs, 11. {120/366-2} Antiques, 12. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 13. {121/366-2} Ljos – ‘light’, 14. {122/366-2} I , 15. {123/366-2} The books you remember, 16. {124/366-2} Handwriting, 17. {125/366-2} Bilingualism, 18. {126/366-2} Cryptic message, 19. {127/366-2} Bookshelf in sepia, 20. Birds of Passage

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys

Monthly Mosaic: November

{366-2 - Month 2: November}

I sometimes see people on flickr who are complemented for the variety of their images. If a variety of subject matter is a goal to strive for, I am not meeting it. But then again, I am not sure I want to set myself such a goal.

My main aim is to pick up a camera each and every day of the year. In this way I make myself find the photo opportunities of everyday life, instead of waiting for the unusual to happen. And this is the crux: there isn’t all that much variety in my everyday life, at least not nowadays.

So instead of aiming for a variety of subject matter, I want to make myself look at the tings that surround me daily in constantly new ways. And this goal I think I’ve met quite well in November. The bunch of tulips I bought at the end of the first week of the month gave me three different images. The bunch of roses replacing the tulips another two. There is quite a lot of bokeh and night lights, seeing that it is dark when I go to work and almost dark when I head home.

And finally, there are muffins. No month is complete without muffins, either photographically or food-wise.

Monthly Mosaic: October

My creation
Looking at my one photo a day for October, it’s been a month of autumn leaves and sunlight, roses and polaroids, eating out and eating in, travelling, a bit of black and white.

Actually quite a good month, now that I think about it.

You cannot possibly take your camera to prison

I am reading the new book by Norwegian author Vigdis Hjort, ‘Thirty days in Sandefjord’, inspired by the thirty-day sentence for drunk driving the author served in Sandefjord prison.

There is a lot to take in, a lot to think about in this book. About social class, education and drug use in this country, that, and so much more as well. I’m keeping it at a distance, treating it as an intellectual exercise, since it would be too difficult to take it all in. I’m too naïve. Too sheltered in my own world of academia, cameras and fancy olive oils. I could never do anything illegal, right? But of course I could, like everyone else.

I expect there is a lot I would have to face about myself if I had to serve time in jail. But right now the only thought that makes my belly tighten in imagined fear is, what would I do without my camera – for 21 days, for a month, longer?

I am chronicling my life one image a day for the thirteenth month in a row. Pointing my camera – or phone – at something has become an intergral part of my day.

Some might claim that it would do me good, to get out of the habit of distancing myself from the world and hide behind the lens. To those hypothetical people I say, I don’t hide, I see more, and better now that I have been shooting so much, and I hope to expand that vision also to the unfamiliar, the foreign parts of the world around me.

Analogue time

Black and White Monday

Language is wine upon the lips. –Virginia Woolf

The above quote is one of my all-time favourites. It evokes a full-bodied red wine, enjoyed in good company, while eating delicious food. It evokes laughter. Friendship. Candles gently lighting the room.

I have wanted to know where this sentence is taken from. What is its context? For what kind of story did she come up with this metaphor? I have found only two answers to these questions, neither completely satisfactory.

According to one blog I found, she said once said this to her husband Leonard. No source was provided for this piece of information.

Using Ctrl+F to search for the phrase “wine upon” in her works on Project Gutenberg, I found the following sentence, from her book Jacob’s Room:

Cowan, Erasmus Cowan, sipped his port alone, or with one rosy little man, whose memory held precisely the same span of time; sipped his port, and told his stories, and without book before him intoned Latin, Virgil and Catullus, as if language were wine upon his lips.

At this point I almost regret looking for the context. For one thing, the words are not exactly the same. The book version is tied to a person, a he, Erasmus Cowan, that I can’t know without reading the book, and now the perfect adaptability of the internet quote is destroyed. What is more, Cowan is drinking port wine while telling stories, so there is an almost physical connection between the wine and the language rather than the evocative metaphoric connection of the internet quote.

The point of all this? For once I should have remembered the old line about never letting the truth get in the way of a good story instead of following my native academic instinct to dig for sources and originals.

Sunday Stories: Elin

So instead of a Wednesday photography Feature, I’m doing a Sunday Stories recommendation this week. My friend Elin is hosting TWO giveaways on her blog, one in English for Halloween that might be of interest also to my foreign friends 🙂 Elin is a librarian as well as a voracious reader with quite similar tastes in literature to me, so I can heartily recommend her literature blog.

Her Halloween giveaway is a part of Neil Gaiman’s project All Hallow’s Read, a brand new tradition of giving away a scary book for Halloween. I suppose there are adults of every age out there who won’t agree with me – scary books often involve supernatural elements, after all – but I’d say it is much healthier to give away books than candy, and I might just jump on this tradition myself in one way or another when Halloween rolls along.

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