söndag 18 april 2021


Sometime during the fall I begin working on my once-every-year project: our Christmas card. This is an old tradition in the Watson family, started by my father in 1950. My father was an architect and very good at drawing so his cards were all drawings. I am a photographer and when I started making cards in 1970, I used photographs. The only rule is that they must be accompanied by a quotation from the gospels, though sometime I must admit the connection is not so clear.

This card was made for Christmas 1975 and is from Luke 2:10 ”behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy”. The tidings of great joy were for us the birth of my daughter Elisabeth. I learned my lesson: I got very tired of telling people in the US what it said and now have the source in the card so the English speakers could look up the text. Things were very primitive in those days. I took the picture during a field trip my photo class took, the subject being those new-fangled lasers. For some reason they were all red and I took a lot of pictures just to have. Later I was looking around for a picture and picked this negative.

I put the negative in the enlarger and projected it onto a contact frame. The photopaper was put in the contact frame and on top of it was a piece of plastic (overhead film) that I had written the text on with a felt tipped pen. Then I exposed and printed about 50 or 80 cards. There was always a lot of spill involved in making cards.

söndag 19 juni 2016

My insistence on or need to always take pictures is a strain on the people around me. I am always wandering off, or falling behind, or running ahead, sometimes all of these at once. I therefore remember the vacation my wife and I took in Rhodes in 1973 with great fondness. I would get up early, around 5 or 6 and walk around town for an hour or two looking and taking pictures. Then I would wander back to the hotel, put away my Rollei and go down to breakfast and spend the rest of the day with my wife. A great vacation!

tisdag 14 april 2015

This is a real old negative, from the second roll of film I ever took. I was taking a basic course in photography at the University of Miami and we had the assignment to take portraits in a working environment. I went to my father’s office and took 11 pictures of 11 people. Wow! Almost a whole roll! I didn’t take the whole roll of 12 exposures because there weren’t 12 people working there. But I had to finish the roll and get back to school and develop it. So I took this picture. Her name is Lois Sargant and she was the daughter of my father’s secretary. I think she was at the office because she had a cold or something.

I made a print of the best working portrait and left in the assignment. I made a print of Lois and gave it to her mother. I went on to other assignments. Recently I was looking for an old negative when I found this one instead and decided to scan it in for my ”Something Old” section of my website. The note with the negative says that it was taken on November 2, 1963 and I scanned it 51 years later to the day. In 1963 digital meant something to do with fingers to me. I wonder what we can do with the negative in 50 more years? Assimilate its DNA and clone a new Lois? Don’t laugh.

This is the only negative I have from this roll. On the roll was also Joseph Amanzio who worked for my father at the time. A few years ago I gave him the other negatives because they meant more to him than to me.

måndag 3 november 2014

In the summer of 1981 I wanted to continue a project from the year before, which resulted in the book "Juli 1980", and at the same time expand it. Between the 17th of May and the 8th of September, I worked in the same way — I didn’t plan my thinking or my photography. I worked instinctively and, as a complement to the pictures, I wrote a diary and poetry. In an attempt to give the pictures another feeling than those in "Juli 1980" , I used a different camera, a pocket camera from the 50's, a Folmar Automatic, giving a 6X9 centimeter negative. This picture was one of the first pictures in the project. Back then it never got past the contact stage. It was first when I was working on the book that I came across this negative and liked it. Why do I like it so much now and not as much then? I guess quite simply I was a different person now than 32 years ago. This picture is also unique (for me) in that I scanned the negative direct for the book and never have made a print of it. I’ll have to do that some day.

lördag 16 november 2013

I taught photography in Uppsala, many different courses over the years, between 1972 - 2009. At the end of each course, I gave each student a present, a so-called "Gåvobild", to thank them for the course.

This was, I found out, the very first photograph I gave away, in the Spring of 1973. I dug out my old printing notes and find that it was taken on the 15th of May 1973 at Mariefred here in Sweden. I printed it on my old Leitz IIA (THAT was a long time ago!) on Agfa Brovira Normal paper, developed in Agfa Neutol at a temperature of 21.5°C. I hadn’t the faintest remembrance that I once upon a time took the temperature of a black and white developer. Yet another sign that it was a long time ago!

One of the side effects of teaching (at least for me) is that I have acquired a lot of knowledge and experience that aren't directly related to what I really do with photography. This photograph incorporates two of them: pinhole photography and toning. I was teaching a short course in pinhole photography for Lasse Mellberg's course at Nordens Folkhögskola at Biskops-Arnö. Lasse, who is a maestro at toning, intoduced me to thiocarbamid toning. Such a beautiful combination. It's a pity this is not my real calling. Life is just too short, I guess, or perhaps we need more of them.

fredag 22 april 2011

Since “Something old” was for Limbo pictures, this photograph is perhaps a little out of place on this page. Taken in the summer of 1981, it has lived on in my Elisabeth and Christine series. However I am working on a book, “Summer 1981” and I pulled the print out of its box and scanned it. It was taken in July at our summer cabin and, even if I don’t give my pictures titles, is archived under the code name “Gulliver”. Elisabeth, who was then going on 6 years old, is now going on 35. We still have the boat, “Erik” and maybe Elisabeth’s son, Isak will play with it this summer.