Saturday, January 17, 2009

Spot The Flag.

In America the flag is always a part of the landscape.
More so than where I originally come from.

In Sweden, where I grew up,
I mostly associated our blue and yellow flag
with the end of the school year.
And the occasional celebration of something.
Or at half-mast if someone had died.
It represented both joy and sorrow.

We had a tall and proud flagpole in our garden.
Until when I was about 9 or something when a storm broke it off.
My dad left a stump of it standing.
On which he nailed a wood plate for the birds to eat of.
The cat soon took it over.

In the US tall flagpoles are not as common in people's
backyards as they are in many northern European countries.
But most everybody has flagstaffs mounted to their homes.
And those who don't often display a flag inside a window.
Flags are a very common sight all year round, day as night.

In Sweden the flag is supposed to be lowered at sunset.
Here in the US it's a 24 hour thing.

I don't remember clearly but I think the display of the
flag became much more common after 9/11.
It's everywhere, plastered on everything.

I love the American Flag.

Stars. Stripes.
To me it has always represented freedom.

And it is a powerful graphic statement.

I've started to take pictures where the flag plays a part.
It's not neccesarily the key object, but it's always there somewhere.
Here's the first in the series. More to come.
A tribute to the American flag.
I hope Obama will help making this flag
more liked around the world again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ty's brook

The photographer is 8 years old.
I'm his proud dad.
I hope I have inherited
some of his genes.
This is a 30 minute
train ride from Manhattan.
With stops on the way.
New Jersey.
People in Manhattan like to say that there's
no light at
the end of the tunnel.
Well, we have brooks at least.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

a better eye than mine

All but one, or perhaps two,
photographs on this blog are mine.
One was by a guy in Singapore. the other was
borrowed from a site I referenced.
This one is by one of my boys. Louie, 10.
He asked to borrow my camera when we
took a stroll into to the town center
of Maplewood where we live.
Tomorrow I'll post Ty's picture.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

number 9, number 9.

Always reminds me of The Beatles recording,
when Paul or John or whomever says:
Number 9, number 9...
Some secret message
I'm sure. like take 9, or something.
Or Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
This is more earth bound clearly.
Art on the street of Manhattan.
I don't know how many times I've
actually photographed this one.
I love it.

my mates in Hongkong

No, they don't really look like this.
Only almost.
Yes, they probably wear this sort of clothes most every day to work.
The shades were purchased for the shoot however.
I used flash, didn't want to hurt their sensitive designer's eyes.
Excellent designers by the way.
I've only done some small stuff with them on distance the last year though.
Say hi.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New York, Hanoi

When you're in Vietnam there are a few
American style places for those with a craving for home.
But I never saw a joint with paintings of
the Wild West or Brooklyn Bridge
or anything else that would remind us of home.
In NY, and most all over the world,
pizza joints have pictures of Italy,
Chinese restaurants pictures of mountains,
and Swedish restaurants feature naked blonds
sucking on IKEA meatballs with
lingonberry jam smeared all over.
A pity you can't find any
Swedish restaurants around.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Inside an ad agency today

The photo is taken in an empty office room on
the creative floor at Ogilvy in New York.
No, it's not my office.
I left my nice corner office more than 2 years ago.
I've been back and visited old friends several times.
Fewer and fewer of them are still there.
And this is how more and more
of the offices will look by the end of today.

Reports say hundreds of people are being laid off.
Some claim it's over 300 people who
are packing up their offices right now.
And it's not the first time.
The fact is that Ogilvy and most other agencies have been
laying off people consistently for the past 2 years or so.
It's not only because new technology have made us more productive.
Even if those who still have jobs are often seen working
longer days than ever and most weekends too.
Thereby presumably producing more.
No, the real reason is that budgets have been shrinking.
The proportion between media spend and what the agencies earn to produce
the work has changed over the past 4-5 years.
Clients wants more for their money, and fewer people to pay for doing it.
That is really hurting the industry.
Some may argue that it's fat trimming.
Which doesn't bode well for all new kids
right now in ad schools around the states.
Ad schools is a big and widespread business.

I always felt that US agencies perhaps where
a bit overstaffed compared to other countries I've worked in.
More people worked on the same assignment. But again, why not?
The budgets are also much bigger than anywhere else.
More people on the same assignment didn't
mean less work for each person either.
It created a competitive (some say political) environment
where people worked very, very hard and long hours to get their
work through internally before it was ever shown to a client.
This multi team approach is much rarer in Europe
as there never was enough money to pay for it.
US agencies are getting slimmer.
Both on the account side and the creative side.
And the big traditional shops,
despite now being multi disciplinary and media agnostic,
are losing all sorts of assignments,
and bits of their clients, to smaller specialist shops.
There's been some talk that digital shops would be hurt less.
But the indications are for lay-offs even there.
Again, clients demand more for less.
Because they can.
There's a surplus of ad agencies and ad people.
It's the buyer's market.
The shrinking economy doesn't help.
Everybody is cutting and few are investing.
The holding company system doesn't help either.
For several reasons.
Which I won't go into here.
But I'm sure some of you have your ideas
on what the problem with holding companies are.

For a bit more on the sad news go to:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Subway exit

A dollar to anyone who knows exactly
where this shot was taken.
Sure, it's NY, and it's Manhattan.
But exactly where?
In art school, during our first photography lesson
the teacher said something
I've never forgotten.
She said: Soon you will see the world as a series of photos.
Through different camera lenses instead of through your eyes.
You will look at things as if you were choosing a lens.
How right that is. And every view changes with the lens.
You can take a series of very different pictures
from exactly the same spot pointing in the same direction.
I remember when I first caught myself thinking
in photos instead of just seeing with pure eyes.
It was on a vacation in the Norwegian fjords.
It was one of those extremely
beautiful views across a fjord.
The water flat like a mirror reflecting a sky
filled with huge clouds
in all shades of gray.
A small white wooden church
sat on a little islet in the middle of the fjord.
The sun cut through the clouds in just one spot
and shot rays of warm light
right onto that little white building.
And the only thing I could think was:
Hey, where's my camera, that's a great shot.
Anyway, the camera was buried
in some bag and
when I finally got it out the film
had no frames left.
The clouds closed,
the magic light was gone.
So here's NY instead.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Naked Cowboy and his sidekick

It's freezing.
Vertical drizzle. Or rather little nails of ice blowing across.
One of those dreadful days when the chill goes through your bones no matter how you dress.
The Naked Cowboy's skin seems perfectly used to the weather conditions.
He doesn't seem to be suffering.
Heck. I was ready to walk into the nearest travel agent and put up my house up
as collateral for a trip south.
A group of Asian tourists all took turns getting
their behinds squeezed by the naked hands of the Naked Cowboy.
Photo opportunity.
After which they stuck a dollar bill or two in his pants.
At least his privates got some padding.
His self appointed sidekick got the laughs but not the dollars.
Got to love it. Only in New York.