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I took this photo a while ago, while flying over the North Sea. The sky was bright blue that day and the clouds were fluffy and white. As you can see, none of that early spring vibe has survived in the photo above. I like this image better than the original. I think of it as “tweaking reality”.
As a kid I was always fascinated by sci- fi and space exploration. I wanted so much to become an astronaut. I wanted to experience leaving the earth and looking back at it, to realize how little our endeavours really mean, our petty fights, our conceits about deities. It’s an exercise I used to do alot in my life, I would pretend that I was sitting on the moon and looking at the earth. It really helped me get perspective.
I was also fascinated by other worlds, not just Mars or even something exotic like Jupiter, but I used to love (and still do actually) to imagine the unimaginable. Approach it with my mind and then know I cannot touch it or make it materialize. I found out German theologian Rudolf Otte coined a word that sort of describes it, the Numinous (I like to spell it with a capital), or “wholly other”, but for me, it does not hold any religious connotations. So I realized the other world I was looking to explore could also be found here on earth, which was good since I suck at maths and physics… 🙂
Catching a glimpse
When I started taking photos, around the time I was 9 or 10, I noticed I could sometimes, completely by chance, capture something that would resonate with this longing to know the numinous. It could be an underexposed photo of a family trip to Paris, standing in front of the Louvre Pyramid, or a shot of a plastic bag in close up, resembling mountain ranges.
Now I no longer depend on luck to get a result that will excite me. I seem to know instinctively what to look for, how to frame it, to get something I can work with. The shot itself, unedited, may not yet reveal all too clearly what I was going for, but once I start manipulating it, tweaking reality, usually the veil starts to lift quite quickly. I wrote about this process a bit for my Everyday project.
In the days I used to get on stage with my very talented friend Kasper Souren, we shared the urge to find this other place. There were nights back then, where I think we might have created a portal to one of these places, stepped through and asked our audience to follow us. Not many did back then, but I still can feel it. The track below embodies much of that for me. I hope it will illustrate my point, if not either enjoy the sounds or click away! 🙂
As clouds gather and the wind grows stronger,
I feel the endless fear of being.
As I watch the bird flee into the trees, not safe,
in danger, in wind.
I cannot deny the dreams I have at night.
The feeling that remains when I wake up.
In these dreams I feel myself
being torn into the eye of the storm.
I feel that I’m outside in the rain and I’m scared.
Yet it is an attraction so strong I cannot defy it.
The sleep has numbed my mind into a dimension
where the landscape has been swept
of all signs of humanity.
It is a scene of plains, mountains, forests, lakes.
It looks dark, as if it’s either the birth or death
of something very important.
And still it is static.
It is a sight of much appeal.
I feel like home here.
A sea, in the distance,
I can hear it’s gigantic quiet majestic sound.
This is my death, my heaven.
There is no need for any action.
Only the wind, the rain and the sea.
It is only to observe and feel.
I would like to live the end of it.
In the distance a black lake glimmers
in the violence of the wind.
Monumental clouds deprive me of my breath
(do I still breathe?)
The sound in this world makes my tears alive
(do I still have eyes to cry with?)
The lake is nearer now.
I still hear the wind and the sea
as I stand at the edge of the lake
I try to perceive the blackness of the lake.
But it’s imppossible.
The depth of it reminds me of my soul.
The only seasons here are winter and autumn,
autumn and winter.
I stare into the lake, snow, rain, wind.
And I die by the side of this lake.
And I live by the side of this lake.
In this world.
And I know when.
When the time has come.
When everything will start to deteriorate around me.
When I know it is time, I will go in,
into the lake
Into the black.
But before that time comes
I will roam this world.
This place which resembles my longings.
Fulfills the feelings I wish for.
It keeps my soul alive.
And my black lake will always be there.
For when the time.