30 Oct 2018

same old waltz

Stockholm's not been one of my top cities to visit but in a twist of fate - very street - I had a few days there this month and found it offered a different dimension to my New Europe project. 
Sweden's image as a model society of tolerance and equality has recently been challenged by, guess what, the rise of a populist agenda driven by fear of immigrants. To help me get closer to the experience of this it was great to see an exhibition at the Moderna Museet called With The Future Behind Us
A range of artists addressed the themes of the show neatly expressed in the title, looking at the past, present and future experience of daily life in Sweden and weaving a narrative through a diverse collection of pieces that for me expressed the tension of life in Europe today as commonly held principles of society appear to be teetering on the edge of falling apart.
I find the experience of going to different sorts of exhibitions really informs my work but I know I gravitate to pieces where the street forms a constituent part. This show was no different and I really liked the piece by John Willgren set in a street in Stockholm where with a devastatingly simple idea critiqued the current political situation with reference to a period of European history that is now seen as a lesson that we seem deaf to hear.
John Willgren
Now I have a project to work to I find it fascinating how it informs my way of taking pictures which I've prided myself - perhaps through my own insecurities - as being of the moment with no agenda or conscious plan behind it.  
I'm finding that I'm not deliberately looking - if such a concept is true - for the themes that are already emerging but it's really helping me look differently at my contact sheets beyond what I'd regard as a "good" picture i.e. compositionally into something which not be as good but in context works to help tell a story. I'm sorry this is hardly a profound insight but hey these things take time.

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