Creating brand report

Following up on last weeks foray into my customisation of a nice invoice template, where I bought a new domain just so that the email address would take up less space in the design, I set up a new Koken install on said domain. Behold, is now an empty sheet onto which I will pour my professionalism and coherence. Which frees this blog up for even more random stuff, allowing me to really let loose.

My temporary employment at Akademin Valand is drawing to an end, and seeing as I’m joining the precariat once again I found it prudent to get a proper portfolio site up and running. Thus the site. I’m rather temperamental when it comes to putting together samples of my work. Consequently, I’ve so far put up nothing.

My reluctance is partly based on my uncertainty of what it is I really do. For the past fifteen or so years during which I’ve slid from unpaid creative work alongside paying menial work, to paying creative work, I’ve had a devil of a time coming to terms with what constitutes “work” and “title” and “profession.” I’ve joked about creating a “professional dilettante” calling card many times, but haven’t done so although the title would fit. (Most people I tried it on don’t know what a “dilettante” is so I end up having to explain it and come of as a “professional dilettante jerk” instead.)

But this is reflected in how I understand myself. I do do commissioned photography, but it’s not all I do so I feel a bit disingenuous when I present myself with a profile which is exclusively focused on my photo and editing experience. This blog is probably a better reflection of what I do, especially when someone reads more than the first couple of posts, but what kind of image is that? When the practicality of “getting work” meets ones requirement to “be truthful” I lean towards the latter to the detriment of legibility and focus.

Possibly it’s best to be “true enough” or at least “not lie” when it comes to these things – if I select the works I believe speak to my strengths and showcase them as best I can, it’s not untruthful; it’s just very omissive. Could it be this is what is known as being “professional” and that I’m just late to the game? It would be in line with other blank spots I’m constantly discovering in my personality and behaviour.

Perhaps I ought just to ask some friends in the business to help me style a portfolio? Talk to some photo buyers who could actually help determine if I should pursue this or not. If I’m uninterested in something I do a half-assed job of it, but perhaps I’m just not good enough to do the projects I’d actually be interested in, which would give an indication of what I’d need to do to get there. Too often I assume that it’s a question of will to accomplish something, underestimating the value of skill and experience, and so it can be liberating to learn that what I’m doing is trite garbage; it gives you a direction and a goal, and hints at a roadmap you could follow to become better, more interesting, more serious and fun.

Ok it’s settled; I’ll get in touch with some image editors and ask their advice and judgement. It goes up on the list next to “learn soil analysis” and “design an origami box for the drone pin”, but before “learn the trombone like Antoine in Treme” and circle back to it once I’m officially unemployed…

A family, a network of relations.

This weeks thing is a proper retouch and publication of the Family photo series I did in 2004-2005. It was a bunch of portraits of more or less everyone in my extended family (except my maternal grandmother who didn’t want to be remembered so frail) and although I haven’t exhibited them anywhere I’ve had analogue copies made and distributed.

As the project is almost ten years old (which gives me temporal vertigo) I’m considering revisiting it; perhaps it’s time again to pack a camera and shoot the family. Not sure if it would feel as relevant now, but since I’m looking at the project with ten years hindsight and am glad I pursued it, I might appreciate a followup in ten years time as well.

I’m quite certain that I won’t do the project using film though; Patience with the analogue isn’t part of my character, and removing dust from the scanned negatives is a time honoured craft I’d gladly do without. Images are here.

I’d love to have you for dinner.

To counteract our social stagnation we’re trying to throw dinners. True, we haven’t had one for six months, but still, we try to attempt, to perhaps do something at some point. Regardless, one of the features of these dinners is me pulling out the camera and documenting all guests. It’s mandatory and unless people co-operate I don’t tell them where the antidote is.

This weeks project is about finishing the retouch and publishing one set of dinner pictures. “the dinner set #1” (2013) is me having fun in photoshop, and switching the faces around of all dinner guests — I’ve moved nose, eyes and mouth from one face to another, resulting in some more or less plausible visages. Needless to say, I laughed my ass of doing this, although right now I can’t say why — these people all look so serious. You can find the image gallery at under “photography” or by clicking here.



Last weeks project was all the work migrating the blog into a new theme. WordPress themes are supposed to be mostly a skin on top of your content, but I splurged on a commercial theme with a lot of customisation, and it took a long time to make things look like it does now.

It’s been a while since this place got a facelift, and I don’t have the time nor inclination to once again dust of what mongrel knowledge I have of php/css/ and the WordPress loop just in order to hack something passable together. I figured that I could use that “flexible” layout people keep talking about. (At the moment the menus don’t work when viewed on a narrow screen, but I’ll get to that Or rather, now that I’ve paid for a theme I have someone to ask why it doesn’t work…)

Also, I received an email about the “don’t drone my friend” pins, and a box with samples is on it’s way over to me from China. I can’t get over how insane that is, but it’s also rather neat, in a “global fun-park, hell-in-a-handbasket” kinda way.

Editing the point of view.

A couple of months ago there was a outrage and general brouhaha over an how ACORN — an organisation which helps underclass folk in US with getting bank loans and such — supposedly was advising a pimp & hooker couple on how to start a child prostitution business. It turned into a giant shitstorm, and it’s only now that the dust has settled and the source material has been examined that a more true version of the story is emerging.

→ MSNBC: Rachel Maddow explains how Fox News bought and sold the ACORN story. [Via Media Matters]

“This place,” says Bahram, shouting somewhat, it’s amazing. You can’t imagine! The schools, the hospitals, the way they live! And nothing is done by hand, even the baking, even cleaning the street. They have these little carts, just press a button. The police, they smile at you and say “hej.”

→ From our own correspondents, Monica Whitlock: Adjusting to Swedish life after the Andjian massacre

[audio:|titles=Adjusting to Swedish life after the Andjian massacre|artists=BBC, Monica Whitlock]

I do not want to prescribe a means of viewing images of Fabienne’s death. I am interested in informing the public about the photographers who witnessed and recorded the event.

Prison Photography, Pete Brook: Fabienne Cherisma [via A Photo Editor]

But what makes it all such good fun is the element of surprise. No matter how much you practise or prepare, many of your best mammal behaviour shots will be of moments you hardly remember – because they happened so fast. These are the ones that make all that effort worthwhile.

→ BBC Wildlife Magazine, Mark Carwardine: Mammal Behaviour [scroll down for individual PDF]

Rocks about to punk ≠ Punks about to rock.

A friend of a friend saw me run around with a camera the other day and asked if I wouldn’t take some pictures of him and his band as they were playing at Henriksberg yesterday. So in skinny jeans and with a leg pouch I climbed all over a small stage, trying to take pictures of The Bang. Usually only my mom asks me to play photographer — “and please don’t make them ‘arty,’ just make them good” — and I’m always nervous whenever I’m supposed to perform. It’s like peeing in public; I’m not a professional enough urinator to be comfortable doing it.

Reviewing the pictured I guess they’re good enough, especially when beaten into submission in post, but it’s so odd looking back at myself and not really remembering what it was I wanted to accomplish with the live shoot. Either you’re documenting live because 1) the light and set and so on are unique enough to warrant taking advantage of the situation, or 2) because you want to document the audience somehow, put the band there and then, bearing witness.

What with every other person in the audience watching the show through viewfinders or cellphone screens, I’d like to see some more effort put into making even concerts like this media friendly. Perhaps a live Bluetooth dump linked to a screen at the bar? Lighting that goes from almost pitch black to living-room, allowing the full range from fanboy to ironic girl to get their desired image. You know, like fenced hunting; The hippo might have nowhere to run, but you’ll still feel rather good about shooting it just so. (As long as you bring ear guards.)

On a side note, I might be coming down with a fever and should go to bed now. Let’s start Monday on a really shiny happy note, shall we? Try not throwing an epileptic fit looking at Jon the drummer above.

Update, tofu, Michael Jackson

This summer has been odd. I’m enjoying sunshine for a change! Just over the weekend, an underwater photo session was followed by a Michael Jackson tribute evening, and I got up in the morning to make my own tofu (piece of cake!) and then went to a barbeque to meet nice peoples. I have what can be described as “a tan,” ruining my usual summer pasttime as a white-balance card for RAW photography. I don’t know what is happening, but I like it.

Having spent the whole day looking for parts to my beater bike – “throwing good money after bad” comes to mind – I’m caffeinating myself before a much needed WordPress update. If anything disappears or looks like poop on your system, please let me know; It’s very possible that the theme I designed for the blog will break into thousand little pieces, but Marlene Dietrich is holding me company, so all should be well.

To whomever. According to Artur

Let’s hear it for Artur Poças, the latest participant of To Whomever and one of the students at the course I’m teaching with Ana Betancour. Who could ever guess that there’d be so different takes on what this project was about? Thanks for the contribution, and email me your address – sending stuff by post has a nice haptic feel to it.

My name is Mathew Price. I came to Europe very early in my life and now I’m living in this small boring town where nothing attracts me more than my own room or the beautiful fingertips of my girlfriend, Therese.

Day one

My twin brother came to live with me. He left our parents house, I did the same some years ago and, apparently, the reason is the same, he became a vegetarian and our father told him: “if you want to eat plants, go to live in the garden, there are plenty of them”.

After so many years, his voice still echoes inside my head.

The good thing is that I found a job for my brother at the school, is going to teach with me, starting tomorrow.

One week later

First day at work, my brother fucked my girlfriend in our dirty bathroom at school. She thought he was me (eight years together and she doesn’t know I don’t wear silk underwear). He didn’t think at all. I broke up with both.

After all

Today I received the news by mail. She’s pregnant. Therese. For many years we tried an absurd amount of times to conceive a human being. Never succeeded. The fucker comes from the other side of the world and, with just one shot, guess what?


Tunisia and back, day 1

We’re back from Tunisia. We have returned from the prehistoric cradle of humanity and can tell you that you can buy a lot of stuff there.

It’s a good feeling to be able to cross off another continent from the “to-visit” map, althought the country is more Mediterranean than African. The week-long trip was an excellent idea.

out the airplane window

Me, Anna, Sine and Christoffer went on a chartered trip to Sousse in north-eastern Tunisia. It’s a touristy town, but since the winter is off-season there weren’t a lot of tourists. The good side of that is that there was very little queuing and navigating crowded streets. The bad side is that we were easily spotted by anyone who wanted to sell us sheep-skins, cigarettes, chess boards or drugs, which soon proved to be a lot of people.

Many languages sign

We arrive late at night, the flight being delayed one hour, and are soon dumped outside our hotel downtown. The porters’ friend got us a few bottles of wine and we’re sitting imbibing for a while before going to sleep. Waking up the next morning, our to-do list now contains “get more blankets” and “get more pillows,” as the nights are rather on the nippy side. The cold weather would be our steady companion on the trip, and quickly got nick-named “god-fucking-dammit” or just “fuck-shit” for short.

We saunter out of the hotel and eat breakfast next door. I abstain but end up eating Annas fries anyway because I’m an indecisive mooch, and then we’re walking towards the medina. A medina is a walled Arabic area of a north African city, and usually the oldest remaining (still active) part of a city; the one in Sousse seems reserved for small shops selling stuff to tourists. We didn’t get further than ten steps before we were pulled into a store selling carpets, and were forced to take pictures of a woman weaving.


In two hours we covered about 300 metres. I am a person of a gentle disposition and don’t suffer annoying people easily. I was walking in front of our group, and somehow assumed that the others weren’t really interested in buying anything, but rather take in the street. This resulted in me doing a yo-yo walk back and forth along the same streets, every ten seconds looking back and every time realising that the others were standing in front of a stall with sales-persons closing in on them as cats stalking birds: gently but with a focus.

I like the bustling of any city, and it’s really neat to see all these crowded streets with people on mopeds squeezing through narrow alleys. I just don’t approve of being bustled upon as much. This is a naïve approach to things when you’re a tourist, but still.

Those working in the medina quickly proved to know the basics of a shitload of languages. When the others talked Swedish I switched to Polish, but that didn’t throw anyone the slightest. Arabic, French, English, Swedish, Russian, Polish, German, whatever. A result of working with so many tourists (and being dependant on convincing them to buy your stuff instead of your neighbours identical stuff) is that you pick up languages like a sponge out of necessity.


We found a small restaurant run by a friendly guy and took in the view from his rooftop. Anyone living in a place like this is likely to look without understanding on parkour artists – of course you go from roof to roof, it’s the shortest way, are you making a sport out of it?
After food we walked up the hill to a museum that proved to be closed for renovation. We met the light-house keeper, and he let us into the tower which gave us a good view of the city. He told us a bit about the history, and it was fun to listen to someone who didn’t seem hell-bent on selling us something. Except that taking a picture from the tower apparently cost one dinar extra. Of course it does.

Lighthouse in Sousse

We go home, ponder over what to do with our evening and decide to walk until we hear music. Pretty quickly we hear noise and walk into a crowded and run-down place full of men. Men dancing, men talking, men smoking. Our gang increases the female population by 50 percent: it’s a sausage feast

I strike up conversation with Mondo, a friendly guy who helps me hustle the bartenders for cheap alcohol, and then hustles me for a beer. We end up following him to the bar of a hotel close to our own, and walk up the stair into the VIP lounge and buy bottles of fermented figs. Boukha tastes like crap but it’s cheap and the packaging is really nice.


We dance to music that becomes better and better the longer we stay in the room, and coming from Sweden we enjoy being able to smoke indoors. There is a guy with a Casio keyboard singing in Arabic to the general appreciation of the crowd, us included.

In fact, we were so enthusiastic that we inquired about how much it would cost to bring him to Gothenburg. He was hesitantly positive the first time around, but became a bit more reserved with each subsequent visit. It would have helped matters if we all told the same story, and not embellished it with tales of how girls would sleep with him or how famous he would become. Or if we weren’t as visibly inebriated as we were. I get his business card and promis to call first thing in the morning.


Meanwhile, Christoffer is dancing with men. A lot of men. Although we don’t realise it fully until the day after, we have probably stumbled into the only gay bar in town. Not even when someone asks Christoffer to translate “fuck” and then tells him he’s beautiful does he catch the drift, but rather takes it as a general comment on the good atmosphere and shouts “yes, beautiful” while gyrating his hips in imitation of the other men.


My dancing only drew scorn from most of the others, and possibly sniggering. Sine is in the bar with Mondo, who is properly sloshed. He is now openly stealing her money, chasing away anyone who he suspects is competing for our money, and then threatens to kill a hooker that has her eye set on Christoffer. We soon exit, and head across the street to our hotel.

First day and we’re rather happy with the outcome, and sleep like babies (drunk babies) under the new new covers that the friendly porter supplied us with.

Uppåt Framåt! Drinking germs!

Gameknot Ddos attack
Dukoral flaska
Hanna profil

I can’t imagine why someone would try to bring down – it’s the chess site where I hang out and get beat by people from around the world. I guess someone was losing worse than I and decided to kill the server.

To prepare for the trip next week, I drank 10×2510 bacteria, all contained in one small vial of Dukoral. I drank something so tiny containing so many individual organisms and now they gonna help me not shit myself. It’s way cool.

I was reading over the blog of a photo editor, and he commented that some photographers are good at smiling people, others are not. I haven’t thought about it previously, but this platitude actually hit home with me, and I’m definitely not in the “smiling” camp. Above is Hanna trying to ignore the camera.

Uppåt Framåt röv
Anna vid Uppåt Framåt
Uppåt Framåt projektion

I’m all for showing ass by low-hanging pants, but once you do it automatically, withouth being aware of it and not bothering to have pretty underwear, it sort of looks stupid. In this guys case, it wasn’t so much stupid as it was ill-fitting

These are mostly pictures from last wednesday at Uppåt Framåt. I really should update more often. If anyone has a suggestion for a offline blog editor that isn’t annoying while allowing me to scale/crop/upload images and videos, I’ll be all over it like a bucket of semen in a bukkake matinée.

Pär och Sine skjortorAnna grönt
Röda glasögon

And last saturday I was working in a bar until half five in the morning. Working is a good way to:

1) Earn money.
2) Save money.

Which I cannot believe i just wrote. All i want is to sit at the other side of the bar, doodling on a napkin and discretely and shyly watch women in the mirror behind the bartender. While pouring alcohol i had the company of Sine, seen here blowing smoke six in the morning while waiting for a tram.

Sine rökerMateusz sv_vGräs på vägg