You live your life happily unknowing about what´s coming your way, you think you got it under control but then you realize you dont´t. Shit happens and your plans change. I´m writing this very late post about my summer in December. Christmas is coming but since Santa is both old and fat, he might die if he gets the Corona virus so he´s probably not coming this year.
But this post is about my summer, a staycation with my closest family in a weird open-but-closed country, a cancelled year where all the fun is postponed.
One stupid thing about this post being so late is that I forget important stuff I experienced back in June, July and august. Stuff that I wanted to write about, the small things I notice out in the society. How people act and react towards eachother. The things people do to protect themselves, or how they don´t do anything to protect themselves. My last post was in June and almost that entire piece was about my issues with categorizing the photos and naming the posts, and I promised that the next post, this one, would come really soon and it would be entitled ” Afraid to shoot strangers”, after an Iron Maiden song. Yeah, that didn´t happen hahaha, but this post is actually named after another rock / metal song. And some of the photos that would be in that category are actually in this one, so I wasn´t completely off.
So what´s happened since the last post back in June? And how was my own summer? Well, I´m gonna make this quick and easy and just write what I can easily remember, and I´ll write more personal stuff that are on my mind right now in the next post.
My work as a photographer kind of died out in June after a little comeback in May. That made it possible for me to get some super great quality time with our daughter, while my wife was working double jobs to help put food on the table. I really enjoyed having so much time with our daughter, we are already very close and I think our father-daughter relationship is super strong, and we connected even more this summer. So I guess, thanks for that Corona.
We did our best trying to be creative and come up with safe and fun activities to do here in and around Stockholm with our family, both just the three of us and with my sisters family and our parents. That was kind of hard when so many things are closed or simply doesnt feel safe to visit. Like bigger indoor playgrounds for children, museums, zoos, or fun parks or tivolis. And since we dont have a car and your´re supposed to avoid travelleing by metro or bus, well, your options get very limited.
Did I smear one of those cookies with Corona virus? Did I just kill my father???
But we managed to have some great fun anyways, we went to beaches we knew weren´t super-crowded and we always kept a distance. When we went together with my parents we always fought the unwinnable fight to disinfect the cookie-package and the coffee mugs, thinking that the evil f*cking little Corona virus would somehow find it´s way on to those things. The panic was total when you realize you just touched your nose or face or whatever source of virus party place, then accidentally barely touching (maybe) some nearby cookies inside the cookiebag when you reached to get one for yourself, and moments later you see your 75+ father putting a cookie in his mouth. Did I smear one of those cookies with Corona virus? Did I just kill my father???
And this is eventhough I´m free of all symptoms. Or am I? Did I feel a little sore in my throat yesterday?
They say the The Devil is in the details, if that´s true then I can´t believe we survived the summer.
I didn´t accidentally kill anyone of my parents. Hopefully not anyone else as well.
If we wanted to do some indoor activities like museums or childrens play centres then we always visisted such places on non-crowded days like in the middle of the week, on non-peak hours. Over-using alcoholic spray.
Like, you touch something new – BAM! Spray. You open the toilet door with your shirt and close it with your elbow in some weird way, you dont actually touch anything inside the toilet but still, you spray your poor hands anyway with that alcohol spray, feeling how you really murder that goddamn virus.
We went on a mini-vacation to a zoo park called Kolmården and they had done a great job with safety and distancing, so that felt totally safe. Eventhough it felt weird and sad that the kids had to greet the mascots from Bamse with their elbows instead of hugging them, it was so wonderful seeing see our daughter having so much fun, like she was on a “normal” holiday. I realized she doesnt give a shit about the elbow thing, the kids dont´t care about that – they are just super psyched to actually meet Bamse and his friends IRL and having a great day at a fun park. We just have to make sure that when this is over, we have to learn the kids how to be “normal” again, that it´s ok to touch things outdoors without having to spray your hands, to hug their grandparents and drink from the same bottle as your cousin.
At the breakfast buffe in the hotel we stayed at, they had done everything they could do keep things clean and safe. You had to book a time-slot the day before and when you arrived in the morning you got to spray your hands and put on plastic gloves. You were then taken to your seats outdoors and only one person per company were allowed to go inside and bring what you wanted from the buffe. It worked really well and I´m glad we at least had one hotel breakfast this summer, it made things feel just a tiny bit more like a normal holiday.
So what else did we do this summer? Oh yeah , we got tested for antibodies together with hundreds of thousands of people in Stockholm, mass-testing like a post-apocalyptic film. One of Stockholms fanciest congress and event venues were now used for testing purposes, I used to shoot many events there last year so it felt weird to be back there to get tested. The Swedish government or the local authorities – I mean who really cares anymore? – failed to organize the mass-testing and get enough nurses to manage the whole thing, so private firms had to step in to “assist”. We didnt have any antibodies. Good and bad.
Around that time of mass-testing you could see so many people in Stockholm with “Corona-bandage” on their arms, wearing it like some kind of accessory to show that they are tested. You would think that people wanna hide that so others wont think they´re infected, but no – everyone was openly showing it. Strange things.
The Corona virus took a little break over the summer in Sweden, like in the rest of Europe. They say the virus doesn´t like the heat so it probably comes back in the winter. It was very clear that people in general put their guard down and relaxed over the summer, not caring so much about the social distancing craziness from back in March and April when everyone were much more careful. And much more afraid. Now after 3-4 months of the worst crisis since WW2 people were just fed up with limited freedom, social distancing and general party-pooping restrictions. Especially the younger generations, many of them just didin´t seem to give a shit, they kept living their lives like normal hanging out in cafés, malls, crowded beaches and parties. While you could see the older people, like 60+ and 70 +, carefully coming out from forced isolation and slowly starting to enjoy life outdoors again, doing their best to stay safe. The generations would many times clash in conflicts over the social distancing in stores, waiting in lines, in the metro and on buses or wherever people stand close to eachother.
I think it was sad to see that the older generations don´t get more respect in this country, many young people think they are immortal and that the pandemic doesn´t involve them, since they don´t get as sick as older people.
Well, enough of the ranting here, let´s upload a bunch of images from my own summer and let them do the talking.
Oh, I´m a bit more chill this time about the categorizing and the whole theme-thing, I mix photos of random people I met, my own family photos and photos I just think have a place in this project; to show the society and people´s lives in the days of Corona.
Here is a link to the song “My Own Summer ( Shove it)” by Deftones, a little soundtrack to the post.
COMING UP NEXT!
To be honest I don´t really know and I don´t want to make any promises that I can´t keep. But I think it will be either photos of various Corona-related signs or I´ll just put all the chosen photos from the past 3 months together and not give a f*ck about themes and that stuff.
This post was about 3 months late due to the fact that I actually got some work in September, October and November. When I get work I have to focus on that and then I have less time to get out to shoot. But now things are slowing down again job-wise so I think I will have more time to get out and “explore” the Corona-damaged society. Oh and I have also bought myself a new lens, my favourite lens for street photography – a 35mm prime lens for the new Canon RF system. So now I feel discrete again, and that makes me take better photos.