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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EXTRA 4 - Tourists at Machu Pichu_100pc

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


Diario del Peru – limited edition photo book

PERU. It crawled under my skin. Affected my soul. Four weeks in Peru deeply touched the somewhat jaded traveling me. There is an energy to life here. A rawness, anarchy, hardship and smiles. A chaotic mix full of contrasts and absurdities that overwhelm, overtake and charm me. The friendliness and hospitality of the people of Peru is very special. It crawled under my skin. Affected my soul. La Alma del Perú.
This is a visual diary of La Alma del Perú. The soul of Peru. It got under my skin and into my blood. I want it to stay there.

I am proud and happy to present my new photo book – Diario del Perú. A visual diary of my time in Peru in 2011/2012. The most personal images and project I have done. I poured my life and soul into these images and this book. My most personal and best work ever, 120 pages of images, black and white and colour, presented in a diary style 15x23cm Blurb tradebook. Also available in a special handmade limited edition, only 25 copies!

Diario del Perú – Limited Edition

There are 25 numbered and signed limited editions of Diario del Perú. The limited edition is wrapped like a leather-like notebook, and it features a handwritten certificate (not shown in the video), a signed 14x14cm fine-art print and a signed numbered copy of Diario del Perú. The limited edition is hand made by yours truly. Read more about the making of later in this post.

The limited edition is priced at 60 EUROS / 450 DKR (about 75 USD/AUD) + shipping.

UPDATE: 12 out of 25 are already sold, so if you are interested, contact me quickly at mail@flemmingbojensen.com

Video of Diario del Perú

Diario del Perú – book preview

Preview a small part of the book, a few random pages — full book is 120 pages.

The making of ‘Diario del Peru’

Some of images were made during my stay in Cusco, Peru outside of the workshop and some of the images were made on the outstanding PhotoExperience.Net workshop in Peru with Adam L. Weintraub and Daniel Milnor. Things I had been working on a for a while, shoot personal images, documentary work, only my kind of images, work like there’s no audience, shoot only for me, pour myself and dare to pour my dark side into the work — all started to click during the workshop. On top of that, we had a million laughs as well, thanks to the whole Sounds of Laughter ‘pisco’ crew!

Back in January, at my 2nd home in Australia, I made small prints of all of the Peru images I had made that were interesting in some way. 185 prints spread all over the good boat Polaris, many fun hours of editing and re-shuffling followed. Small prints rock. Print all your work and scatter it all over the floor if you’re doing a book or an edit. Just awesome.

The first version and design of Diario del Perú ended up on the cutting room floor in April, as it was simply wrong. A new version, styled and themed like a diary, less traditional grouping of images and more personal approach was created, Charlene whipping my thinking away from traditional photo books. An old paper background was added, handwriting, shuffling and re-ordering the images in a less orderly fashion, less organized as well. The cover is an image of an actual notebook of mine, I added a leather string and a print from Peru, I crushed the print and spilled coffee on it to age it. I photographed items from my journey and added them to the book, I added my handwriting by photographing pencil written sentences. Every page has a background of old worn paper. All of it to make it a personal book, and a book that feels like it is my diary.

The book mixes colour and black and white images in the same book, which most will tell you is extremely hard to make work. Someone has to attempt it though, and I don’t mind failing as long as I’m doing, trying and learning, might as well fail spectacularly if I’m going to fail! Also, someone telling me I can’t do something, is a red cloth in front of me and means I definitely MUST try and do it. To paraphrase Neil Gaiman “if you don’t know it’s impossible (or supposed to be impossible), it’s much easier to do!”.

Right from the beginning I had this idea of a special limited edition feat. the book, a print, a certificate in a special box. I spent days and days searching all over Copenhagen for some kind of wrap or box for the limited edition. Custom made boxes proved far too expensive, also they’re too neat for this style of diary. Then I tried envelopes but never found one that felt old and right. All far too neat. Looking at the cover and my own leather journal, the idea of the leather wrap was born. I purchased some imitation leather that looks the part without being too expensive and bought leather strings, had the fine-art prints done, hand wrote the certificates — assembled 25 copies on the floor of my sister’s flat (thanks Sis!), signed, numbered, and glued a small title image to the leather wrap — and the limited edition was complete. Basically on a budget of zero as that’s the discipline of my nomad life. So here’s hoping the book sells, so I can make more books!

The promotion video was captured on my Fuji X-pro1 and edited in Premiere. Book was designed in Indesign. Images captured on both Canon 5D Mk II and a Fuji X100 (which when you get it right, matches the 5D in image quality). The book is published by Blurb.com. Prints in limited edition by the brilliant Grafik & Foto. Limited edition, like everything in the book process, entirely created and handmade by me.

The book was a collaborative effort between me and my friend and editor Charlene Winfred. Once again, Charlene supplied editing magic, support, ideas and inputs. Thanks so much my friend. Do contact Charlene if you’re in need of an editor (and awesome photographer). A big gracias as well to my fellow Jedi brother, Daniel Milnor for very valuable inputs. Adam L. Weintraub of PhotoExperience.Net for running a brilliant workshop and great friendship and hospitality in Peru.

Diario del Perú slideshow including behind the scenes

Purchase Diario del Perú – limited edition


The limited edition is priced at 60 EUROS / 450 DKR (about 75 USD/AUD) + shipping.
10 out of 25 are already sold, so if you are interested,
contact me quickly at mail@flemmingbojensen.com

Purchase Diario del Perú – book only


The book only is ordered directly from Blurb.com.
Book only is priced at 27 EUROS (about 200 DKR, 34 USD/AUD) + shipping and local VAT.
Diario del Perú – click here to order from Blurb.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Peru Photo Story: Inca ruins of Moray

Our spaceship made quite an impression in the ground when we landed here, is my first thought as I look down at the Inca ruins of Moray in Peru. My mind is a bit warped. Memories of spaceships are interrupted by Daniel Milnor – “Give me a story. You have an hour to shoot this site, give me 5-7 images, I’m your editor, there’s 400 bucks in it if you pull it off, if not you’re fired, it’s tough times in the magazine world”. I better get to work and the result is photo essay 4 from the brilliant Photoexperience.Net workshop in Peru:

While not my favourite photo story from Peru, it is possibly my favourite ‘assignment’. A good and fun challenge to produce a story at this location, I am not that excited by ruins so without the assignment I possibly would not have shot much. With the photo story assignment in mind, the location became quite exciting and I stalked all the tourists up and down to get shots. It is a great way to work, create mini stories every place you go, I find that it really helps me to have that mindset, creating picture packages. Dan has written more about picture packages on his blog.

Some of the photos are interesting failures, ie I do not know what happened to my focusing in image 1. Some of them I quite like, image 8 is one of my favourite images from Peru, showcasing the Inca ruins versus surreal modern day Peru where souvenirs are sold by women in traditional dresses. How well the picture package works as a whole? Have not been ‘paid’ nor ‘fired’ yet, so possibly the jury is still out as we ran out of time (we were busy with important things like consuming pisco) to do group review four where I would have presented my story — Spaceship landing site at inca ruins of Moray.

Copenhagen Photo Festival meets Peru

Prints, prints, glorious prints. Presently fifteen 6×8 prints and 185 much smaller prints, all from my Peru work, grace the floor of the boat. Attempting to produce an edit that will be my submission for exhibiting at the Copenhagen Photo Festival in June. Some of the exhibitions last year impressed me much, and I have decided to submit an application.

It has been almost 3 years. 3 years since I took off for Namibia in April 2009, starting my current life as a time traveling photographer gypsy. It seems like 30 years in some ways although I naturally remember take-off as it was yesterday. Everything seems like yesterday. Everything seems like a long, long time ago. So many memories. When I return to Copenhagen I shall look for a new home and a job. A rooted existence – for a while anyway.

The Copenhagen Photo Festival then, is perfect timing for my first exhibition in Copenhagen. This has me rather excited. It would mean a tremendous lot to me to exhibit in my home city. Showing friends and family and everyone a small taste of my work, my travels, my life on the road. Not feeling the need to explain or justify, but feeling the need to share, yes it would have enormous personal meaning for me.

In the words of Tim Winton, because his words are much better than mine -

“…to be remembered as someone who did something completely pointless and beautiful. In this at least, he should need no explanation.”

My submission features work from Peru. It is my most current work, best work and the work which excites me the most. It is documentary images and my edit will hopefully tell interesting stories in an exhibition. I daydream of a larger exhibition featuring all 3 years. First, let us see how this application fares. Fingers crossed, use the force — this is the application you have been looking for.

(In Peru with Adam Weintraub on PhotoExperience.net workshop)

Coliseo de Gallos

One of the ever present tiny taxis of Cusco, Peru, takes me to the Coliseo de Gallos. The driver is chatty and although I miss half the words due to my basic Spanish and the noise from the engine threatening to blow up, we have a fine conversation. He is excited to be bringing a gringo to the event. Wants to know if I enjoy them, the fights, the betting, the action. “No se amigo” — I would not know, this is my first!

Six soles and a hasta lluego later, I have arrived. I look for el boletero, where do I buy my ticket? Confounded, I look at others and reverse engineer. A tiny hole in the wall, not much bigger than my hand, holds the secret to getting in. 30 soles and a ticket are exchanged. All I see is a hand, I wonder what is at the other end. I forget about my stomach ache and my cold and excitedly enter the Coliseo. The coliseum houses a famous and infamous Peruvian tradition – cockfights.

It appears to be a quiet day, the coliseum is barely half full. It is an overcast cold Summer day. Still, the air is filled with anticipation, laughter and a thirst for action (and Cusqueña cervesas). I am the only gringo, I circle and become familiar with the place, the people, the action. I capture a few images on the edge, easing my way in. A fight is about to start. The roosters are fitted with the long sharp silvery spurs. “Izquierda”, “derecho”. Bets are made on the left or right side rooster. The tension builds. I ask for permission to enter the arena and shoot the preparations, am granted a “si si amigo” with a friendly smile and waved into the arena. Everyone reminds me “sin flash sin flash amigo!”. Claro, no problemo. No flash shooting for me, I do not wish to see a rooster in a blinded-by-the-flash freaked out rage chase me around the arena with a silver knife strapped to it’s leg (others might find that idea quite amusing though).

We leave the arena, the fight begins, the roosters circle each other. First fight is non dramatic, the roosters do not want to engage despite much egging on by the crowd and managers. “This was not so bad” I think, not really liking the whole concept of humans making animals fight. Next fight, different story. Rooster Derecho is violently slain dead in 30 seconds by a vicious rooster Izquierda. Crowd is excited. Stunned, I stop shooting. Loco. That was insane, dramatic, violent and bloody. The whole place is insane. And very interesting. Steeped in tradition, culture, violence, betting, life death and anarchy. Loud music is pumped out between the fights. Beer, lots of beer is inhaled. I must keep shooting and pick up the camera again.

The music is muted. Anticipation is high, tension can be tasted in the air. Final bets are made. New fights begin. Working the scene is a joy as it usually is in Peru, everyone allows me to go where I like. And get in close. This is intense, this odd micro cosmos contained within the Coliseo.

Two hours pass quickly, I walk out the gates and re-enter Cusco, insert myself into another tiny taxi, taking me to an Indian restaurant to meet Adam Weintraub and family. Loco. This whole day has been insane. And rather awesome. Started off the day in the Amazon jungle, returned to Cusco, experienced a very Peruvian event, the cockfights, and am now at an Indian restaurant with my Cusco friends. Only in Peru.

Thanks to Adam, Carlos and Maria for the Coliseo de Gallos experience.

Aventuras de América Del Sur

An adventure it was, an adventure featuring classical elements. Lows, highs, challenges, disappointments, adversity, darkness, light, sadness, solitude, tears and smiles. Got a bit bumpy in the middle there, but it all sort of worked out in the end. The story of my life. But let me backtrack some.

July 2011, Copenhagen. I talk to Daniel Milnor and Adam Weintraub and soon after excitedly sign up for the PhotoExperience.Net workshop in Peru in December. The thought then becomes, with no other plans and since I am going to Peru, might as well inflate the trip into a couple of months of exploration of this, for me unknown continent. In my mind are day dreams of a South American adventure, jumping around the continent in my ‘time machine’ from country to country, capturing the lives of the people of América Del Sur. Dreams that have nothing to do with real life as we know it. Story of my life. Tend to day dream out loud and then get bruised as dreams meet reality head on.

1st of November 2011. The day has come, it is time for take-off. Time in Copenhagen stretched and warped, simultaneously feeling slow and fast. Now, sitting in the airport, time ran out, ran much too quickly. Not ready to go, not ready to stay, not prepared.

Argentina. So begins the Adventure of South America. Splashed down in Buenos Aires in my time machine. Big city, not at all my thing and not expecting to like it, but liked it even less than I expected. Saving grace was the fantastic Valentin and Ava, their brilliant B&B and the wonderful fellow guests. Finally meeting longtime acquaintance, adventurer and photographer extraordinaire and member of The Explorers ClubDaniel Fox – was also a true pleasure.

My mind balked at traveling again. Had been stalling for months meaning I had prepared nothing for this trip, apart from learning Spanish. Any attempt at preparation depressed me. What I do is not even really traveling, having no home means I am always, and I am never traveling. Just living in different places in the world. A lifestyle I no longer wanted, could no longer justify to myself. No purpose, no direction, drifting and feeling I was not much to anyone. Or not enough, anyway. Not really ready to leave Copenhagen, yet not really ready to stay. Living out of a bag, the constant transport and instability was not something my mind wanted any part of again. Buenos Aires served a purpose, it made it crystal clear what I did not want. To live as a nomad anymore. And made it crystal clear what I wanted. A home and everyday life again in Copenhagen near old friends and family. This decision gave me some much needed inner peace and strength. Somewhere in my mind a few gears clicked and started working. I finally knew I was going to be ok. In that respect I thank Buenos Aires. So I came close to giving up right away, as I saw no purpose anymore, but escaped to Salta in the Andes Mountains, hoping I would make it to the workshop in Peru.

Landing in Salta, this warm, dry and dusty desert town instantly appealed to me. Decided to find a place to hole up for a spell. Or I would go crazy, or go home – or both. Fortunately I found a nice house to rent. A house in an interesting poorer and very non-touristy part of Salta, me being the only gringo on the streets. Dusty dry streets and run down houses, cobwebs could blow across the street while gauchos slowly ride by and it would fit right in.

It was an interesting experience living in Salta for 5 weeks. Having the house and the very warm dry Summer of Salta calmed my mind. The surrounding areas and landscapes are very special and beautiful, the villages and people very interesting. Ultimately though, also a very frustrating and very lonely experience. Did not want to move, did not want to stay. Tired, the kind of tired sleep does not cure. Been on the road for too long. Really, just wanted out of my nomad lifestyle, but now that I was here in South America, must make it to the Peru workshop. Photography in Salta proved very hard. Explained in Spanish who I was and what I was doing and got to know some of the neighbors – but most people did not at all like the fact I was on the streets making pictures, and refused portraits. Sometimes drawing accusing and suspicious looks and not many smiles. Being much too sensitive to ignore this tension I grew disillusioned with my work and the nomad life I no longer wanted. Told myself that sometimes it takes a while to ‘get going’ but nothing really ever got going, running the time machine on an empty tank.

When time came to move, my mind broke down at the looming prospect of new instability. The very same day of packing my things, the last day in Salta, an acquaintance of mine in Copenhagen committed suicide. Not a close friend, but an amazing person and it affected me very deeply, sending me to a dark and lonely place. Came within a mouse click of going home to Copenhagen.

Instead, arrived in tropical Santa Cruz of Bolivia. Spent a few days and ultimately decided to weather the storm in my mind. I desperately wanted to make it to Peru and the workshop, the purpose for going to América Del Sur. My otherwise quite awful hostal had a nice swimming pool and tropical weather agrees with me. The food was much better than Argentina and cheaper, so I tried to be good to myself.

Next stop was La Paz. The first time that I actually let out a ‘wow’ in América Del Sur. The airport is located at 4km altitude in the Andes mountains. After landing, a drive down the mountainside suddenly and dramatically reveals La Paz. Mad, impossible La Paz, desperately clinging to the sides of a steep valley. Only the discovery of gold could produce a city in such a surreal location. La Paz takes your breath away. Literally. The 3.7km altitude, thin air and very steep streets are a trying combination. The ‘wow’ was short-lived. It rained an awful lot and was extremely cold, my mood was dark. Working was even harder than in Argentina. What little inspiration and energy I had left for photography, and travel, I lost.

Arriving in Cusco, Peru, and meeting me amigo, the awesome Adam Weintraub was a great relief. The workshop with Dan Milnor and Adam was now only a week away, the reason for going, the reason for not giving up. Stayed at Adam’s B&B enjoying the great hospitality of Adam and his family, and recharging internal batteries. Cusco is a fascinating and cool city full of great people. First time I got a ‘si si!’ to making a portrait of a person I was so surprised I screwed up the image. The cold weather took it’s heavy toll but the workshop was now very close.

The PhotoExperience.net workshop I have already spoken highly of in previous stories from Peru. It was a phenomenal experience and also a million laughs, very sorely needed. The workshop was worth the wait and even surpassing expectations. The fact I ended the workshop quite ill does not diminish of a fantastic time with fantastic people in wonderful Peru. The workshop challenged and rekindled my drive for photography, and especially documentary photography. My thanks to the whole workshop gang, the ‘giggle crew’, have not laughed that much that hard for that long. Peru and the workshop was a great high, a great end.

My Aventuras de América Del Sur ended in Santiago, Chile. Really just a few days of pit-stop waiting for my flight to Australia. Disliking big cities even when I am not sick, time was spent in the garden of my nice B&B recharging and recovering in the lovely warm Chilean Summer. Feeling slightly better, I boarded the plane for 24 hours of time travel to Perth, Western Australia.

So it ended, the América Del Sur adventure.
Got a bit bumpy there in the middle but it worked out in the end. The story of my life.


Postface

Not quite sure why I am even writing this post, except I feel I need to. My time machine has now brought me from the Amazon jungle in Peru to the other side of the world in a matter of days, to the sunny and warm Western Australian summer, visiting wonderful friends. Healthy again and re-charged, I look back with a different perspective. I realise that despite of, perhaps because of the hardship, América Del Sur very much crawled under my skin. Especially Peru affected my soul. The anarchy, chaos, energy, life, landscapes, villages and most of all wonderful people of Peru with their smiles and incredible hospitality left a deep impression. I feel drawn back to Peru.

Waves of homesickness hits me presently, and I seriously look forward to being home and creating the next phase in Copenhagen. Awfully exciting actually. I have traveled enough, for now. Seen enough, for now. Though, as much as it can hurt, I am not sure I ever want to stop daydreaming out loud. Only moderate it some. Questions enter my mind, with all I have seen, all I have done, can I just go back? Will it drive me crazy? Perhaps, but a life in Copenhagen is now what I want.

Whatever happens, it will be exciting. Whatever happens, I will be ok. Whatever happens, it will be another adventure, probably featuring all the classical elements.

Peru Photo Story: Solitude

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The Andes. Ancient and majestic mountains, windy, cold and unforgiving. The road snakes through the desolate and uninviting landscape. The sky is white, the wind fierce and colours are muted to a stark monochrome mood. Yet, here in this extreme environment people live and make their lives.

More a mood than a story, these pictures were made in the Andes mountains of Peru driving from Arequipa to Chivay. This was the third story I submitted for the group reviews in the brilliant Adam Weintraub PhotoExperience.net workshop with Daniel Milnor.

The solitude spoke to me instantly. I know it well having mapped out that feeling intensely. I chose black and white as I wished to do a different story at this time in the workshop, and it enhances the mood of the harsh environment. The 2nd to last image is easily omitted but I wanted to bring the traveler into this environment, 4 kilometers altitude, unforgiving, uninviting, fascinating.