Outdoor Art Exhibition

The holidays are over and I´m back on the job, back to the old routines (more or less). Which is perfectly fine, one can only stand so much leisure (or so I´m telling myself). We have had the most perfect trip, the most perfect weather (a bit varied, but mostly comfortably dry and cloudy), the most interesting excursions, and some very stimulating and jolly company. I feel like I have been completely reset, which is what the holidays are for.

Last weekend, I participated in the yearly outdoor art exhibition here in Luleå, organized by Luleå Konstförening (= art society). It´s a great event, very relaxed, with a great mix of professionals and amateurs at every level. I participated two summers about a decade ago, when I was very much into making collages. This year, having bought myself a fancier camera and pushing myself to take more interesting photographs, it made total sense to exhibit again. I mean, what´s the point doing it if no one can see it? And you learn so much from people´s reactions and opinions. The short film above and the photo below are the husband´s.

I had spot number 1, probably because i registered and paid before seven in the morning on the day the ad was in the paper. The café/hotdog stand was just opposite me, which was very practical.

Mum-in-law, who has a new doctor with new insights into her condition, has bounced back gloriously, and spent all Saturday afternoon with me. She loved it, after mostly being confined to her flat for so long! (That´s her on the left in the photo, in white, sitting elegantly on her walker next to me.)

A selection of comments from the crowds:

"I see, it´s a mixture of art and photography!" (Englishman, about the exhibition as a whole)

"That´s not art, that´s just pictures!" (8ish-year-old boy)

"I love those reeds!"

"Those reeds remind me of childhood."

"That picture makes me calm."

"Photography is really coming, isn´t it?"

"Look at the reflections, it ripples up here and is still down here."

"Is that lighthouse big or small?" (7ish-year-old girl)

"Oh look, you could have exhibited!" (several supportive girlfriends/wives to their heavily equipped boyfriends/husbands, all mumbling in response)

"Are those photos?"

"I know that graffiti! Isn´t graffiti great? I love it!" (white-bearded, ex-accountant-looking pensioner)

"I recognize that place!"

"Where is that building?" (many, many men) (it´s London)

"Look at the climbers!"

"Just imagine cleaning all those windows!" (exclusively, and many, women)

"Look, it looks like that boy is running in gold sand!" (elderly man to his wife)

"Oh, you took them yourself? How clever of you." (older woman with walker & southern accent)

"Look at the cute baby."

"Look! A lamp in the sea!" (7ish-year-old girl trying to stop her baby brother - a most enthusiastic art lover - from hugging the frame and drooling all over it)

"Lovely colours. Lovely light."

"How sharp they are. How do you get them so sharp?"

"Why are those windows bricked up?"

"Are those people outcasts?"

"Photography is the new watercolour, they say."

 "Did someone die there, in that spot?"

"Are those wet-works? They are so life-like!"
"They are photographs."
"Oh. [pause] Well, very skillful of you to make them so life-like. Very clever."

It surprised me how many were surprised to see photos exhibited and who didn´t really think that photography could be art. There were four of us with photos on display, but I was the only one exclusively showing photos. I am already looking forward to next year!


  1. ""I see, it´s a mixture of art and photography!""

    roflol those words must've been spoken by someone who has never taken a photo that was more than a quick snapshot.

    i especially like the reeds against the water.

    1. Yeah, I´m beginning to realize how controversial it is, even among photographers, to aspire to do something that can be called art.

      The reeds are very popular. I even sold one - to a friend, but still.:-D

    2. i didn't used to see photography as art, because i just thought of it as something folks did to chronicle family history -vacations, family snapshots, christmas pictures.... Then i saw photographs that were art, and now i see the difference. it was an education for me to understand that difference.

  2. It is really hard for me to imagine not knowing photography as art, wow. It had not even occurred to me that this was a possibility, like when I was in 2nd grade and suddenly realized that not everyone had a piano in their house....Loved all the comments you posted--quite a cool way to chronicle an exhibit!

    1. The world would probably be a better place if every one grew up with a piano in their house! I grew up next door to my father´s fully equipped engineering workshop - I still find it infuriating not to have exactly the right, top-end tools for DIY and repairs.

      I seem to have met so many people this summer with a completely different perspective on things. It´s the best part of going out and about!

  3. Would love to be there and experience people's reactions on your exhibit. Maybe I should schedule a visit next year. :-) /Gela

    1. It´s such a great event, so much fun, so much stuff to see! Folkfest!

  4. "Where is that building?" (many, many men) (it´s London)

    "Look at the climbers!"

    "Just imagine cleaning all those windows!" (exclusively, and many, women)
    Made my day.