To Be a Kid Again

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To Be a Kid Again. Cusco, Peru, a nice afternoon in December. I lean over the bridge. Observe life in this part of Cusco, outside of the touristy center, this is unfiltered Cusco life. I am quite close to where I am staying, the home of me amigo Adam of PhotoExperience.Net tours. Three boys are playing, throwing rocks at each other. Throw rock, dodge rock, run, pickup a new rock, repeat. Simple, fun. I make a few pictures. My mind wanders. To be a kid again. Don’t ever grow up. Well I never did, but to actually be a kid again. Not that it was always good, nostalgia colours the mind, but still. Fun. Innocent. Safe. Unbroken. No filters. Everything is wonderful or terrible or awesome or sad. Searching for magic and all things amazing. Dreaming, forever the Dreamer. And, in my case, sprinting around our farm with a lightsabre I constructed (your skills are now complete). Willing myself to run so fast I would hopefully fly into space. Has not worked yet but it might one day.

Mind returns to Cusco. I make a few more pictures as the boys run under the bridge and disappear. I see them throwing rocks still as they emerge on the other side, laughing. I smile. Gracias. For the memory trip. The pictures. Small moments that are really the big moments. Back to attempting to run fast enough to fly into space.

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The Making of. I have used this technique in my latest books Skyvandrer and Diario Del Peru and since I am often asked how I create these cut-out and pencil effects, here is a quick recap, it is not rocket science. I write my words on a piece of paper and photograph them. Then I erase the background in Photoshop so I can save it as a transparent PNG file. I need it to be transparent so I don’t have a white background, so I can place the items on top of other items or a background and it will look very real. The image of the boys was printed out, then I tore up the paper, then I doodled on it, photographed it and carefully removed the background and saved as transparent PNG. I leave a bit of the shadow so it looks quite realistic. I have also sometimes written directly in Photoshop using my Wacom tablet, saves a bit of time. That is it really, easy, very fun, go for it!

Any questions about the process or how to make your own lightsaber, let me know.

Peru PhotoExperience.Net Workshop 2013

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Peru…the word itself has taken on a rather magical meaning. In 2011 and 2012 I spent some time in Peru, and one of the things I did there was to attend the PhotoExperience.net photographic workshop, run by Adam L. Weintraub and with Daniel Milnor as our teacher. I have written extensively about Peru and the workshop, suffice to say it is one of the best places I have ever visited in 4 years of timetraveling and the workshop is one of the best things I have ever done.

Sketches of Perú: A Photographic Exploration with Cultural and Culinary Highlights – July 9th – 23rd 2013

Adam is running the workshop again this year, with Daniel as the teacher and I want to give you an idea of why you should quite possibly sell a kidney or similar to attend this!
First off there is the wonderful country and people of Peru. I have been around the world 4 times and Peru is somewhat magical. It really is that special, the incredibly colourful smiling friendly people, the amazing landscapes, history, culture, Inca ruins, Inca cola (no not really hehe, don’t drink that stuff), Cusco, markets, chaos, music, traditions, festivals, funny hats, animals, craft, intense, edgy, beautiful, so beautiful, so dramatic, amazing food, heat, cold, fruit, amazon river, dancing, laughter, hardship, the list goes on. Peru has it all and it has burned a permanent impression into my brain, touched my soul. I would go back in a heartbeat. Oh and the photographic opportunities are bar none, there simply are very few places like Peru where the opportunities to make photos are so plentiful.
The workshop itself is so much more, it’s a workshop, a tour, a trip, a travel and culinary experience run to perfection by Adam, who lives in Cusco and knows Peru like few others, knows the people the places. Adam has organized everything, it runs so smoothly you have not a worry in the world, you just need to show up, have FUN and make many pictures and LEARN and LAUGH every moment.
The workshop focuses on storytelling, connecting with people and working in the field, making pictures, doing edits, presenting your stories to the group. This is not a technique or theoretical workshop, this is real life photography, everyday we were out there doing stories, making pictures, doing edits, presenting the stories, giving feedback, always learning. Adam and Daniel will be with you in the field, out shooting festivals, Macchu Pichu etc, and you will get direct feedback on how you work and interact with people in the field, where you are standing, what you are seeing, maybe what you missed. It is a truly great way to learn as Dan can tell you “yeah I saw you there and thought that was good but you should get closer, sit down, etc” – by far my favourite way to learn, I like doing things with one-on-one tutoring, classrooms bore me greatly. This is intense and hands-on and very tangible feedback, if you put in the effort with an open mind you can learn and improve your photography greatly.
In short, if you are doing one workshop this year, I would seriously recommend this as the best option out there. The itinerary this year is new and it is just looking unreal. I have not even mentioned the Amazon extension which is highly recommended too, and an awesome (and so much fun) conclusion after the workshop.

  • Read more about the workshop here on PhotoExperience.Net
  • Check out my stories on Peru here, these are 3 of the stories I created during the workshop: Christmas in the barrios, Peru Photo Story: Solitude, Inca Ruins of Moray
  • Read much more about the workshop on Daniel’s blog, here’s the link to Peru posts. Do especially read Workshop Photography: What to Expect.

    And then, not saying you should rob a bank, but really, rob a bank and book this workshop!


  • Tales of Twenty Twelve

    Time

    Not normally one to keep track of time at all, time is not the boss of me. But some of the calendars some humans use shall soon reset themselves, 2012 is all but used, 2013 is waiting anxiously to shine – so let me tell a few Tales of Twenty Twelve. It has been rather epic. Also, I am wearing the word epic rather thin. So much to see out there before it all fades away. I made so many pictures in 2012, only a tiny few have been shown on the blog. Many are featured in my books. Even more are waiting to have their chance to be part of future projects. Here is but a few – a few words a few pictures. Mind is fragmented, writing this while sick, first Winter in 4 years has my body and mind in shock, so I expect to make little sense. Read on at own risk.

    Perú

    Began the year in Peru, in Machu Picchu, with the Photoexperience.net workshop crew. Terribly sick but also terribly excited. Early morning, wind, fog, rain, white plastic rain ponchos, perfect conditions for some surreal black and white images. And I’m wearing my Slayers yellow Machu Picchu Superman undies. Which won’t make sense to most people. But for those in the know, you know every image comes out magic when you wear the Slayers, especially January 1st as yellow is good luck in Peru. Not good luck for my stomach but perhaps good photo luck.

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    On a boat and in the jungle of the legendary Amazon, legendary events unfolded featuring the workshop giggle crew. Jumping spiders nearly killing me. Half the crew drinking pisco straight out of the bottle, possibly slightly scaring our Amazon guide. Re-enacting Star Wars on a boat including all sound effects. Blinding small animals on a nocturnal jungle walk. Watching birds eat mud at 4am while sleeping folded up on a folding chair. And just because I can and am somewhat loco, writing ‘Jedi’ as occupation in every log book we had to sign at research stations. Ended the Peru tale with a macabre yet fascinating Peru tradition, cockfighting.

    Cockfight, Cusco, Peru

    Chile

    Touched Chile briefly but I basically only saw 4 days of the back garden of my B&B in Santiago plus a few walks in the city, while I tried to recover from an alien invasion of stomachs, no hang on, an alien invasion in my stomach. Chile, I owe you a proper visit sans alien stomach invasion. What I saw I liked.

    Australia

    Then splashed down in my time-machine in my second home, Fremantle in Australia and spent a wonderful Summer there in Upside-Down country with great dear friends, living on the great boat Polaris. Epic fun with partners in all things epicness, swimming, diving, shooting, exhibiting, sunbaking, and a helluva lot of laughter. That is yours truly free-diving with seals, magical epic experience, captured by Epic Inc partner Mark Stothard, featured in the sunset image as a silhouette dude chasing the light at Rottnest Island, most magical of places, keep it a secret.

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    Denmark

    Spent some nice time in Denmark cooking up my Diario del Peru book, doing some mad and magic Summer raving with dear friends and family and making pictures for some of the Summer festivals – pictures I love, that are opening doors for me, pictures that have taken on a life of their own. Summer in Denmark is as awesome as Winter in Denmark is truly un-endurable darkness and cold. Summer in Copenhagen is neverending days, neverending outdoor festivals, neverending magic with friends, all in mostly shitty Summer weather but all fun.

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    New Mexico

    New Mexico provided many a mad and magic moment. Created a documentary about Daniel Milnor, soon to be released. Invented the Cowboys & Aliens RaveMobile Mad and Magic Raving tour with Charlene Winfred. Experienced Freedom like never before. Stood on a spaceway, stood IN a Very Large Array dish (VLA I AM INSIDE YOU! never gets old), saw 1500 pounds of bull trying to kill the rider at a rodeo, saw high school football players playing their heart out, saw cowboys, ate A LOT of green chile burgers, experienced magic. NM, I salute you. Well done, state of all things crazy, weird and awesome. I am hooked.

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    FBJ at night at VLA

    Nomad

    Funny old life this time-traveling nomad life. Can’t always keep it straight in my head. Closing in on Four Times Around the Sun as a nomad. Time is timey-wimey, circular, and mostly irrelevant for me. Funny old life, time-traveling. Not the healthiest of life styles. Often my life makes no sense and it bothers me. But it’s simply life and still just life, like our world, it is amazing and awful, funny and sad, highs and lows, good and bad choices. It is a strange, dark, mad life and world, so much beauty and so much despair. So much yet to see. So very addictive. Hate it, love it, totally addicted to it now. Not giving it up anytime soon. Onwards and forwards.

    Twenty Thirteen

    2013 will see me in Brazil in just a few weeks, more on that in an upcoming blog post. You Watch Me Run. Merry Christmas, and a happy new year. Y’all come back now!
    (it’s a really funny joke if you were there. Leaving a Billy The Kid museum we were told “y’all come back now”!)

    Blog posts I particularly liked writing in 2012


    DOKUMENTAR II and Beat Poet Groove: Mini Portfolio Books

    I recently made two Blurb books, two new mini portfolios. The idea is to always carry these books, every day, so whenever I am out shooting and want to convey to people I meet what I’m after, what I’m doing, I have these books. It is incredibly helpful and really can help make connections and open doors, to carry these mini-portfolios and be instantly able to show people what you are doing, that this is serious work for me, and often this means people are more than willing to help get the images I like. The books are small Blurb 6×9 tradebooks, thin and light and inexpensive and great fun to make.

    DOKUMENTAR II

    A portfolio of my documentary from the past year or so, this is an update of the DOKUMENTAR I book.

    DOKUMENTAR II – click here to order in the Blurb Book shop for 15 EUROS

    BEAT POET GROOVE

    This book is specifically to show my work with musicians:

    BEAT POET GROOVE – click here to order in the Blurb book shop for 15 EUROS

    Bolivia Remembered

    Bolivia, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, December 2011. The camera stares at, grins at me lying on my hostel bed in tropical heat–I shoot angry glares back. The camera has been kicking my butt every day for some weeks and I hate it right now. Despise photography. But I need to pick it up and go create something. Need an outlet. A dark storm hovers in my mind, I am depressed, all purpose seems lost and recent events including a suicide made me fall in a black hole devoid of all light. I walk the world feeling completely disconnected from human life. Despising myself and my existence. As always, light this bright casts some very dark shadows. Despite an abundance of sun light in tropical Santa Cruz I have been in the shadows for days. I like extremes–I seek extremes. Fitting then I guess, that I am in the darkest of moods in the brightest of warm tropical weather.

    Get out. Walk. Standing still never worked for me. Must keep moving. Or shadows catch up. Grab the damn camera and walk, walk the streets of this hot, weird and interesting melting pot of a city. Get out of this hostel from hell. Walk, damn legs, walk. A market appears. A gigantic chaotic market bigger than any market I have seen in Asia or anywhere else. A world inside a world. No hiding here. Not a single gringo in sight anywhere. I break out the camera. Channel my darkness into looking, seeing, shooting, making images.

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    Flemming-Bo-Jensen-Bolivia-Santa-Cruz-street-women

    These are two of my favourite pictures from Bolivia and I like putting them together. They look like one image, almost. The top image is from the street I lived on and an easy image to make. The second image is my favourite from Bolivia, women at the largest market ever in the history of all markets–that I have been to. Filled at least 15 square city blocks. Hard to shoot this image. NO ONE wanted to be part of any photos. Had to steal images as I walked around being the most noticeable person in the entire city.

    Memories are funny. These words are written about a year after the images were made. And I want to return to Bolivia. Have been on my mind recently. Calls me back. It is one of the hardest places to work in that I have experienced. I was in a dark, dark place for the 10 days I was there. But it was a very interesting place filled with awesome people and places of contrast and extremes. That’s why I want to return of course. The challenge. And I need the extremes. To create. To feel alive.

    Santa Cruz de la Sierra: Markets

    Crowded, chaotic, anarcy, action, trading, food, smells, clothes, spices, people, shouting, more people, people everywhere. And in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia and in the biggest market I have ever witnessed, you can add this to the list: tropic humidity, 36c degrees heat, scooters, TVs, speakers, cars, motorbikes, pirated DVDs, shoes, perfume, soap, Christmas decorations, anything and everything, fried chickens, live chickens from a place called Pollo Batman and many many thousands of people including a few mennonites and one gringo, yours truly. I am big fan of markets, especially in Asia and South America. I love the chaos, the people, the food, the smells, the anarchy, there appears to be no rules but it all works. How exactly do they get this unbelievable amount of stuff to and from the street stalls each day?

    Trying to make visual sense of any of this can be almost impossible but it is much fun. Apart from the mennonites, I am at least a foot taller than anyone else here. Heck, I’m even taller than the booths and whoever invented those ugly coloured plastic market tents are pure evil. Not good for photography. But it’s fun to shoot markets. I stalk the mennonites as they stick out as I do and provide some interesting contrast. Plenty people stop me and want to buy my Fuji X100. No amigo, I need my precious. This market is maybe 12-15 city blocks. Maybe it never ends. It is daunting in size. I walk and walk and get halfway lost and shoot and get stared it a lot and shoot some more, and walk some more, people duck my camera, no one likes the camera here, if I get just one image I like from today I am fine. Keep walking, keep shooting, so much crazyness going on, I like crazyness, fit right in. Always carry the camera, snap, move, think fast, try not to step on a chicken. The markets of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

    DOKUMENTAR: Mini-portfolio book

    DOKUMENTAR is Danish for documentary — the rest of the Danish language is not quite that easy. I recently created a small mini-portfolio book, 40 pages, 40 images of documentary work from the past year. The idea is to always carry this book, every day, so whenever I am out shooting and want to convey to people I meet what I’m after, what I’m doing, I have this book. It’s a Blurb tradebook, 6×9 inches, and nicely thin and light being only 40 pages. The idea of carrying small books in the field comes from me amigo Daniel Milnor.

    The book uses a rotated spread as you can see and that works quite well. Book making is ridiculously fun and addictive, it does not always have to be 3-5 month massive projects like my previous two books, this one was done in 2 very fun creative hours of editing, sequencing and bookmaking. I look forward to showing this to people in the field as I work and try to convey what I am doing, what I’m looking for, hoping this will help break down barriers, build trust and start communication (as far as I’m able to communicate with humans that is!).

    You can purchase the book for 15 EUROS from Blurb, click here.