Babies, bikes & bells
How I've been waiting for this year. I had high hopes for a come-back. A new start.
And for the most part, 2014 was just what I needed.
The beginning of the year was a lot about children. Some of my dear friends had their first children and a few were still pregnant. Apparently we're in that age now. And it's brought so much joy.
Spring was also seasoned with a few trips together with my photographer friend Caro. We went to Cyprus to photograph villas. Then we went to Crete for one of the first weddings of this year, which set a sweet standard for the coming summer.
And so summer came. The busiest time of the year; my second season as a wedding photographer.
I honestly don't think I've realised before this summer, how much work is involved with being a wedding photographer. Especially when you have full-day weddings every other weekend and various other shoots in between. I must admit, I was exhausted. But I also loved it, whenever I found a few minutes to reflect.
My work took me places I've never seen, brought me to people I wouldn't otherwise have met. Every Saturday was my first Saturday.
If I have to point out a specific wedding that reminded me why this is a freaking awesome job, it must be the one I shot i Saltoluokta. I've heard of this place since I was very young. A place so far up North that the sun never sets. Now I got to experience it first hand. Together with two friends who got married in the mountains. Breathtaking views whichever way you turned. Reindeer on the roads, reindeer for dinner... It was a magical place and I hope to return one day.
That said, I met so many lovely couples this summer, I hope they all know how much I appreciated spending time with them. I always feel very humble when they let me into their lives, to spend a whole day with them; the happiest and perhaps most emotional day of their lives. I've yet to attend a wedding without crying.
In the middle of all of this happiness, we were once again hit with sorrow. Just after my brother's wedding and just before my cousin's, our lovely grandmother passed away. In some weird way, it felt suitable that her time to go would be when all the grandchildren were together, which we rarely are. Dear farmor, you've left a deep and ever-lasting impression on all of us.
After the summer, as mentioned above, I was absolutely exhausted. Partly because when I didn't work, I planned my next adventure.
Biking from Haparanda to Ystad.
The idea was born a few months after two of my grandparents passed away last year. After months of distress, I was desperate to see something good to come out of it. So I decided that after my last wedding of the season, I would take the first train to Haparanda where I would start biking all the way home. 1800km.
I had no idea what to expect when I left home. A few people thought I was crazy, a couple said it was idiotic, but everyone cheered for me. During the next month, I biked all the way through Sweden to raise money for Alzheimer's.
I was supposed to stop in twenty-two different cities and villages. I didn't have any accommodation planned and figured it would be nice to meet people along the way, so I asked my friends on Facebook if they knew anyone in the listed places, who would be able to accommodate a tired cyclist for a night. After a few days, I had found people to stay with in nineteen of those twenty-two stops.
This was the absolute best part of the trip. Meeting people I had never met before, who all said the same thing: come into our home, sleep in our bed, eat our food. They fed me and kept me company. They told me stories and listened to mine.
I know that people are good, but I would never in my wildest dreams guessed that that there is so much of it out there. It really touched me to the core.
The last two days of the trip, after countless of experiences and meetings (which you can ask me about in person), my best friend Natalie decided to join me. When I had 1650km in my legs already, she didn't hesitate to bike 50km the first day and then 100km the day after. In rain. And steep hills. And heavy wind. It's probably the nicest things anyone has done for me.
But then an evening in late September, around 6pm, we both took the last turn towards my grandparent's house. That was the grand finale. We rolled down the last 100 meters with family and friends cheering for us. They greeted us with flowers, hugs and tears. Those twenty minutes made this the best day of this year. Maybe ever.
Together, we raised over 30 000 SEK (£2500).
I left my camera at home and tried to take it all in, in person. But I did use my iPhone camera at times.
Winter had a tough act to follow, but I was happy to be back in London. It's home to me now.
When the wedding season ends, event season begins. Birthday parties, award nights, store launches... I highly value how varied my time is in the winter. Especially the fact that I finally have time for my own projects. Like my new website and concept, 'A day in your life'. Following a person or family for a whole day, on an absolutely ordinary day in their life. Capturing what will be their future memories. The last two photos are from one of those sessions.
Conclusion. Indeed, a come-back from the previous year. A promise for an even better 2015. And some Phil Ochs lyrics to round it off. This is what I listened to on my bike, and what kept motivating me through-out September:
And I won't be laughing at the lies when I'm gone
And I can't question how or when or why when I'm gone
Can't live proud enough to die when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here
To 2015 and to putting your dreams into action!