I have been resting all week, trying to collect new energy since I am starting my new job next Thursday. I am saying goodbye to an old lifestyle – both to the good and the bad that comes with being a free artist (but totally and utterly broke). Earlier today I met up with my job coach, who’s become a dear friend along the journey. I felt a little sad when I realized it would be the last time I’d see her like this on every Wednesday afternoon. She shared my feelings. “I think it’s sad that I won’t see you every week”, she said, “but now I don’t have to be your coach, now I am simply your friend.” It brought tears to my eyes.
Sitting across from her at the table, at times behind my camera, I couldn’t stop studying her face. There is so much life in Narcissa’s face. Her eyes are filled with sparkles but also with sudden hints of sorrow at times. She can look serious and playful at the same time. I love that about her. There is an intelligent depth and creativity to all her thoughts – always with various degrees of mischievous and witty undertones.
When I first started to see Narcissa once a week, to get consultation and support in my quest of finding a ‘real’ daytime job, I was in a pretty bad place. I had gone through many difficult processes in my therapy work – and my physical health was a mess. On our first session she said: “I see how much weight that other people have put on you, you carry so much that isn’t even yours to carry. I will help you unload the weight – and if you should fall, I am here to catch you.” She was like an angel. And she did not lie. She picked me up a few times until I was strong enough to stand on my own two feet.
A few months later, I started making art again, after my long hiatus (due to the awful creativity blockage). She had given me so much strength and confidence and it shows in my work too. There is a new focus in everything I do. Narcissa has taught me the importance of taking things step by step. That way, the focus is uncluttered and steady, instead of being directed at the wrong things, things that used to drain me of all energy.
“You are an inspiration to me.” She said. “What you have achieved in a short amount of time, is very hard and almost impossible, not all people can do what you’ve done. To have you as my client has been a true honor.”
Suddenly, Narcissa is bursting out in a big laugh. I try to get my camera ready for a shot, but I’m too slow. I get a picture of her smile. I love her laugh. It’s pure and real and comes all the way from her toes. It makes me feel happy.
It is now time for us to say goodbye. She gets up from her chair, fetches her jacket and her sunglasses. This is it. This is the moment when I lose a wonderful job coach – but also when I win a new friend. I am so grateful for everything she’s done for me. I can’t wait to be there for her, like she’s been there for me. She gives me a warm hug and wishes me luck with my new job. Then I watch her go. She takes an old chapter of my life with her and disappears around the corner.
Goodbye coach, hello friend. ♥
I’ve had this song stuck on my brain for days now. Can’t stop humming it.
I can’t believe it is happening again. ♥
Yesterday’s photo shoot with Karin turned out to be a magical experience. My vision was to capture Karin in her “natural habitat” – and since she is an actress, we borrowed the stage of a local theater.
Karin is like a delicate flower, but I see so much more in her, hiding beneath the surface. I see a need in her, to demand both space to reign and attention for who she is, who she could be and who she wants to be. This really fascinates me. Karin is so sweet and a little shy – but through our collaborations I wish to give her the freedom to explore her other sides as well. Sides that are difficult for any girl to explore without feeling awkward and apologetic. I had brought some wigs with me and decided to try to draw out unexpected sides of her through different characters. It is the same method I used in my photo projects with Domenique. Nothing happened after she put on a blonde wig, but adding red lipstick set her free in exploring the psyche of a different character – or her own hidden personalities. I loved the transformation. I could see it both in her eyes and in her body language. Now she claimed the stage in a whole new way.
After that, we were able to create magic together:
I enjoyed every second of the shoot. She really is a muse. We connect through the camera. I was running back and forth to the mixing table that controlled the light, dragging heavy furniture up onto the stage and crawling around on my knees around Karin to find the best angles. I also found a big ceramic panther backstage that I used in the shoot. It was a perfect complement to illustrate her hidden wildness. After the shoot I felt exhausted but very satisfied. Andy was also there to capture me with his film camera.
However, I couldn’t help feeling a little guilty for enjoying the experience with Karin so much, I felt like I was somehow cheating on Domenique. It has been a long time ago since I worked with Domenique but she was the only model I used in my projects for almost 15 years. I have to let go of the guilt and set myself free as a photographer. And there is a big difference between how I approach my two muses. Domenique was a model and knew exactly how to act in front of the camera, I just had to keep up with her poses with my camera. Karin on the other hand is an actress and dependent on my direction and visions to deliver whatever I’m asking for. I love how I am slowly turning into a director with her, it is a new way of thinking but feels absolutely natural to me. Perhaps I’ll be directing movies in the future, who knows.
Today it’s me and Tom.
When I created my winter room in my one bedroom apartment in 2009, I got a lot of attention for it. People seemed to love it and at the same time, I’m sure they thought I was nuts for wanting a permanent Christmasy look in my living room. Even the interior design magazines were interested in my project. This is from a Swedish magazine, I can’t seem to remember which one:
More photos of my winter room: