Sunday, 28 February 2010

The future

An orange-looking David Cameron at a photo call, launching their election campaign on education inside a Labour-built academy in Walworth. © Magnus Andersson

In mid-January I covered a photo call with Conservative leader David Cameron. They had just launched a poster campaign were he appeared heavily airbrushed and the Tories came in for a lot of criticism for it. Judging by his pigment tone on this occasion, he certainly appeared to have spent the morning in a sunbed or a spray booth, quite possibly both.

Almost immediately the spoof posters started turning up as well, I've included a couple of them in this post and you can find more of them over at

Spoof poster from

On that day, Cameron visited a newly built academy in Walworth and it was very cheeky of him to be standing there trying to take credit for a brilliant new school when it was all proposed and built under Labour initiatives. Same old Tories?

David seems to loose his concentration as Michael Gove, Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, explains their educational pledge. © Magnus Andersson

There was quite a few photographers and journalists there on the day and on his walk around one of the agency photographers was assigned so I never got any shots of Cameron chatting to our local pupils, but in the reception I noticed BBC News political editor Nick Robinson having an argument with one of Cameron's press aides.

Orange on red; David delivers his educational pledge inside a Labour built academy. © Magnus Andersson

Apparently she didn't want to hear any questions about the proposal to give married couples a tax break. The Tories had first suggested it, then started backtracking when they realised they had no idea how this tax break would work, and now the press aide pleaded with Nick not to ask about it on their live interview in a few minutes. Her argument? It wasn't 'newsy' enough. Yeah right.

Nick Robinson, political editor at the BBC, points out that David Cameron doesn't really know what he is talking about now, is he? © Magnus Andersson

Around this time the Tories were almost 10% ahead in the polls. This weekends' poll shows that there are now only 2% (well within the margin of error) between Labour and the Tories and there has been much speculation that Gordon Brown is about to call a snap election.

Perhaps the airbrushed posters have backfired on the Conservatives? The future is always bright but the future might not be orange after all.

Another spoof poster from

Post amendment: here's what David said earlier today and it includes the poll figures I alluded to in this post.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Another blast from the past

A young and innocent Mattias sometime around 1993. © Martin Andersson

While scanning images from the previously mentioned book project, I came across this little gem of a picture of photographer & good friend Mattias Johansson. At first I didn't recognise him at all because this was on a roll of film which had the tail end of my book project on it, and I couldn't for the life of me remember taking this picture on that trip.

Then it dawned on me that I must have left the film in the camera, only for my brother to bring the camera on one of his and Mattias' trips, so my brother - Martin - is most likely the photographer in this case, because me and Mattias don't really hang out unless we are in the south of France.

I'd say that he is still a teenager there, about 18 years old and still unspoilt. Above we see him as an binocular-wearing young boy, but what I really want to know is: how did he become the bearded maniac photographer that he is today? Answers on a postcard, please.

Mattias wonders how he got here. Perpignan, 2009 © Magnus Andersson

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Photographers and hard labour

My dad trying to shift the relentless snow, sometime around midnight, in the middle of a 3-day snow storm. © Magnus Andersson

Wahey! I made it back to London in one piece but I have to say that I am really missing the snow. Upon landing at Stansted it was miserable, pissing down with rain.

Back to Sweden: with snow comes a lot of snow-shifting and this is done manually, i.e., we all have to chip in to shift the snow. If we don't, we simply won't get anywhere. This means hard labour, and during my stay we did the shifting at least four times a day just to keep our drive clear, because the snow just didn't stop.

That's my dad up there (top) and to be honest, he did most of the shifting, and I did most of the 'documentary' photography. Photographers are of no use when hard labour is required.

But snow also comes with a free license to create mischief. Ebba and Alice, my two little nieces, ran me ragged with snowball fights. Pure pleasure, no matter what my aching body tells me now.

Now that I'm back in London I had a look through the files and realised that I had a couple of shots that will stand up to comparison. The angles are not quite the same but it doesn't matter.

The first one is from Christmas '09 and the second one is from this weekend - a mere 2 months apart. I like the snowy one, even though it involves shifting of the white stuff.

Now I'm just hoping that I wont catch the stomach bug that one of my nieces had last night. At least its not the winter vomiting bug because I'm not feeling anything at the moment (famous last words).

Sunny day around Christmas. © Magnus Andersson

Snowy day around 24h ago. © Magnus Andersson

One from the upcoming book

Young lovers embrace, Gotland, Sweden, ca 1992-3. © Magnus Andersson

Taken on a Konica Autoreflex II with a 35/2.0 attached, sometime during the summer of love, 1993. Possibly 1992 even. The light meter got busted on this trip, but it didnt matter, shooting from the hip and using the inside of film packages for reference, most of these shots are salvageable. Its been great fun looking at these old neg's and the contact sheets, and even more fun when you put them in the scanner, drawing out old gem's like the one above.

Two friends (both seen above) and myself went on a road trip, first by car and then by bike, from west to east and then back again. We were around 19-20 years old and had a total blast, freewheeling through festivals and camp sites, stopping wherever we felt like it.

This Konica kit was the first that I ever tried serious photography on and I am pleased that it is still in my possession. What is really nice is that it was purchased sometime around 1969-70, when my dad correctly guessed that a Brownie camera just wouldnt cut it when it came to producing good family snaps. Thank you, dad!

I started using it in 1987-88 and I also
used my dad's 6x6 fold-up camera, from when he was a teenager, but lets face it, even a Lomo looks better than the pictures from that old 6x6 (nameless) camera. The Konica was different and dad had got some nice glass for it too. I started buying 30m rolls of Tri-X and shooting to my hearts content. One or two rolls have gotten lost, but that's the nature of film, its not forever. Its more organic, it ages, literally breathes and finally expires. Cant say that I miss it all that much, but digital certainly lacks a certain something.

I'm hoping to publish this private project in the next few weeks and there will possibly be some more info here on this later, but regardless, m
uch thanks needs to go out to my designer Lucia Dehez who has put a lot of effort in on this project. Merci!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Snowcards from Sweden

Apparently we haven't had this much snow for at least 35 years. Its amazing. I am seriously knackered after finally getting out to play with my nieces and their neighbours kid. Snowball fights plus igloo's plus climbing snow mountains equals one aching body.

Snow plough outside the house. © Magnus Andersson

Snow lined tree. © Magnus Andersson

Man clearing the snow on his garage. © Magnus Andersson

More snow ploughing. © Magnus Andersson

Dad knee deep in the snow. © Magnus Andersson

Large icicles, especially at the back. © Magnus Andersson

My brother clearing his drive with the tractor. Bluuu light! © Magnus Andersson

Snowed in

Snowfall last night, when the card reader was still working. © Magnus Andersson

Back in Sweden for a quick weekend and we have had the most snow we've seen in the last 25 years. I love it, don't get me wrong, but I'm not able to drive out to my brothers place and play with my cousins because the roads are pretty unsafe. Stuck at home on my dad's lo-spec laptop, which cant handle RAW files. Sigh. My card reader has stopped working so I can't download from my compact either. That's the D700 and the LX3 out of commission, at least for blog purposes.

I'm supposed to be flying back to London tomorrow morning but it doesn't look very likely. The flights were cancelled today and the snow hasn't let up so my chances of a speedy return looks very slim. That means buying a new ticket, paying extra for the extended stay at the airport car park, possibly missing out on salary if I'm not back at work on Monday, yada yada, you get the picture.

Anyway, dad and me are going for a walk in the woods no, the silence is incredible. The snow just sucks up all sound around us, its so beautiful.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Hanging in there

Mona Lisa and a coat hanger from earlier today. © Magnus Andersson

Its been a bit quiet on the blog in 2010, but there's been lots of other things going on; an engagement (she said yes!), the loss of my grandmother - R.I.P., birthdays and some trivial stuff such as broken equipment, insurance hassle and repairs trouble, all mounting up to my blog distraction. This is just a quick post to let you know that I'm still hanging in there, my focus is just elsewhere at the moment.