I invite you to see some 70 selected works produced during 2012.
If you want to skip my thoughts and go straight to the images, click here:
Meditations • Mirrors • Collage • Abstracts & Patterns • Burundi Beauties • Iraq Before The War • Japan • Burundi • Places • Street Photography • Portraits • Uniques & Experimentals • Digital Photo Drawings and Convertibles • Lund-Sweden
My photographic work is diverse. At this point in my explorations and experiments, I do not aim at developing a particular style or technique. And – perhaps surprisingly to some – there are now no less than 14 categories in my portfolio and there will likely be more in the future.
I am rather much of an intuitive photographer – remember I do photography as a balancing contrast to my academic, analytical and quite political work as a peace studies professor and on-the-ground conflict analyzer/mediator. I’ve never taken even a small course in anything photographic. In addition, I work under circumstances where I cannot always spend hours and hours on shooting the perfect image (can anyone tell me what that is, anyway?)
Cynthia, Burundi 2012 © Jan Oberg 2012
I was recently traveling as a tourist in Iran. Everyone was very kind and almost anyone I asked were willing – even happy – to let me take their picture. But I don’t come with a crew, don’t set up lamps and reflectors, etc. I travel with one camera and I shoot according to the circumstances, i.e. the situation, the time available and the place/culture where I happen to be.
Further, the more you pre-arrange some situations or instruct people to behave or look in particular ways that suit you (rather than them), you risk getting perhaps stylish but not necessarily genuine results. It becomes your picture more than theirs.
To put it crudely, I don’t construct reality; I let it come to me.
I have the greatest respect for those who work in a different manner – e.g. those who work for years on one single theme or idea, for those who direct lots of people and arrange down to the smallest detail hugely complex images as tableus. I admire many who, over years of hard work, have developed their own unique style.
But it isn’t me. At least not now.
Perhaps I’m talking about some sort of photo funnel – I approach my work (and passion) for photography in a very broad way and to some extent at a surface level. Perhaps over time, who knows, I may narrow it all down to something more specific, elaborate and “deeper” – whatever that means.
Finding A Way 2012 © Jan Oberg 2012
I value the experiment as a method and I let it take me in various directions. It gives me joy to play and I am free of commercial pressures.
Well, it isn’t that I would not like to also sell (more of) my works of course, but I feel very good being independent of gallery owners and commercial advisers who would likely tell me to do this and that in an attempt to accomodate to some market somewhere or create something that is assumed to be “it”, “fashionable” or “cool” in the next few months or years.I recognize that this of course also makes my way into the “art world” – whatever that is – much much longer. Indeed, I may never get there: One, I do photography in a kind of obstinate way; two, I do my own sales promotion by means of e-mails, website and social media and – three – I do it only part-time (about 30% of my productive time on an annual basis).
I’m not completely happy with it, but you can’t have the cake and eat it too. And I am also not unhappy with it.
A good friend in business told me when I started out in spring 2009 that to make anything out of my photos in terms of making money, I would have to work hard full-time and with a clear plan for at least 5 years. So, there is still some time to go. I’d rather do what I believe in and let it take the time it must.
Cherry Blossoms in Hyde Park 2012 © Jan Oberg 2012
Well, enough of these somewhat self-centered ramblings. On the famous other side, we are all struggling with how to meet an audience, to get responses, and to feel that some people appreciate what we do. I certainly don’t do photography to fill my basement…
There are now 70+ new photos created during 2012 on my website. The oldest are from 2009 and this year’s new addition are all found at the bottom of each portfolio category.
I hope you’ll find one or some interesting, that you will dwell a little here and there and – even better – send some comments to firstname.lastname@example.org – I am still a learner and hope to always be. And to me people like you are the real critics and supporters…
Meditations • Mirrors
• Collage • Abstracts & Patterns • Burundi Beauties • Iraq Before The War • Japan • Burundi • Places • Street Photography • Portraits • Uniques & Experimentals • Digital Photo Drawings and Convertibles • Lund-Sweden
December 5, 2012