Maolin was here.

Unexpected snowstorm on Gulou
DADA
Close to Forbidden City
Great Leap Brewery

Malin is this crazy gyal I’ve known for almost twenty years. We both wished the other one gone the first half year of our relationship, but we were stuck together.

The problem was never really that there was anything wrong with her or vice versa, just jealousy. You see, Stephanie was my bff at school, but Malin was her bff at home. Oh what a mess that turned into when Malin who is 1 year younger, appeared when I started 7th grade. Shit. I had only heard that bitches name til this day… now I couldn’t wait to let her know how I felt about her being around. 

We put trashcans on each others heads with a laugh, as if it was funny to everyone but we knew it was about humiliation. To discourage. We took every chance we got to make the other one feel like an idiot. Trying to keep up internal jokes with “Steffie” to make eachother feel left out. It all changed after After Christmas break though, when Stephanie moved away. Now Malin was the only sane person around. Shit. The people in my own class were just classmates, not my friends. But the people in Malins class were nutbags. Stealing shit. Breaking shit. Smoking. Drinking. Not respecting the shoeline by the entrance. Not respecting the rules of no outdoors clothes indoors. People born 89 are fucking weird man. Who the hell was I supposed to hang out with?!

I felt too organized for the Eightyniners. Too dumb for the bookworms in my own grade.

Malin and I stopped fighting. We had to. Instead we missed our friend together and eventually  forgot all about her. We both felt equally unimportant to Stephanie now, since she never called, sent an invitation, a text or an email to either of us. It brought the two of us together. Now it was her and I, plus the other weirdos from her year, against the immigrant bitches and idiots. GAME.ON.

Yeapp, we called them much worse stuff than that. To their face. And them us. School turned into something out of a movie about tragic teens. The Turkish Bitches made my life hell. That started brewing the first week I spent t that school, but didn’t escalate as long as I was hanging out with kind and cute Stephanie. We just wanted to read Harry Potter and draw trees together. Attra, the bitch leader of the bitch pack, turned into stone the very moment I chose to be Erica and Stephanies friend over theirs. My real life Draco! All smiles were gone. The air was sucked out. Then Stephanie moved away and I started hanging out with Malins crazy peers. The Eightyniners. Crazy mother fuckers. It all fucking exploded. And I can barely remember picking up a book during 7th grade.

I wrote one, but didn’t read any. The one I wrote got disqualified because my teacher could not possibly believe that a what? A girl in baggy jeans and a hoodie who skips most classes to go smoking and stealing stuff from the mall, cant possibly write anything worth reading?

This book was my biggest achievement in life til that point.
It was about a girl named Milla, who fell inlove. She was me, but not really. She did crazy things with her friends, but in a different way. In a healthier and happier way. Through that book, I dreamed. Writing this book kept me inside the school. I printed several copies of each page after finishing and handed out to anyone interested. Then I handed out new versions. All of it was waited upon and read with excitement by a big bunch of girls. It brought my separate group of friends together. I had a girl from my hometown who came to my class, but she hung out with the nerdier girls who read adult stuff like The Lord of the Rings as 12 year olds. Quite amazing I thought. I would never dream of reading a brick like that. It didnt seem human to me to read so heavy stuff at that age. I was major impressed. So having these girls interested in my writing was fantastic. I got recognition! Their interest made all the difference! Walking through the corridors seeing these smart girls read my pages with high interest while walking, I FELT CAPABLE! PROUD! CREATIVE AND AMAZING! Oh boy how my heart was broken when that teacher, who I had thought was so cool with her short hair and rave clothes, told me it was “Plagiarism”. I just burst into tears. I thought she wanted to have a meeting about the book, to talk about how great it is to see me do some schoolwork again. She didn’t know where from, but she was sure I had stolen it off the internet. 

Eventually my friends spoke up for me. That was a beautiful thing. Girls from different groups and years, told my teacher how I had been not hanging out with them to write the damn thing. It was nice to feel someone had my back atleast. Even though the smart girls later on called for an official meeting to let me know they don’t wanna be my friend anymore, cus I was “too different”. Up til that point, I had even felt pride to be one of them every now and then. Even got invited to 2 birthday parties. I only heard the opening words of the meeting before I paniced the fuck out of there. More than enough to set my heart to burn, freak me out and figure the rest. “Mm, Sanna” the teacher said.. “Hae you noticed how different you girls are?”

I had not come there to be humiliated. I had come because I had thought we were planning something fun together. And for some fucking reason, the school shrink was there to support them in this intervention type of friendship breakup. God I hated that school. Not the students, but those shitty adults. She should have told them that an official meeting with 5 girls wanting to officially resign from being my friend IS WRONG! I hadn’t even really done anything. I was just not like them. Just not smart like them. The shrink should have had some respect for the very fact that I hadn’t really done anything. Some respect for me. She should have taught these girls that this is not the way to handle a situation like this. Not force them to spend time with me either, but at least not condone in my humiliation like this. 

I haven’t felt I belonged anywhere since this year in school. Just waiting to get kicked out of whatever group Im trying to get involved with. Surprised that I am being wanted back. Not kidding. This is my life now. Just waiting for people to realize I’m not good enough to for them. Not until today have I connected the dots. During these years in school I grew away from being confident. Away from being happy and content with myself.

I had been called a rabbit for years. But it never bothered me so in to the bones as it started to, during this year. I even stopped eating carrots. I really started to feel ugly. That nobody will ever appreciate or understand me.

Shortly after the whole situation with the book, the teacher let me skip 3 levels. Because everything those 3 levels would teach, I had proven in my book I knew all about. Subconcious skill?

Between the eightyniners and the Turkish Bitches looooads of name calling was going on. My school books were kicked around the floor, while I was trying to clean out my locker on floor level. Ugly became my nickname. Rabbit continued being my nickname. “Have you ever heard of this thing called braces ugly?” It all was a disaster. But it was in a weird way, not for real. Because if I would be alone on the subway, the girls would’nt say or do anything. Just ignore me. It all was just a way to pass time at school, between stealing makeup from H&M and smoking Denise’s moms cigarettes.

Malin and I grew up together. Became people together. Not the best ones, but we did it together. We’re pretty decent folks today! As teens she supported me through everything. Always made me feel ok, that’s it not me who is the problem, but the other people who don’t see how great I am. We looked after eachother. I was the oldest but she was the big sister. Now I think I have grown into the role of the big sister, but we will see how long it takes before she reclaims it again.

Over the years we lost contact on and off due to new schools, new friends, boyfriends, hobbies, lifestyles. But we always knew we weren’t gonna be apart forever. We just needed space to grow, since we were growing in different directions. Like two branches on the same tree. Instead of pulling eachother to come our own way, we gave each other room to go to brightest place. It was out of nothing but true love and respect, that we dropped contact from time to time. Since we couldn’t support each others decisions always, and we would have nasty fights instead; we organically took breaks, rather than risking fucking up the whole relationship. We knew it was important. We’d met up after a few weeks or months and see how things are going, then keep in touch or fall our again depending on how the meeting went. It could go up to a year maybe more sometimes. We knew if we were ready or not. Through all of this, if either of us would have been in desperate need, we’d been there in a heart beat. We’d drop anything.

Here in Beijing we enjoyed just hanging out on our yogamats in my Hutong, but we did manage to get out of the house and see some stuff.  As a photographer, I kept it simple. Never brought  flash or anything fancy, not even a change of lens. Just a charged battery with an empty CF card. Keep it simple stupid.

Malin my love, my sister. What the hell would I have ever done without you?

Beijing North West corner adventure

We were just gonna go through the park to save time, but ended up in a confused loop due to the west gate being bricked up.

I would never say “all foreigners look the same”. They just dress the same.

To contact police, just press the red button, that happens to sit behind thick glass. Ah shit.

After refueling on electrolytes we continued to Qinghua University for a game of softball. But we could not possibly find our people and then Ethans battery died. So we had to find something else to do…

 

Graffiti on the wall separating the school area from living space.

We had left the university area to search for food when I spotted this princess in green!

and this supr dope flowy coat.

Lady selling colorful ribbons, flowers, Jian Bing and Ma La Tang from the same window.
JIA YOU! 加油!!

 

And this guy built this thing to use for selling pots. Genius.

Organizing files

“Joakim vaknar”  or “Joakim is waking up” was a photo project I started the summer we got together.

I’ve been a photographer for 10 years, and never planned it like a proper business where one has a certain system to things. This means my folder are a mess, with about a million photos in total divided up in 9 hard drives. No bigger thought from start about what goes where and why.

This year moving forward, I will keep 2 HDD per year. One as temp to move things into at first. After deleting all the crap, editing and exporting final images they are moved to the second one for long storage and cloud back up, to Backblaze.

Adobe Bridge made this whole project of restructuring possible.

With bridge you can see NEF thumbnails, which is the main reason I use the program. Bridge works as a sexy interface to your windows folders, making all my dumps of RAW files from SD and CF cards to a few different folders easy to overview and move around.

I’ve stopped sorting after dates, instead I sort after content.

I find it that dates are hard to remember after a while anyway, so I never use the date to find anything. I use the event, the people that were there or the location. From these 4 categories, I can find anything just by remembering why I took the photo I’m looking for.

Personal Photos from home, walks around the neighborhood I live in, minor excursions for less than 24h, house parties, visitors from Sweden etc.
Work Pictures I’ve taken for someone else for money. For example Portraits, or events.
Sanna K Photography Pictures I’ve taken for their objective importance or beauty that might serve a commercial value to somebody else, like live music, exhibitions, any kind of performance art. Also my bigger photo projects like Apparel by Sanna K.
Travels Anything requiring me to stay one night at a hotel.

Turning the wheels.

Yesterday morning, like many other mornings, I enjoyed my Amy Winehouse Karaoke marathon on youtube. A handsome face in black and white showed up the right side amongst all the related clips. This was Curt Cobain’s picture in a clip laying down the facts to support the conspiracy theory about Courtney Love being the murderer. I consulted my Courtney Love expert in the matter, Fionn. He is still head over heels in love with her even though he isn’t even that into girls anymore. I guess once you go Courtney, you never go back. He ended up sending pictures of her in her prime, when she is showing her boobs on stage and just being awesomely cool and well dressed in sexy short blond hair. I wanted more picture so I opened google. I found this.

Courtney Love by Ellen Von Unwerth ca 1994 Turned out that Ellens pictures of Courtney Love are still far from her best work. Compared to what other stuff she has done, these are almost not even worth looking at.

Ellen Von Unwerth, hands down the one and only photographer who has gotten my jaw to drop when scrolling through images. To the point that I am turning my wheels.

I am sure it will be quite difficult to find models who are brave and cool enough to pose for these images, but this world is huge.. There is people everywhere… They posed for Ellen, so why not for me?

Apparel by Sanna K is fun and I learn a lot from it, but I need to push some boundaries. Frankly, I need to do something less clean. Something that is less accepted by the general consensus. I wanna pinch a nerve somewhere and make people look at me in aw, wondering if I am insane. That will never happen if I keep doing what I am doing. Meaning I am trying to fit in the profile of a “normal photographer”, at the same time as I am constantly fighting against it. Not doing anything to really make it happen and I shrug at the thought of actually succeeding. But I cant kill this ghost in my head, voicing this false piece of information to me. “You will never make any money if you don’t learn how to shoot events… Like Aaron” Truth is, I would rather shoot myself.

Still, I keep going back and forth… Learn to care about companies and their CEOs VS some outrageous and ever so slightly insane but beautiful art with cryptic messages?

Sigh…

From the events I have shot, my favourite pictures are the ones nobody will ever see. Beautiful rich women in classy gowns are drunk on the dance floor grinding their husbands like dirty sluts at 2 am, when most of the other guests are already tucked in at home. These gorgeous photos, that I am so proud of having taken, that I am sure these women would love to have printed in a drawer somewhere; cant be posted anywhere. And it breaks my heart.

From Ellen I learned, I want people to get a little uncomfortable from my pictures. Not to the point that I am breaching any sensible morals, but I would feel brave and pretty bad ass having a person looking at my pictures — not being able to imagine how the hell that all went down. I want people to look at my pictures wondering what the atmosphere was like when they were taken. I want people to wonder exactly how arranged these pictures are? Or was the scene very much alive and just a moment flashing by like any other was captured? Wondering about everything, like I did with Ellens pieces.
Ellen Von Unwerth

I am not a corrupted person who has given in to all kinds of self indulgence while keeping my moral and spirit high anyway, by following the expected patterns of living a life. Like finishing school and surviving an office job. I haven’t even finished high school and probably never will. “You cant change the world trying to be like it” somebody said, and I agree. I gotta walk my own path, learning the things I want to learn in the way I want to learn them. A classroom is no future destination for anything, unless, ofc… maybe a photoshoot inspired by Von Unwerth.

I want to create something that is serving as my corrupted side. Not giving in doesn’t mean I am never considering it. The thrill I get from creating something that is not 100% PC, simply can not be replaced by anything else. I need it. And it cant be commercially airbrushed clean, it needs to be real. It needs to be dirty. It needs to be bad. It needs to raise an eyebrow and it needs to be balancing on the edge of “not okay”. Still it needs to be incredibly and exceptionally well done.
Ellen Von Unwerth
I have been writing a lot of songs and singing; as a way of doing this. But these have been texts about inner demons and they all wrote them selves while I was at war with them. I am not ashamed of my demons, I have even befriended most of them by now. As a way of admitting their existence and proudly show how my thought patterns are not like everybody elses, I published them. I have even sung a few of them at couple of Open Mic Nights. One guy listened carefully and understood. A few girls liked my wits.

My brain malfunctioning in moments that I know would be crucial to somebody else, is something I consider a blessing and a curse. The songs will never provide me the satisfaction since a great heartful performance is required for them to get through to people. And I will never perform them the way I see it my head. I can never do them in the way they should be done, when anybody is watching.

Pictures though, don’t need me to be present to be admired. They simply are just proof of what I have been up to earlier.

That’s what I want. That’s what I am going for. Some proof of me being ever so slightly insane.

Little Adoption Shop

Jack

Today we started a photography project. I call us The Dogoods, but it is no official name. We do not really have a name for our project either, but it is leaning towards something like “An ounce of exposure”.
What we are doing is raising peoples awareness to certain important causes through beautiful photography. First out is The Little Adoption Shop. This is a non governmental dog shelter in Beijing, housing 300 dogs. It is run strictly out of love and empathy by Chris and Paul, who lives with these dogs full time. Paul starts every morning with patting every single dog on its head saying “Good morning”. He takes 80 dogs out for walks every day, cleans the floors twice, feeds them all and gives the occasional baths. We will through our photography try to have as many dogs as possible adopted in Beijing, and ship at least 5 of the big ones to US, since they are not allowed in here.

This shelter has gone though a lot. It aint an easy task to take care of 300 individuals while it feels like everybody around you is trying to make it difficult. Landlords kicking them out after big and costly renovations, neighbours complaining about dogs barking, finding space for all the animals coming in and the list goes on. What they are doing is unselfish and simply beautiful. Imagine spending your whole days taking care of dogs with heartbreaking backstories, uncurable healthconditions and different needs to see to. Every dog that comes in is more work and more expenses, every dog that gets adopted is a heartache because you have grown to love this furry forlegged friend.

You cant even imagine can you? These guys though, Paul and Chris, they are doing it. They are heroes and deserve much more than they get for themselves. Warmhearted people are the ones who are not elbowing their way through life, so they dont get as much as the nasty ones who do. At the same time as they have made their choice and they are aware of the consequences, we can still give them a little reward.

We can make a small donation of our time to help them walk the dogs or clean the floors, bring a bag of chewy toys or an old leash we dont need anymore. What we have to do to help to boils down to one small simple matter. Care. All we have to do is care.