Stockholm, Sweden: Vasa, Fotografiska Museet, etc.

I spent most of my weekend in the Södermalm borough of Stockholm, where my friend Jeff lives with his girlfriend, Joanna. Springtime in Stockholm, and it was still snowing.

We watched the Swedish film, "Låt den rätte komma in" (Let the Right One In), a gender-bending love story, and also a horror film, featuring a boy who falls in love with a vampire. We also ate traditional, homemade Swedish meatballs with elderberries. Incredibly tasty.

We visited the Vasa, a Swedish warship built between 1626-1628, infamous for its complete failure. The heavily armed warship sunk immediately upon commencing its maiden voyage. The warship survived for less than one nautical mile, sinking because it was too top-heavy, the result being insufficient buoyancy. The Vasa was salvaged more than 300 years later, and today it sits in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. It is nearly 70 meters long, and more than 50 meters high.

My favorite part of Stockholm was the Fotografiska Museet, with exhibits featuring photographers Anton Corbijn, André Kertész, Steve Schapiro, and Marcus Bleasdale. Corbijn is a Dutch photographer known for his portraits of famous entertainers, and although his work is impressive, I wonder how much of that is the photographs themselves, and how much of that is the subjects. For me, posed portraiture is a bit of a bore. I prefer candid street photography, and film over digital, almost always. André Kertész, whose work I saw in Berlin at Martin-Gropius-Bau, was a Hungarian photographer (1894-1985) known for a style, with regard to lighting and composition, that at the time was unorthodox. I'm not so good with labels, but I suppose you could say Kertész was post-modern, or perhaps pre-post-modern. The work of Steve Schapiro featured photographs taken on the set of Taxi Driver, the 1976 Martin Scorcese film starring Robert DeNiro. Marcus Bleasdale's exhibit was titled, "Stolen Children," and featured soldier's of the Lord's Resistance Army in Africa. Does the name Joseph Kony ring a bell?

Vasa; Stockholm, Sweden.


Vasa; Stockholm, Sweden.