“PostArt # 84 – I’m not a portrait photographer but…

Lund, Sweden – July 4, 2020

Dear friend of art photography

I hope you are safe and healthy. It’s been a long time since PostArt # 83 – mainly because I’ve created a series of new works that I will show you shortly.

I’m not a portrait photographer but I do take portraits: family and friends as well as people I have met in various countries and periods of my life.

Today, I want to share a small selection of them with you, in a new portfolio “Portraits” on my homepage. And by the way, I’ve installed an image zoom in all portfolios so you can see details of each photo.

Viggo Rivad 1922 – 2016

Yesterday, Denmark’s most significant contemporary photographer, my mentor and dear-dear friend, Viggo Rivad, would have turned 98. I miss him but I’m grateful that I can always see his classical photos over more than 60 years and, also, that I created his official homepage in accordance with his own wishes.

In my portrait portfolio, you’ll find some of my pictures of him and more on his homepage here.

If you missed PostArt # 83 just click here. And soon I’ve got more to tell you…

My best

Jan Oberg

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    Dear Jan:

    I don’t know why you never became a portrait photographer, but you most certainly should have, and perhaps it is not too late to correct the mistake. I loved every second of looking at those faces. I practically meditated over them. There is such a profound, substantive, thick as molasses joy in them, even when the joy is not immediately observable – both their joy of being who they are and your joy of savoring their existence and my joy of witnessing both….it was practically a three-way fiesta, a multilateral mutual admiration society, almost a champagne occasion :-). . Seeing Johan and Fumi again was like a mini-family gathering, a father-and-child reunion. And the image of the baby resting on daddy’s forearm made my day, week, month and year. I couldn’t unglue myself from the computer screen for something like 10 minutes. The image of the young Iranian woman was most definitely art poster-worthy. The face of Inge Sørensen I could literally watch for hours and not get tired of it for a second (speaking of which, most professional portrait photographers seem to prefer monochrome images because they ostensibly elicit more drama and inner character from the person; however, as your color photo of Inge amply demonstrates, color photos can be every bit as dramatic and revealing).

    You seem to have a particular knack for the faces of the elderly and for capturing their character like very few photographers I’d met ,and I strongly encourage you to pursue that line of your artistic aspiration a wee bit more vigorously (also, it would be interesting to find out what you would do as a landscape artist – remember, nature has its faces, too). In addition, you seem to have a special talent for capturing the souls of the SCANDINAVIAN elderly, perhaps because you know better than the outsiders what precisely to seek in those faces.. I don’t know what it is that makes Scandinavian faces different from the faces from the Balkans, but they do differ in some palpable ways I can’t put a finger on. I think that with northerners the process of aging reveals more of an inner soul than it does in the southerners. The people from the Balkans and Eastern Europe (and Southern Europe in particular) appear to remain as inscrutable and mysterious and elusive in their older age as they are in their younger. It would definitely be interesting to see what your camera would reveal in the non-Scandinavian and oriental faces.

    One minor gripe: don’t shy away from the physical movement. Capture the blur, the movement, the swing, the haze, the confusion, the impact and the action. Static is not always better. I understand that capturing static images is in some ways easier and more. for the lack of a better word, thoughtful and intellectual, but it is not always more gratifying. There is an innate drama in the movement – even in an imperfectly captured movement, and perhaps PARTICULARLY in an imperfectly captured movement – that a static image cannot capture. Be brave and daring, grab the drama of now!

    Best of luck,. my friend — and Godspeed – can’t wait to see more of those portraits! Keep ’em comin’!

    Your friend, always


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