I woke up this morning to a flurry of snowflakes falling from the sky, so I thought it was the right day to publish a short piece of writing I wrote earlier this month on how I feel about winter. I was inspired to write it after I got prints back from the photo lab with photographs from my first ever roll of Foma Retropan black and white film. I took them in January when I went home to see my family and most of the roll I shot around our cabin in Sweden and on a walk in the surrounding landscape down by Järnavik, a beautiful stretch of Swedish archipelago that I’m very fond of.
I’ve just come back to England after a short, spontaneous holiday in Denmark. I had a few days off and there was a January sale on flights, so I grabbed the chance to go home and cuddle with the cat for a little bit.
For a few years now I have been walking around with an idea for a photo project that I planned to someday do at home. I would photograph the places I used to inhabit, the street where I grew up, the tunnel systems I used to travel through, my old school and the lake where I used to meet my friends. The project would be about photographing all the places that have now become memories, places that I only visit rather than live in. It was also the plan that these photos would sit next to photos of the streets and neighbourhoods I used to inhabit when I lived in London. A juxtaposition of those two cities that made me as a person.
I have been thinking a lot about Nordic literature lately. Maybe it’s because of the season but at this time of year all I want to do is hibernate, get the knitted socks out, drink hot chocolate and cosy up with an old favourite classic or a suitably melancholic Scandi book. Maybe it’s simply because the cold and the darkness here in winter reminds me of home, so I want to read books that help take me there while I’m here in England. Either way I think that stories from the Nordic countries are just the perfect thing to read at this time of year.
We know that most things in life will come and go. That things change and nothing remains the same. The leaves fall off the trees in autumn, people split up, we move to different houses or a different city, we grow up and we grow apart. It’s one of the things I struggle with most in life but it’s also one of the things that fascinates me more than anything else; the impermanence of everything and how we try to hold on to what we have and what we know.