A web page can be a bit static, so I will use this ‘blog’ to post images and text, from time to time, in no order, other than what comes to my mind …
June 2017. Change. For better or worse ? Time will tell. These two Polaroids will be my guiding star …
Our dear cat Pilver passed away peacefully today. She will be greatly missed. Wow – what a cool cat. Here. Look !
Pilver (1999 – 2017)
Winter. January 2017. Not so much to write. Still working on my, possible new publication. Since I am quite impatient by nature, well it has been ready several times over the past 8-10 months. Smile. But thanks to good communication and feedback from a few close friends, it is still being edited.
It has even got a new title – I know where You are. Hopefully it will see the light of day before 2017 becomes 2018.
Meanwhile here is a new spread …
Spring. Sort of. A bit of sun. A bit of snow. Rain. Sun. And so it goes on.
Working on a new publication. A selection of b/w Polaroids taken over the last 4-5 years. Limited, 9 copies. Size A3. Printed on my Epson 3880.
Title ? Bury Me at Sea. Death in the Shape of a Cloud. Closer to God.
Here, one spread…
I turned 56 the other day. Getting older. I guess it is part of Life – but I find it difficult. This one from that day, when the first rays of light hit my face.
November. Alejandra and I are just back from my opening at RWFA in New York. The trip ? The opening ? Both great. We met up with a lot of dear friends. Irina and Andres, Lisa & David, Rick, Graham, Jungjin, Joni, Barbara and Jan, Ray and Adrianna ++ and we went to visit Dave Heath in Toronto.
Dave – we LOVE you !!!
Fall. Mid-October. I am getting a wee shed built in the garden. Too small to be called a studio, but big enough to function as a place to escape from the outside world. It has a name. It is called Pluto. Pluto after the dwarf-planet and my former darkroom/gallery/office, that I had more than 13 years ago. Welcome back PLUTO – I have missed you…
Pluto has ONE BIG window, facing Jens Linus´s Blood Beech. Here, the branches casting a shadow on the wall of Pluto.
My mother died on the 22nd of September 2002. Today, the 22nd of September 2015 I took this Polaroid. It is in memory of my mother.
Why photograph some plums ? In our garden each family member has their own tree. My mother´s tree is a plum-tree. She loved that tree and she made fantastic plum-jam from it. This year, it´s branches are so heavy of plums that I have been afraid that they will break. But they have not and now it is time to harvest. Too much for a family of four, so we have told our neighbours & friends to come around.
Summer. At least if one look at the calendar. Late June. Jens Linus and I are back from a short – 48 hours – trip over to Lykling, Bømlo. To visit Stener, my late mothers cousin, to go fishing and to photograph for Family Photographs by the now famous rock. We had a great time. Here, two “Polaroids”. One of Jens Linus and me by the rock and one of the sky above us when we went fishing for trout that same evening. Lykling and Bømlo – we love You.
Spring. Longer days. More light. The birds are singing like crazy. Even into the darker hours of the day. Fantastic. This wee little fellow flew into the window pane of our kitchen. BANG. That must have been a big surprise and very painful. While she, I decided to call her Gloria, was sitting there, to recover I guess, I took this «Polaroid». Then I went out to see if she was ok – and she must have been, because she was gone. Spring.
Today, Friday 10th April is the opening of Milan Image Art fair. These snapshots from GALERIE & EDITION STEPHAN WITSCHI´s booth. Happy opening to Jungjin, Stephan & Barbara and me.
What is Beauty in Art ? What is Beauty in Photography ? A complex question. Since I am no scholar and do not hold much knowledge in theory or philosophy I will not try to give an answer, but I would like to draw your attention to these 2 Polaroids from Las Teresitas, Tenerife, 2012.
They were taken in the afternoon. All 4 of us had spent the day on the beach and the sun was about to go down behind the mountains to the West. Alejandra had, a couple of weeks earlier, bought 4 packs of Polaroid Chocolate film to me. The very last packs they had in the shop in Copenhagen. My Polaroid Super Shooter camera, with the last pack of film, with like 4 exposures left, was up in the car. I asked Alejandra and the boys to please wait for me – so that I could go and get it and take some photographs of them before the sun disappeared.
When I look at these Polaroids today, several things comes to my heart & mind…
Let me start with the image of Alejandra. She looks so confident, strong and natural. Her features and skin tones seems to blend in with Nature around her. The light radiates from her and around her. She and Nature IS ONE. I see and feel pure Beauty.
Jens Linus & Pablo. My 2 sons. Brothers. One half Swedish. The other half Spanish. They share some of the same features, inherited from me, like eyebrows and nose. Look how Jens Linus holds his arm around Pablo. So loose and relaxed, but at the same time protective. I know it is hard, almost impossible to see, but Jens Linus is wearing a t-shirt designed by my tattooist. Pablo is wearing a sweat-shirt that used to be Jens Linus´s. They are both in the middle of the frame, facing the camera and me. Making it a triangle. A triangle for past, presence and future.
They all took place in front of my camera this afternoon in respect to my work and my need to document them. Alejandra, Jens Linus and Pablo are Beautiful persons. In all aspects of the word.
PS. «Beauty is, at least in part, always tied to subject matter.» from Robert Adams, Beauty in Photography
While I was looking for another photograph in my files today, I found this. My parents, on their wedding day back in June of 1954. On the day Norway experience total solar eclipse «last time». See post below the Polaroids of Alejandra.
Easter. Empty streets. Most people have headed for their cottages up in the mountains. A good time to do nothing and relax. These 2 Polaroids of Alejandra, from yesterday. The first one, sleeping. The second one, waking up from the «click» of the Polaroid camera. Sorry Alejandra, but in the name of ART …
Today, March 20´th 2015, one could experience total solar eclipse in certain parts of Norway. Other parts, like here in Oslo, up to almost 90%. The last time there was a total solar eclipse in Norway was in 1954. My parents got married on that summer day. So today I decided to try to photograph the eclipse – as a homage to my parents. I went up to the roof of our house and pointed my Deardorff camera towards a totally grey sky. No sun to be seen – but I decide to give it a try and pointed the camera & lens towards where I thought it would be. And here, the result. I am no expert, but I like to believe that the round dark shape to the left is the moon about to leave the circle of the sun…
Just back from a week in New York. In my mind I had planned to photograph Alejandra, in the beautiful light bouncing of the walls in our apartment facing Hudson River. But for some reason or the other that never happened. Instead, here – a 665 Polaroid of Hudson River covered in thick fog.
Late February. The days are getting longer. Winter is fighting against spring. Spring will win. Thank God.
Alejandra and I are back from a weekend in Zurich, visiting our dear friends Stephan & Barbara. Here, a snapshot of «Beauty & Beast» and one of these small signs of Love that seems to follow us on our travels.
On my way down to Gothenburgh the other day, next to the highway, I saw a group of trees standing under water. I decided to photograph them on my way back the following day. But due to a long day at the press (I am in the process of publishing a new book) it was too dark to photograph. So today, 3 days later, I went back. Needless to say – the trees were no longer standing under water. But I made a couple of shots and here is one.
I feel honoured to inform you that Statoil Art Collection has acquired «Memory of Water» to their collection. A big THANK YOU to both Jens R Jenssen and Bjarne Våga at The Statoil Art Programme for their support and confidence in my work.
I pointed my «Super Shooter» Polaroid camera with 665 film towards the sky today. Look. Look, how beautiful. Is it not amazing that ‘some clouds’ together with light can turn into something so sublime ?! Photography is pure magic …
Alejandra, your beauty and goodness are a helping hand when my days are filled with darkness.
I am going through some boxes of Polaroids. This one from La Gomera. My friend Edu invited me for a ‘surprise trip’ there one day in February. We went for a wee walk in the forest and there, almost like a revelation, was this small chapel. Erected in memory of someone dearly loved and greatly missed.
Here. 3 Impossible Project ‘Polaroids’. Taken over 3 days. Thank you – Jens Linus, Pablo and Alejandra. My 3 graces…
My dear friend Edu has shown me several beautiful places at Tenerife. This being one of them. Edu told me that he sometimes goes here to ‘contemplate about life’. I fully understand him. This place is special…
One more diptych for Alejandra. ‘One love‘ came to me, one morning while I was going for a walk at El Medano.
We are back from 2 weeks at Tenerife. Back from the sea. Back from the horizon. Here is a Polaroid 665 from Benijo, Tenerife. One day I will …
I have just recently bought a 5×7″ back for my Deardorff. I have only done a couple of test-shots, but it looks like a ‘good’ format. Time will tell. Here is is test from this Sunday.
This diptych for Alejandra – the incarnation of Mother Earth. Without her, no light.
Alejandra and I are back from ParisPhoto. We had a great time in ‘la ville d’amore’ – as our friend Dave Heath so nicely put it. We spent time with lovely friends and of course we saw some really nice ‘vintage photography’. My favourite, I think, was to see Andre Kertesz’s original montage «Disappering act» at Stephen Daiter gallery. One out of only 2 existing versions. The other one belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here…
I feel honoured to inform you that JPMorgan Chase Art Collection has acquired prints from ‘Family Photographs’ for their collection.
I am very grateful to Lisa K. Erf, Director and Chief Curator of the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, who has had this confidence in my work.
Patti Smith. She was visiting Tronsmo in August 2012. Signing ‘Just Kids’. I was there. She kindly agreed to be photographed. It was pouring down with rain. Very little light. These are shot with the Deardorff 8×10″ at f 4,5 between 1/2 – 1 sec. PIN sharp. Thank you Patti – you are a real PRO !!!
PS. Patti is back at Tronsmo tonight 29’th of June 2013…
Award given Bjørn Sterri – The Milan Image Art Fair
Bjørn Sterri’s portfolio Family Photographs was judged the favorite by a group of international collectors during The Milan Image Art Fair 10-12 May.
The jury wrote;
«Bjorn Sterri presented «Family Photographs» a long term photo essay about time, intimacy, absence and presence.
He makes toned gelatin silver – black and white – contact prints of portraits of his wife, his two sons and especially himself, shot with a large format Deardorff 8 x 1O» camera. He works in natural light in Norway and Spain.
These images can take their place in a continuum of master photographers from Julia Margaret Cameron and August Sander to Emmet Gowin and Nicholas Nixon.»
The collectors including Lisa K. Erf, director of JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, New York, William Hunt, collector and curator, New York, Kai Loebach, collector, Los Angeles, David Raymond, collector, Asheville, Paolo Agliardi and Massimo Buffetti, collectors and Contemporary Art Projects founders, Milan, Michael Benson, Prix Pictet director, London, Catherine Borissoff and Marianna Sardarova, art advisors and collectors, Moscow, Anna Rosa and Giovanni Cotroneo, collectors, Rome, Simone Klein, Sotheby’s – Photographs Department Europe director, Paris and Reyn van der Lugt, collector, Rotterdam.
Dear Julian. I think about you ‘now and then’ and I miss you a lot. XXX Bjørn
Julian Stacey (1959 – 2010)
The sea. The sound of waves hitting land. Small ones, as well a larger ones.
From the on-going series ‘ Death in the shape of a cloud ‘.
This Polaroid is from Christmas Day 2004. I can not say for sure, but my guess is that this small boy got this ‘machine gun’ for Christmas.( The shadow to the right is of his parents walking in front of him).
I still get upset when I see this image.
This Polaroid is taken from the film ‘Come and see’ by Elem Klimov. The film depicts the experience of a 15 year old boy joining the resistance in Nazi-occupied Belarus in 1943. A film that tells and shows the horror of war in a way that, if you see the film, most likely will change you forever.
Klimov used the White Stork as a symbol of a Higher Being, protecting the children from the evil and horror of war.
My life went from darkness into light the moment my mother and I met at the orphanage.
This photograph of my mother is from 1971. I remember it well. I was going away for the weekend, a scout trip, and my mother had just photographed me in my scout shirt and rucksack. And I wanted to photograph her…
30 years later, in 2001, when my mother was very ill, I took this Polaroid at the same spot. Looking at it now – it is as if all the light has ‘swallowed up’ my mother.
My mother died in the fall of 2002.
My father passed away in the fall of 2008. The following text and Polaroids are from that time.
» Yesterday I drove over to Hafslo – where my father was born. I used to spend parts of my summer holidays there as a child. I remember one summer when my father and his brothers were “drying hay on a rack”, he fell down from the top of the hay stack. I thought the fall had killed him. So yesterday at 5 am I drove over the mountains, went to very same spot (from my memory) and took some soil to put in his grave on Tuesday… «
This photograph is very different from the one below. The subject is me and even though I am not be 100% sure I think it was taken by my father. When ? I do not know for sure, but my parents adopted me in October of 1963. So my guess would be late fall of ’63. I know it was taken with a Kodak Instamatic 100, because that was the camera that my parents were using – all the way up into the 80’s, when my father got himself a ‘modern’ camera.
So why do I show this image ? Well, one thing is the composition. I just love the way my head is ‘cut off’. If one looks at how I hold my head. It is as if I know that I have to lean forward. If not, my eyes would not have been in the frame. And then of course the juxtaposition; Me standing on a tree trunk with the top of my head ‘cut off’ with the ‘whole tree’ behind me to the right. It is a bit like «One day I will grow tall…»…
Another thing is the ‘square’ format that the Kodak Instamatic 100 produced. Did that have any influence over my decision later in life, when I decided to become a photographer and my love for Polaroid and it’s ‘square’ format ? Maybe. One thing is for sure. I really like this photograph. Free from all rules of composition.
Papa – thank you.
My first post will be this photograph. Black and white. ‘Square’ format. A photograph of my parents. Taken some time in the early 1950’s. Look. Look at my mother. So much in love with my father. Look at my father. So much in love with my mother. Look at how they are holding hands. Look at those stylish sunglasses and headscarf my mother is wearing. Look at her beautiful white smile. Look !!! Or as they say in Spain – «Mira, MIRA !»