on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Endframe: Kärrmark by Jan Tove

Krister Berg chooses one of his favourite images

Krister Berg

I started a career as a outdoor and landscape photographer here and become a member of /N (Naturfotograferna). But as time went by I did more work as a commercial photographer in the costal town of Piteå. And I got lost...lost all my inspiration, got another job and didn't do any photography for about 10 years. But 4 years ago, now living in Stockholm, I found inspiration and creativity again as an amateur photographer. Instagram

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Why do you remember some photographs? At what level of mind do they etch? We, humans, move in a world full of impressions and in some way the information is stored in our brains. I think it's like Photoshop Lightroom's cataloguing, memories get colours, flags, points and they end up in folders and are systematized to be picked up later. Some impression is far into the system, others sink away and are forgotten. Maybe not because they were bad, but maybe because the impression did not get caught. Most of the photographs I remember are from famous places I've seen countless times.

I could probably draw the photo from memory. But despite that, they mean nothing to me. They do not get stuck properly. On Instagram, we find a huge flow of amazing photos. You can dream away in the big landscapes for a while, travel for a moment, all with a cup of tea to sip, a perfect armchair adventure. But very few pictures get stuck in my soul. But there are some photographs that grab me and do not seem to lose their status. Most are pictures of people, but also landscapes of course. When I got the question of writing "Endfmrame", Initially it bothered me. Like all readers of ”On Landscape”, I also wondered what image I would choose if I got the question. So I made a plan, one that would limit me to my task. I decided to read through my photographic books and just choose from them. That means that about 100 books would be browsed and I would come to regret that decision. You can get too much of a good thing.

But, of course, I found the photo. It was like the sound of a bell within me when I browsed the page. I knew I did not have to look any further. Jan Töve's photograph has been with me since the book came out in 2001 and I realised that I have made many attempts at similar photos all with Töve as inspiration. But today, the image on the messy swamp forest would not give many likes on Instagram. It's not a place you want to travel to. Nobody will ever be able to sell a single photo trip to a marshland in the middle of Sweden. And yet it has sat in my photo memory.

Jan Tove ~ Karrmark

Why? In Töve's picture, there are both the familiar and the unseen. The very nature is of the kind that everyone observes in passing but very few see in detail and less manage to make an interesting photo of. It's a place that a photographer will pass on the way to some magnificent landscape.

The chaos has become cosmos, order. But there is something unpleasant about the picture, the branches stick to me and the moody colour scale and the messy bushes force the viewer to choose whether it's beautiful or just scary.
But not Jan Töve, who was working with chaos as a theme for a new book, and therefore chose to photograph this rather extreme environment. In this picture, we meet both the strictly framed section combined with a strong sense of volume. The chaos has become cosmos, order. But there is something unpleasant about the picture, the branches stick to me and the moody colour scale and the messy bushes force the viewer to choose whether it's beautiful or just scary. Another quality that I particularly appreciate is the sloppy pattern on the ice. The round shapes contrast strongly with the spiky, sharp branches. When you see the ice, one understands that it is not possible to capture this moment twice. And that makes me more fascinated.

Here is something unique, something exquisite that was only there that day and never again. Doing a photo like this requires hard work and a very special eye for how the ordinary can become interesting. Sadly most of us dream to travel to an exotic place and seem fully satisfied if the subject is correct, regardless of whether it is the right light or season for that particular place or not. Maybe we would have gotten the photo of our lives if we just turned our cameras the other way around into the swamp forest.

Notes

Jan Töve (b. 1958) is a photographer and author based in Hökerum, outside Borås, Sweden. He started as a photographer of the natural world but over the years he has become more and more focused on the man altered landscape. Today, in creating his images, he increasingly seeks the interfaces of nature, humankind and society. Jan Töve has achieved numerous awards and produced six books.



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