The context of my life has changed. Because of this I found myself asking: what am I doing? where am I going? I have discovered a part of me in need of an inner journey of knowing myself, a journey that makes use of two passions that lie close to my heart – photography and writing.
As a need arose where I tried to define myself, These two passions, photos and words, have merged together and became a process that is fundamentally abstract. For me the tale, or poem, or reflection which accompanys each picture has grown to take more time in its creative process compared to the planning, shooting, and post-process of a single picture. Each image is a cognitive based trek if you will, wandering along a narrow uneven path.
a path we do take
roads left in our wake
crossroads of choice
a burden of mine
throughout our life
we share memories
of good and strife
road sign to guide
which way to take
this path is at stake
alone we walk
along a path
but merge at times
on roads that cross
or share at most
to find comfort
of arms embraced
my mind at ease
take my hand
and welcome me home
where we share a road
or place in time
is where I call home
But this insight, that I photograph to get into myself, is not an easy one, an insight that will be heavy to bear and hard to comprehend. I have found myself keeping pictures that I’m proud of private, I haven’t published them online. They are for me to reflect over and aid me in my journey of discovering myself; my journey to learn to live with myself. To help me in my quest I emptied my whole repertoire of mini figures that I usually bring, and now I bring only one: the plain generic mini figure that spoke to me in an unusual way. It lured me to imagine more and see beyond what was actually visible. I tried to break down that wall I had put up for myself:
Concrete walls. Razor wire fences. Barriers everywhere. But barriers won’t change anything, haven’t we learned that isolation solves nothing. As George Bernard Shaw said: “We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.” It seems we’re traveling down a path that rhymes well with history, still in living memory of humanity.
It’s the notion and challenge that through one simple figure there are a vast amount of tales and different perspectives to imagine. Through this figure I can imagine my own tale, explore my thoughts, explore myself and let others explore themselves, looking at a picture with an open mind. I hope that for someone viewing my images that they will spark a specific feeling or thought, other times I just wish to provoke a reaction or make a statement. But the truth of the matter is pictures, as I see it, can be viewed only through the subjective perspective and thus what I can hope for is a reaction that will inspire some kind of response no matter what it might be. So my posts always have two sides. First, the picture for the viewer who may see himself reflected, and secondly with the text. I hope to convey and to describe myself to some extent through the words. The words express the feelings I have, my trail of thought, and hopefully this combination will leave the viewer with a perspective of – me.
Through these pictures and words I try to symbolize what it means to be human. What it means to be me. The picture is in some ways the mirror through which I look into and gaze at my own eyes, perceiving my own mind.
And still it makes me feel at peace, serene and unbroken.
Everything in life changes, and so do the reasons why we do things. Perhaps this new angle of approach to shooting pictures, exploring the inner me, will not be appreciated by social media and the rest of the community. As a follower kindly stated: “This new line of photos are too plain. Will you get back to shooting more of what you used to?” (That would be more action filled photos in the Star Wars universe for those of you who are familiar with my backlog.) Now, I’m one for honesty and a constructive debate and even though I actually enjoy and interact more with these kind of comments, it made me ponder: What if I did this thing because I strive to make everyone else happy? What if I took the kind of pictures that would rate high in interactions and likes? Not the pictures I’m showing here, which dipped rather low and got only a third as much interaction in comparison. Did I fail in my goal of having people stop and reflect? Perhaps. But I will say this: the road I travel at the moment is one for me, and if people want to tag along, then they are most welcome.
The road ahead of me,
The road under my feet,
I’m sorry I took so long,
Since last I visited,
Here I place my feet,
I feel you carry me on,
One step at a time,
In a repetitive motion
You always listen,
Free of judgment,
I feel accepted,
Onward you carry me,
To the inevitable end,
I won’t forget you,
Soon I’ll visit again.
I have come to understand and experience what most of us have a hard time appreciating: I have experienced a situation where people don’t feel like themselves. I understand that when they suffer an illness that leaves them in a state of depression and chronic pain, that they have little control of their own thoughts and emotions, of their own life, and they feel they are the slaves to the will of others. Even as I can relate to some of these emotions, I stand bewildered and lost when faced with certain aspects of humanity; the loneliness, the anger, the desperation, the guilt, and a constant battle for control. The value of “self” diminishes and I have tried to show this in the way I portrayed this figure
Christoffer – @ East_Mountain
A lovely post. I think there is a need to consider why we share our creativity. If it’s for income, then going for the popular vote is key. If it’s for personal satisfaction – then it should be whatever makes you happy. And from that the viewer can choose to be inspired or to learn. For myself, I may start to look more at using the simple lego minifigure than the more standard, modern mini me – so thank you for the inspiration!
Indeed pursuing a financial platform securing an income and perhaps later make wider sweeps exploring ourselves would be preferable. Now I don’t see this photography journey of mine ever to be a financial platform in which I can feel secure. Having said that I would always photograph with personal satisfaction close at heart. And as stated in the blog, “if people want to tag along, then they are most welcome.” – This could mean some pictures to be sold sure but never on a grander scale. And as always – Thank you and cheers.
Wow…im speechless…your writing is class….and your pictures breath-taking…can almost feel your pain…you force me to love B&W….be your true self… tanx for sharing a bit of yourself…❤
Thank you so very much. I must admit comments never really did much for me on social media platforms. They seem more genuine here, which is why it would be me that should say thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you, it brought me a smile.
Dear Christoffer ,
Your story is amazing. It seems to me that you let us see something beyond the frames… It’s worth much. Your shots really look like the thoughts and feelings that got the special shapes in yourToy Photography . It’s so important to look into your inner world when you are sharing your art with other creative persons.
In this case Toy Photography becomes the instrument of self-knowing . I’m impressed a lot. Glad to meet you.
Bravo and huge Thanks!
Thank you Ann,
To reach that barrier of actually pausing for a moment and looking at a picture to interpret, looking behind it, what it means for others, and for yourself is a step I know I enjoy.
So thank you again. Much appreciated your comment. Cheers
I’m speechless too. Your writing and story are amazing and the photos are very powerful. I especially like the two photos showing the minifig walking on his journey. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Lynn,
I really appreciate your words. Yes the figures walking tells an interesting tale. My favourite though is the mini figure climbing the barbed wire. Reminds me to never diminish anyone, and always remember that everyone has their own obstacles and something to teach me and a tale to share.
Christoffer, when you first started posting these images I will confess I didn’t get it. They are such a departure from your earlier work. I understand the comment from your young admirer and I felt that way at first myself. But once I actually spent some time with them, read the words, thought about their meaning – I have become a huge fan of this series of photos. I think it is your strongest and most authentic work, especially when paired with your worlds. Each is a gift from you to us, as we stop and contemplate the what and why of our existence. Thank you for this and thank you so much for sharing your journey here on the blog. Shelly xo
Thank you Shelly,
I must admit writing here is a greater reward compared to writing on any social media platform. thank you for the invite and opportunity to do this. And I’m happy you liked the pictures, even though they came of as “plain” to begin with. I was unsure myself I have to admit.
Christoffer you are welcome to contribute to the blog anytime. Know the door is always open to you. Some times we don’t know what we have until we get farther down the road. Im glad you continued!
I just love your images+words. You make me think and there is much you written that I understand and agree with. Just keep on your awesome work!
You know Stefan,
I really had no idea who you were when we first met up in Vaxholm for the first Baltic toy Safari. Now I’m very happy you came, and sad that I haven’t had the pleasure to meet you again. Thank you for your support. Cheers my friend.
Christoffer – your words and your pictures are such an inspiration! Your so bold and your work is amazing! Thanks for sharing!
I know I will always find the raw honest feedback I’m looking for in you my friend. Thank you for helping me muster the courage to walk this path. And thank you for all the support.
Life is a strange thing, and stranger yet is the way we form connections, finding new friends. I’m happy I found you and dared invite you to Vaxholm last year. Cheers my friend.
Chris, again your words amaze me. Thank you for sharing this.
Oh Brett my lovely friend. I long for the day to have the pleasure to shake your hand. Thank you for your never ending support. Your endless encouragements, and for always being there to listen (read) when we need to. You are a champion. The definition of friendship embodied.
Wow, Christoffer. Finally found time to read this and catch up on your feed. The combo of images and words in this series is so powerful. I applaud you for creating art that speaks to you, and am very grateful that you share it with us. I’ve always loved your work, either action-filled or reflective quietude. What would life’s journey be if it didn’t continue to evolve?
Beauty in the darkest of places