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I am curious as to what lies between the notion of glancing versus that of observation. Can an observation be reduced to a glance? Can a more prolonged glance become an observation, and what do these questions pose to how we make photographs and how do we view them when completed? The subject is fleeting when held briefly at a glance. Glancing acknowledges that the time spent on looking is reduced, perhaps less concerned, or that the moment dissipates too quickly to be considered longer. It is a way to suggest surface readings, or in catching a glance, that we might receive some crucial information but that it is compromised by sideways looking or is too brief to allow a complete study. A glance also feels like a gift when caught. It suggests that one could see something that may have had demarcated importance and that the photographically speaking author was not entirely passive but that their full ability to examine and interpret was caught in a flux or a moment of halves…
I am drawn to Erik’s work for the reasons I listed above. The images and the book feel unpretentious. The result is light while still having a hard-to-place edge to it, largely due to the psychological load the work carries based on what Erik has alluded to. I think of some of Edström’s work concerning this. Perhaps it is the air of uncanny proceedings that amplifies this edge. Or the uncertainty of image-making that is tough to qualify or replicate. There is something somber to the work, but it is not outright, and that is an excellent contribution to the world right now, where everything is too FUCKING DECLARATIVE.
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In 2017 the Norwegian photographer Erik Mowinckel was recovering from a prolonged period of mental illness. At the time the walks in Oslo, his home town, accompanied by his camera served as a kind of therapy for him. For Erik taking photographs became a way of relocating himself and played a crucial part in his process of recovery; The walks became a much needed routine and photography worked as a channel to express and deal with difficult emotions. The book The Sun Sets Inside You tells a deeply personal story of recovery through fragments of both darkness and brightness.
“When looking at the photographs now, knowing where I was in my life, I can’t help but think that they deal with grief. The city depicted has a feeling of emptiness to it, as if it’s unusually quiet, desolate, or even peaceful. Even though a few of the photographs include people, they remain anonymous, you see the back of their head or their figure from a distance, sometimes rendered almost invisible due to the oncoming light. During the years I took these photographs I was in a process of recovery, I was slowly finding my way forward but it happened so slowly that it is only in hindsight that I notice that I’m in a better place now. The Sun Sets Inside You deals with grief, but first and foremost it is about hope.”