Sixteen years ago I drove around South Iceland and photographed. Made a few prints in a darkroom somewhere in downtown Reykjavík, among others one of this waterfall. Put them in envelopes and applied at art schools.
Still think about who he was and which photos he sent in an envelope the guy I met in the stairs on my way to the interview, he who sat and held his head in his hands and I never saw again but got in myself, more to my surprise as time goes by and I think back on those photographs. Ohwell, #life.
(Initially written in my native language. I really shouldn’t try to translate myself)
Looking at old negatives, since so long ago that I can hardly remember a single frame. Or was it that I don’t remember anything anymore?
It is, no it has some value, looking back at oneself like this. I think. That’s how I see these negs basically, as some sort of a mirror image of a former self, which has to be—to a considerable degree—what makes up the current self. Ohdear. This is beginning to sound like a country pop tune, a pretty bad one.
Anyway here’s a square photograph not taken with any of the square cameras I’ve had because I haven’t yet scanned any of them. No, it’s because the ones that I have scanned are totally uninteresting just now.
This was supposed to be the post where I went Ok, time to snap out of it. That’ll be the next one. If nothing unexpected shows up to spoil the plan.
Twelve years ago I stood here, about to pack my bags and go home. Still here.
Twelve years, 144 months. Bunch of days. A lot can happen in twelve years, a lot has. And a lot hasn’t.
It all looks real good though, on the surface. Wait, no. It doesn’t.
I’m the guy with the three rusty Saabs in the driveway. Two of them without licence plates. I always buy Saabs, they’ve proven good for me.
And the two—I’m gonna rebuild them. Gonna.
Winter, 1989. Female singer, acoustic instrument, drama. Snow, wind, alcohol, darkness—literal. Insecurity. The smell of cold. Friendship before realizing friendships go south. Anchor. Home.
Just after I got the soup a man came into the café. He had a small rucksack and an instrument, hadn’t shaved for some days. Carried himself humbly.
He didn’t order anything but went straight downstairs, that’s where the restrooms are. Shortly afterwards, on his way out, every step an effort not to be noticed. As the door closed behind him he stopped for just a moment on the steps outside, as if he had nowhere to go and needed to make an impromptu decision if he should take a left or a right. I was just about to finish my soup, and I noticed how the keys felt a little uncomfortable in my pocket, the housekeys in my pocket.
A long time ago I met a young man. He was very generous to me. Later he asked me to return the favour. I didn’t know how to respond to it. Time passed. In the end I never did.
For years I had no idea how to make sense of it. And beat myself up about it in every way imaginable, casting shame as one of the lead actors.
Later I learned a few things about the elements involved.
One might be tempted to think that after finally getting to the bottom of something like this—that’s an overstatement I suppose but at least, after gaining a much greater understanding of it—I should know the signs and be able to spot them from a distance. Afraid not. Behavioural mechanisms* tend to get firmly integrated, the only thing that is different since then is that now it sometimes doesn’t take as long to see them, the signs, in the rear view mirror, after all is said and done. Or nothing was said and done.
Shame still in the leading role.
*can’t believe I just said that