My words, thoughts and photos from a Swedish perspective


A skilled brick-layer’s work

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The time when sights like this were common is long gone, but the brick-layer’s skills can still be seen on this old workshop. Modern buildings never get any decorations and I think it’s a loss from an aesthetic point of view. There are a number of craftsmen out there keeping old traditions alive and they are definitely worth credit for what they do. They keep old traditions and knowledge alive and old buildings cannot only be restored, but correctly restored and that’s an important aspect that makes a difference.

PS. An overdecorated building is vulgar – not aesthetic!


Hammarby sjöstad, third and last part

There are a few houses I find different from the others and therefore interesting. The yellow one above is one of them, but I must say I am glad I am not the window cleaner.

What once was a quay is now a place where people stroll around as they please.

One of the old cranes has been saved as some kind of statue to remind us of the old days. I don’t know what to say or think about it. It is in good condition now, but what will it be like in say 15 years from now? Will they keep it painted and nice and tidy or will it be something the people in charge want to get rid of as quick as possible while the public opinion may speak different despite the fact that it no longer has any function to fulfil.

This scene gave me the feeling of being abroad, but I wonder what it will look like on a rainy day in November or a cold and snowy day in February. It will look the same, but a not too qualified guess is that the atmosphere will be quite different.

Huge open yards brings light and air into the aparments but sound and noise will bounce between the walls too. Anyhow, I do like the impression I get from this sight.

Restaurants here, there and everywhere. Some will probably go out of business but I hope many of them are there to stay. I heard music coming out from many of them and from boats in the canal and there were occasions when I had to listen to an awful music mix because I happened to be in between.

Living with a construction site as a view. Well, that view won’t last forever. There are not many blocks left to build and I expect the area to be completed in a year or so. Well folks, this is where I stop this walkabout with the camera in Hammarby sjöstad. I hope you enjoyed it.


Hammarby sjöstad, part two

Self service street market: Take what you want and put 50 crowns in the jar. Let’s hope that he or she got paid for each item sold.

Very few houses offer something that makes me feel happy but this one sure did. Simply irresistable for a photographer like me!

A ferry connecting the southern and northern part of Hammarby sjöstad is a must and it looks like it’s a popular and convenient way to travel. The rope to the left is only a (useless) decoration.

There were a number of industries here once, but most of those buildings are torn down. Anyhow, I found this house and it made me happy. Old industries and workshops make terrific subjects but are rarely found in the cities nowdays.

There are a load of restaurants in Hammarby sjöstad too and a couple of them looked quite ok. There is a restaurant in the ground floor in the red house. It’s near the ferry which probably means good business for the owner.

Some interesting lines and angles at last! Modern architecture drawn up with a ruler seldom offers any interesting perspectives, but I managed to find the exception to the rule.

Another cheap trick. The text says “FERRY” and I guess that warning is justified.


A trip to Hammarby sjöstad, part one

I got fed up with staying indoors because of the weather the other day, so I took a chance and went to Hammarby sjöstad, a new part of the city. The weather and light conditions could have been better, I agree, but I had my mind set on doing something on my day off and get a couple of shots.

Hammarby is a part of southern Stockholm and sjöstad means – if translated word by word – “Lake City”. It is built where Lake Mälaren meets the salty waves of Stockholm’s archipelago and, further out, the Baltic Sea.

The construction has taken about 10 years and it is not completed yet; a few blocks remain. It was a huge project that transformed what once was the south and north ports and quays of Hammarby and its industries, an industrial and small business area called Lugnet and a small part of Sickla to new homes. I only wish I had been smart enough to take pictures of what it once looked like before it was too late.

The rents or prices, if one wants to buy an apartment, are of course high and I have seen some photos of interiors. Loads of space and daylight, but also somewhat unnecessary luxury in the kitchens. Personally, I prefer a kitchen I can cook in without risking damages on the counters etc. Functionality is my priority there.

I also like the open yards between the houses. They make a nice and friendly impression instead of feeling choked between the houses.

House fronts are often flat and boring, but these simple decorations give one something to look at.

An unusual solution: If it’s already there, simply include it in the building and add some colourful details. The kids seem to like it too.


Capturing the moment

The weather was nice for a change and I took a walk through the city on my way home from work. My intention was the usual one: to see what I can find and relax while walking. The first thing my eye caught was two of the city’s many bridges and a glimpse of city life in betweeen.

Different angles, different perspectives. Most people hate concrete. I don’t know what to say, but I know it can also show a certain beauty (?) if the light is “flattering” and from an interesting angle.

Not many cities offer boat life in the middle of the city, but Stockholm can. Stockholm is sometimes referred to as “Venice of the North” but Venice is, of course, in a class of its own. Anyhow, this is Klara sjö and I grew up not so far from it and have spent many hours playing near it.

Playing with reflections in water. Irresistable, as usual.

Another hint of what one can do with water and reflections…

The sun is setting and its last rays creates interesting reflections in the windows.

Keeping the beer cold. This is not a new invention, but it still works, but one doesn’t expect to find sights like this in the middle of the city – or…?


Black and white or colour?

My answer is “It depends”. A photo looking pretty flat or dull in colour can lift considerably if converted to black and white. By the way, black and white is a bad expression; we can all see that it is not black and white – it is a grayscale – but the expression is so common that any change is not worth thinking of.

If you are interested in trying black and white now and then I would suggest that you try to look and think in a grayscale when composing the image. Will these colours/hues create nice tones in B & W or will they make a dark blur together? Look for possible gray tones instead of colours and you will probably get a very satisfying result.

Is not B & W old fashioned? I think not. Many want their portraits in black and white and much of what could be referred to as Artistic Photography is done in black and white. There are compromises, of course. Many prefer to lower the saturation instead and almost get the same result but with a dash of colour left.

Personally, I am more fond of colour photos without colour – an expression I borrowed from a professional photographer, but I can’t remember who when writing these lines – which means that one looks for subjects with colours near the grayscale, but leave the saturation intact (or increase it).

A modern digital camera can shoot B & W but that is not quite true and I would say the manufacturers are cheating. The image is still in colour – it is only shown in black and white. You will get the best result if you keep shooting in colour and convert to grayscale afterwards because you will have more control over the process.

The image above was shot in colour but looked flat. It is part of a school being torn down but its muddy-dirty yellow plaster, that dominates the composition, did not make it particularly interesting in colour despite the interesting shades and shapes but it came out different when converted to grayscale. Maybe you should try and see what black and white can do to one of your shots?


Details make a difference

This post is about the tiny details on a house we pay no attention to or overlook. Please look how the lamp is fitted on the wall. So much work, so much care – all to make a neat and proper impression. The lamp is rusty and battered, but there is something special about it, at least in my opinion.

The days when electricity and telephone wires came in to our homes on things like this are long gone now and so are most of these “hangers”. This one has no function but is still hanging on the wall. The isolators are still intact. I bet there is some kind of detail nerd in me. 😉