Unintentional film stills


Looking back through the images taken from Rome's Eur district I was struck by a sort of half-formed narrative slowly appearing within the shots. The place was deserted, the whites and greys of the buildings adding an unsettling stillness upon the entire area - the only sign of life was the traffic on the wide boulevards, and Italy's small Fiats swerving around roundabouts at speed looked nearly comical in comparison to the towering architecture above. (which, out of habit or disinterest, the drivers ignored.)
These starkly impressive monuments to fascism loom over you like a held-in breath. It creates a cinematic and palpitating atmosphere; there is the sense that this stillness, stagnation, is temporary, a bell will sound
and streams of animated people with surge out of the buildings and populate the avenues - but simultaneously an air of resignation weighs down upon you like the stifling summer heat: a knowledge that it has always been like this, it will always remain like this. 

Michelangelo Antonioni shot L'Eclisse here in 1962. 

The individual becomes what everyone fears around these structures - miniscule, alone, insignificant. Still photographs reflecting the sensation of a place frozen in time, a stranger in a strange land, Chris Marker's La Jetée; Picnic at Hanging Rock. Déja vu, two people in the same place in different times - don't hold your breath here. 

These photographs were taken with no thoughts lingering behind them; but environments will make one act differently, walk differently and impress their presence upon a place in sometimes unnatural ways. Being in the Eur instilled a sort of reverence in me, and deliberateness of manner: every move I made felt slowed down, considered, paced to accommodate the nature of my surroundings. 

You just have to stand there and take it all in - it's not about you anymore. 

From the photo collection 'In Italy', Rome June 2014.

Pantheon, after Bruce Wild

I knew the Pantheon was the one place in Rome I needed to see, because of The Moon. A photograph which hung in the hallway of the family home throughout my childhood. For many years I had believed this photograph to be depicting the moon, and was very impressed at my father's ability to capture the moon up so close, a looming, perfect sphere suspended in the inky matte darkness.

I don't remember when I became aware that the photograph was not of the moon, but I had grown; grown tall enough to see the detail in the image: the visible rectangles of the coffered dome. Clearly this was no moon. How I managed to learn this was in fact a building, a large dome, and my moon was in fact a 9m diameter skylight, I don't recall.

My dad was in Italy in 1981 - he was in the crowd when the Pope was shot. In June, I went to the Pantheon to attempt to recreate his original image from memory. I had last seen the photo over a year ago, and had not studied it closely for more than five. I am not even certain I got the angle right.

Snap happy

I have been enjoying the immediacy of documentation with my new smart phone, something I finally succumbed to purchasing. Hopefully now I will be better at capturing images of Sweden as part of my daily life, not just when I am on holiday, which is my current avenue for photography exploits. While I do not want to be a person attached at the hip (or the hand) to this mobile device, collating images of items of interest/daily curiosities can now become an ongoing occupation (for me along with the rest of the world).

FYI I am now present on Instagram under the moniker bruceanddeirdre.

Above are three buildings of interest - Heleneholms gatukök in dying light, small balconies on Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen, and the new mall monstrosity which is Emporia, Malmö. Actually I take the mall monstrosity comment back, I find the structure of Emporia quite fascinating.

More images to follow

Diagonal tourism

When your camera takes film and you only seem document your holidays, it sometimes takes many months for images to see the light of day. These are a few more from my summer touristing in Stockholm in August, these four taken at Drottningholms slott, the private residence of Sweden's Royal Family.

It appears I have a propensity for taking photographs on an angle, perhaps to make them more "dramatic". I think I just rue the fact that a camera does not have the same peripheral scope as my eyes.

Travelogue - horizontal

A collection of horizontally orientated photographs taken from my 2nd hand 60kr Konica camera. Having this camera is one of the best things, and I am happy to eschew a little bit of technology for something which forces me to be more restrained, selective and patient when documenting. It also gives me a chance to actually enjoy physically inhabiting a space, to have a chance to actually see things without another lens in front of my eyes.
My ability to 'point-and-shoot' is also improving I believe, if that is actually possible.

Horizontal images of Malmö, Frederiksborg, Stockholm, plus Claire.

And coming soon: Travelogue - the second installment. Vertical.

Back To You

Claire has recently departed after an amazing two weeks in Scandinavia. Based in Malmö (where I currently reside) but also featuring a 4-day visit to Stockholm and a couple of day trips (perhaps night trips would be a more fitting phrase) to Copenhagen and its surrounds. In due course of our travels many photos were taken. With me equipped with a trusty point-and-shoot Konica film camera, and Claire with her Canon digital camera as well as her (smart) phone, we were armed to the hilt.
On looking through the accumulated snaps, a certain trend became rather apparent. And what was meant as documentation of two friends exploring three cities, ended up looking like Claire just followed me around in a rather stalkerish manner - a generous chunk of the images are of my back, or me in various stages or turning around. Perhaps there is now enough material for a 'Florence strides forth' tumblr or some such lunacy. But here let's keep things to only the choicest cuts.
My photos are due to be collected next week,and should hopefully even out the disproportionate number of Claire stalking Florence photos.

All photos by Claire Cooper.

PLACES: Drottningholm / Copenhagen / Drottningholm / Frederiksborg  / Stockholm / Frederiksborg /

Travelogue part I

Museu D'Art Contemporani De Barcelona / fruity furniture, La Rambla del Raval / beach loungers, Barceloneta / mosaic work, La Pedrera rooftop terrace / on the cross harbour cable car / interior courtyard, La Pedrera / Jardí Botànic de Barcelona / street scene, Barri Gòtic / Barcelona from the cross harbour cable car. 

A few of my favourite photographs taken with my trusty Konica point and shoot in Barcelona. More to follow.

At the Hotel Peninsular

While in Barcelona we stayed at the Hotel Peninsular, a typical one-star hotel just off the main drag of Las Ramblas. It offered all the mod-cons of a classic one-star hotel - sparse rooms, thin walls, a cornflakes continental breakfast - but the interior was highly unique. The building was originally a convent of the Augustine Order, and the rooms were previously monks' cells. All open out into the rather fantastical interior courtyard, with hanging plants, tiled floors, and wrought iron balconies running around each level.
One afternoon, after a morning of wearying but fulfilling touristing, we sat in the empty courtyard drinking a couple of Barcelonan beers, soaking up the peacefulness and planning our next attack on the city.
Staying in a place like this is what I search for in every trip that I make - I want to stay somewhere so completely remarkable that it reiterates the fact I am in a different country, experiencing different things.
In the photo above I am  standing in a small alcove next door to our room, ready for my first day of exploring, Barcelona guidebook loaned out from the library (overdue) in my hand.

These photos are the first batch Kris has sorted through from his digital camera. I am still waiting for the pictures off the roll of film I took. I was rather restrained with camera usage, not wanting a lens to continuously be obstructing my impressions and views of places. I tell myself I didn't come all the way to a foreign city just to photograph it. Some things have to be experienced first hand.


click image to enlarge

On Thursday I am flying out of Copenhagen Airport to Dubai International Airport, en route to an idyllic holiday in New Zealand. Dubai International's Terminal 3 building is one of the largest buildings in the world by floor space - and here is how the airport looked in 1965.


Wandering around the Helgummanen fishing village on Fårö. Small wooden cabins filled with wooden bunks and wool blankets, miscellaneous tin objects, small rocks and pieces of glass, sea shells. I liked the use of driftwood as makeshift wall brackets, and the stones weighing down the lids on the dinghies, which tourists had used to spell out their initials, like I used to do with the rocks in the crater of Mt Eden.

I loved the juxtaposition of natural materials in the grain heavy timber, the different rich shades of varnish each cabin had, and the walls created by layering flat slate rocks on top of each other. The small cluster of sparely but sturdily built shacks reflected the village's sparse rocky surrounds and muted colour palette - greys, browns, greens and blues.

Fantasy Island (part I)

Multiple views of Isola Bella, a fantasy island full of intricate Italianate gardens, laconic leucistic peacocks and housing the Palazzo Borromeo. Grandiose isolation, as all isolation should be. 

The 1986 travel photo of well-dressed pensive-looking man in front of Isola Bella could easily be mistaken for being 25 years later, I'm sure. Sometimes attire is not indicative of a time period at all.