Monday, 9 March 2015


Stockholm City Hall, Colonnade

Although this is not a view from my kitchen window, it IS a view, and a rather formidable one. And it occasions me to tell an intriguing story.

As I already mentioned in an earlier blog post (A Ship has landed) I am busy at the moment preparing a book for the printer (Stockholm/Brussels: a retrospective in fine prints). Whilst producing, and printing out the some 120 proofs of pictures from my Epson printer, which took around two months, I got heavily involved with the content of those prints.

You have to realize that most of those pictures were taken decades ago, and I had long forgotten the motive for and feeling connected with their taking. But gradually it dawned on me that the prints, whilst at the surface dealing with ordinary city landscapes, seemed to convey ever more subliminal messages, the longer I worked on them.

Granted that these photographs had been taken within a period of some forty years, concurrent with all the challenges, crises and other events shaping my inner self; is it surprising that they appear to contain meaning other than showing facades of buildings and shadows cast on stone?

With this new awareness I started to re-assess my motives for producing the book. Whilst I earlier had thought of it as a means for simple self-aggrandizement, I increasingly hope that the views contained in the book may also serve as conveying subliminal messages (on a subconscious level) from my inner being to the inner being of others, so to speak.

 I have always believed this to be possible, although seeing as main conduit for such messages the metaphors contained in modern poems, music and abstract paintings. Could it be that my pictures in a similar manner may tell a story about me, the man I really am with my inner thoughts and troubles, to at least some viewers acutely attuned to reading pictures?

Riddarholmskyrkan, Stockholm's oldest church,
seen through the Colonnade

To emphasize this point and entice the readers of my book to search for inner meanings in my prints, I designed the back cover of the book as a combination of a strong poetic metaphor and one of my pictures. The picture is the one I put below the title heading above. The metaphor goes as follows:

An angel without face embraced me
and a whisper made my body tremble:
"Don't be ashamed that you are human, be proud!
Vault after vault opens endlessly within you.
You will never be complete, that's how it's meant to be."
Thomas Tranströmer, Romanesque Arches

Now to the story: Affirmation came last week, quite out of the blue. My provider of fine art paper for producing fine prints and proofs was asking me, what I intended to do with the huge supply I had ordered. To make a long story short, I sent him a PdF document of the manuscript with the pictures included.

Two days after, I got his e-mail answer, to which was attached the view you can see below. After having looked at my back cover and found that he appreciated Tranströmer's metaphor, he decided to learn it by heart and read it to a friend lying in hospital. When entering the friend's room there he suddenly saw a familiar view on the wall: the same view as he had seen on the manuscript's back cover as companion to the poem.

Painting of Colonnade, hanging on hospital room wall

Deeply touched by this miraculous event he asked me to produce for him a fine print of my back cover picture. It appeared that his friend was terminally ill. The fine print, together with Tranströmer's metaphor would be a consolation to him and help him keep his friend alive in his memory forever.

After having learnt this, I stand a bit taller. Even if he were the only one ever seeing a meaning in one of my prints, I would feel richly awarded. Now I can proceed with publishing the book with confidence. It has achieved its aim, even if not a single copy of the book will ever be sold and they all will be mouldering away in the caves. But why don't you have a look at the book? It can be seen and ordered from my website and bought, in Sweden, at BOKUS and Liten upplaga.

Self-portrait, Parc Woluwé St. Pierre, Brussels