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 had just finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World, so I had been thinking a lot about Japan and Japanese art, which, as you might be able to tell, ended up influencing the way I took some of the landscape shots. Anyway, here is what I wrote.
I might have come from the North. From the cold and the long, dark months in November, December, January. Maybe it is true that I feel most like myself, wrapped in my long, dark-red woolcoat and a big scarf, gloves covering my fingers.
But winter, like summer, is not where I’m at home. I do not like to be cold, and I am easily cold. I am more tired, more hungry and more grumpy. And even if I like the cosiness, the flickering candles reflected in the window and to sit under a duvet or the soft blankets, the surrender there is in that, to let go and say “okay, we will go into hibernation” then, it still isn’t my time.
For those months I can never really get warm and I long for the coming days of Spring with their fresh winds and a sun you can actually warm yourself on. Or I long back to the autumn and the same kind of days we had then, tempered.
But when all of that has been said, I am still fond of the way the trees stand naked in the winter, the patterns they make against the heavy, grey clouds; that you can see what they really look like without all of those leaves, without all the embellishment, everything stripped back to its essentials. Nothing taken for granted.
I live in the silence and the stillness, and in the mornings, when I withdraw the curtains from the windows to find another curtain outside in the fog that presses itself against the cold glass and in the dark silhouets of the trees that appear nearly obscured on the riverbank behind it, a receding hairline of tangled branches. The way a dried orange leaf left over from the autumn lights up over everything else.
Then I live, not just in it but for it. The winter, I mean.
Shot on my Ricoh KR5 with my 50mm lens on Foma Retropan 320 film, set at box speed.