I’ve never felt as good as I did while running last year, then lack of time caught up, a cold and I stopped. Now my daughter got me going again. I’d forgotten how great it feels to run along, thinking about nothing and everything. In a few weeks I’ll even be able to run to the bus without dying. It does help having someone to run with and the biggest carrot of all, we live in such a beautiful place! The last week we’ve gone out every other day, exploring parts of the island that we haven’t seen much of before. I’ve gone back afterwards with my camera to take pictures. Yesterday my daughter was knocked with a cold but I decided to go out anyways(she’s getting into shape much faster than me so I’m taking no chances)I followed a tiny trail for about half an hour, the grounds were very wet which was good because it forced me to slow down and do some walking as well. It’s so hard not to over-do it in the beginning. With the mist and the waves along the dark seashore I had to stop myself from running home to get my camera. Here’s a darkroom print from one of our outings the other day:
There’s been some fantastic sunny days and I should have been out taking pictures but as always I do things the wrong way around so I’ve been cooped up in the darkroom instead. I love experimenting but in some ways I’m a person of habit like sticking with the same film and developer, recently everything’s changed. I accidentally ordered the “wrong” film, a new developer and my Swedish retailer stopped selling the Lith developer that I’ve used for years so I had to try a new one from Germany. I’m glad for it! The Lith prints have a lovely “pop” to them and beautiful tones. Feels like I got my mojo back. What’s even better is coming up from the basement after hours in the dark finding out that my husband’s got his baking mojo on. Fresh baguettes, sourdough bread and a large dish of shepherds pie in the oven. My daughter got inspired and decided to try out the new baking book we bought. Also a change in life, I’ve been using the same recipe book all my life, once in a while trying something from the internet but we invested in a new cookie book. She is very pretentious so one type of cookie wasn’t enough instead she declared that we had to try three recipes. The kitchen looked like someone had dropped a flour bomb in there but the cookies were great! Especially the chocolate/almond/peanut ones, gone already.
I have a person doing work practise with me until March. It’s proven the best way to get productive! Monday we packed the bike trolley and ventured down the beach to do wet plates. It was very wet indeed. The air was so cold and clammy that the glass plates kept steaming up but we managed some good plates in the end. Back home we warmed up in the darkroom and made contact prints from the wet plate glass negatives that I made in the studio over the weekend. One is a definite keeper, I think I’m becoming addicted to tulips.
Today the plan was doing more prints in the darkroom but the weather was just irresistible. Sunshine and everything covered in frost. So we went down the beach and the nature reserve with some old cameras and my favourite pinhole camera. Just stunning! I got my mind set on a picture I wanted and ended up getting my feet wet. Haven’t developed the pinhole negatives yet but I’m sure it was worth the pain. Happy, sunny and hungry we returned to develop some rolls of film in Caffenol. This is my favourite way of developing using only coffee, washing soda and vitamin-C, no bad chemicals. Even though I enjoy working on my own it felt great to share the day and also having an assistent on hand. I have a feeling February will be a very productive month!
For quite a while now I’ve been so busy working for my new exhibition that I haven’t had time to do anything else. Up early morning brushing liquid emulsion in the dark, again after a few hours and printing in the darkroom in the evening, every day for two weeks. Then finally after the opening I took my time to go for a morning swim. It was wonderful! They have taken the jetty out of the water so I guess officially swimming season is over but for me it never ends. After a very unpredictable summer with lots of rain, wind and cold temperatures september has turned in to an Indian summer. I got in the water and then heard a noise like it was raining, turned around and there were hundreds of mackerel babies jumping the surface of the water! Then they swam around my legs and disappeared. The day after our next Airbnb guests arrived, all the way from Malaysia, to do a wet plate workshop on their honey moon. For the shoot they had brought traditional Malaysian clothes, we got some great pictures and had so much fun. They ended up cancelling their next accommodation and stayed a bit longer. The morning after the workshop they talked about how nice and relaxing it was but that they wanted to do some “work” even mowing the lawn or something so after me saying three times-You’re not joking right? They mowed my lawn and helped take the hen yard down! Fantastic! The garden looks so much better now without the extended hen yard and the hens are out running free all the time so they don’t really need any space in the hen yard. Hopefully the grass will grow back next year and I’m planting lots of flower bulbs for spring. It sparked my interest in the garden and made me realise that I’ve spent way too much time fretting about work and other things. I realised that I’ve spent more time thinking I have to mow the lawn than it takes actually doing it. I’ve had so many great Airbnb guests since we started renting out but this takes the price. We ended up talking for hours, doing more wet plates and having meals together. Now we’re looking for trips to Malaysia!
August is turning into a wet month… At the weekend all artists on Hönö and surrounding islands opened their studios or homes to the public. Konstvågen (the Art wave) is a yearly thing and this was the fifth year I participated. After the wet plate gathering last week I was really itchy to have some plates done so I gave my last plate holder a little seeing to with sandpaper and tape. It held for 3 portraits before it broke in two pieces. Doesn’t sound much but I was happy with finally making one! The day after I used the smaller camera and took a few more portraits of visitors. The weekend was great with loads of people braving the wind and rain showers. We sold lots of “fika”, hot sauces and pictures and postcards as well. I felt a bit blue on Monday, it was so much fun taking pictures of the public but with my equipment playing up I can’t do it. My husband finally had enough of my whining and told me to just buy a new camera so now I have! I can’t wait for it to arrive!
For the first time wet plate photographers in Sweden gathered together at Donsö, an island in the southern archipelago, to do wet plates and hang out. With last weeks exhibition and one the coming weekend I wasn’t going to come but changed my mind the last minute. Since I hadn’t mixed any collodion recently and my camera holders are broken I didn’t do any photography and ended up being a model instead. Donsö is actually quite close to Hönö but there is no boat or ferry connection between the islands so it took me over two hours to get there by bike, bus, tram and ferry. There are no cars on Donsö, everyone’s got mopeds or golf carts to get around. We set it all up in the woods just by the water. The drawback with wet plate photography is that you need to bring so much stuff, our host had to do countless trips back and forth with all the equipment. It was a great location and we were very lucky with the weather to begin with. I went for a swim and tried to a floating model for one of the photographers, gosh it’s really hard to float without moving! Suddenly the heavens opened up and and the rain started pouring down. I sacrificed my raincoat to save some of the plates that had dried. All we could do was squeeze in to the eskimo tent and wait for it to pass. The rain kind of killed the mood a little bit and we were getting hungry and wet so our host drove us back one by one with all the cameras and plates. The rest of the evening we had a meal together and ended up talking until early hours. So great to get to discuss things with other people who know what you’re talking about and to see how everyone else does their plates. Definitely the beginning of a yearly event!
Out of the fog, yeay! The flu knocked me out for a few weeks but now I’m back on track. Last weekend I had another photographer exhibiting in the gallery. I’d seen his fantastic photographs online and luckily he said yes when I asked him to come here. As usual my husband smoked salmon and baked sourdough bread and every ones favourite the lemon poppy seed cake. We sold many jars of blackcurrant jelly and a new chilli sauce, I call it “No mango sauce” because I thought there was mango in it. It’s yellow and made of canned peaches, apricots and loads of chillies. Goes perfect with chicken, fish and last night I had it on pizza. We had a surprise live music show when my neighbour turned up with his guitar which was much appreciated. He sang with such feeling and stomped the floor I was a little bit worried that he would fall through it. I was a great weekend and I couldn’t help buying one of the pictures for myself. There’s quite a collection growing on my living room wall…