What a day!

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Lately, I started an internship at a local newspaper. This opportunity has given me so much, I can’t explain how much fun I had and how much all of these experiences mean to me. Sitting around the table drinking Somalian tea and eating homemade samosas with the city mayor. Meeting Don Rosa which entertained me a lot during my childhood when sitting on Sunday mornings reading Donald comics and eating cereal. I had so much fun covering different demonstrations and meeting so many new people. Even got my own little story in the local newspaper, “Vårt Oslo” where I work.

The other day was maybe my high point of it all with covering the woman’s cup finals. I don’t watch much football anymore, but I try to follow when Liverpool plays. But the game was not the fun part, it was walking around with my cameras and a press card. I am lucky to have an incredibly supporting cousin who borrowed me a professional camera, and a Sigma 150-600mm lens. Along with my Nikon D7000 with a Nikon 18-140mm, I had some options and felt the rest was up to me. It was a bit troubling with lighting since you need high shutter speeds to freeze fast movements during the match.

 

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There I sat in the pressroom, pretending I knew what I was doing while updating Facebook and waiting for the game to start

When I arrived at the stadium I didn’t know what to expect. The journalists from the newspaper and I headed to the press entrance, and there we signed in. All the journalists were sitting on another floor and photographers in their own room near the pitch. So I walked into the room where all the professionals were. I recognized some of them from tv. I found me a seat and started settling with my computer and camera equipment. When the game started, I was trying to figure out how everything worked in the technical zone, where to stand and where I could move around. Then the game started and I forgot about everything and all I was doing was trying to get the shots, finding the emotions in the players and capturing the action as it was happening.

 

 

Tomorrow is a new day and I have got some new fun assignments, a demonstration, the opening of a cultural house and a live broadcast with guests later in the evening. Now I got an external flash, so hopefully, this will improve the image quality of my indoor shots. I have had some trouble with lighting with my D7000 and have previously got grainy shots in poor lighting and I have tried to find the best settings that don’t compromise too much of the image quality.

Prison of Mind

Shoot The ShooterIt’s a beautiful October day in Oslo and the sun is shining, it’s getting colder now but you can still feel the warmth from the sun. Not a cloud in miles and I’m walking around with my Nikon hanging over my shoulder. I have been looking forward to shooting some more street photography and the day is perfect. The light and shadows with the colors from all the fallen leaves from the trees on the ground. The kids are playing on the playground and you can hear their laughter and joy from a long way. In the park, an old lady is smiling while she is sitting peacefully on the bench alone and feeding the birds. Out on the field, the dogs are running carelessly and playing fetch. Everything is so perfect and peaceful around me but on the inside…

My heart is pounding and it feels like it’s trying to escape through my throat. I stop for a second and try to breathe and recoup. I feel dizzy, weak and scared. I don’t want to be seen. I want to run and hide but don’t know where too. I’m getting mad at myself because there is absolutely no reason for this feeling! What is the problem? I have anxiety and I hate it. It’s a never-ending fight which haunts me like a demon. I can beat it again and again, but then it changes his clothes and creeps back into my life with its brand new identity like the wolf in sheep’s clothes. It’s always there, you may not see him but he is always close by.

I’ve been a prisoner of my own decaying mind while watching the world go by outside my window. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m remote controlled, I’m there but same time I’m not. I feel more like an observer, sitting hidden in the back of my brain. The world is loud and exhausting. Going too fast and in slow motion at the same time. It feels unreal and scary. It will probably always be like this to some degree. It may get better or maybe not, it is what it is and I will try to make the best out of it. It can take my energy away, but never my dreams. I’ve had many years of lost time because of anxiety and depression.
I don’t always know what to do when I get anxiety, but I try to find a way through the feeling. It can be a walk in the woods or push myself in some other way. I tried the other day walking around from offices and stores, talking to people and advertising my dream of becoming a photographer. The first day was brutal and I felt broken and small after. I went up to a big bank downtown in the busy commercial district in Oslo. I had planned what to say and walked up to the receptionist, but when I was about to introduce myself my brain froze and words came rambling out in random order. I have always felt more comfortable with writing because I can delete and rephrase myself and you will never even know. Verbally it’s whole different story. I’m not a good talker and I know it. But that was the whole point of this exercise with walking around talking to strangers. Getting better mentally and becoming more confident with talking to people face to face. I knew this was going to be a hard challenge but it’s necessary. A challenge that I believe is going to pay off in the end with my project of getting a better life for myself. I am prepared for being turned down, and in a way that is also the purpose! I’m still breathing and it was not dangerous at all, a bit embarrassing but not dangerous.

 

The Observer Of Life

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For as long as I can remember I always observed the life around me. But I have never really been a participant I felt I should be. It is like the world is a big highway going so fast in each direction, I always stood on the sideline and observed the traffic. Sometimes with the wonder of where are you all going, what’s the rush?

I had many attempts to join the traffic that is the so-called life. I had a series of jobs one after the other. But working as a lorry driver turned out extremely good, at least for a while. I loved to be alone on the road with my semi truck, driving all over Norway. Sitting behind the wheel thinking, listening to music and enjoying the scenery Norway had to offer. But I lost my license because of my bipolar illness. Now I am back to start, my doctor and I are trying to find a way I can get back on track. But the rules are strict.

HangoverThere are times when I feel I can do absolutely everything. Powered by a bottomless supply of energy and self-esteem, I can go on and on and I feel invincible! But it never lasts long and usually ends up creating more problems than actually fixing them. Life has always been a never-ending roller coaster. I am not sure I agree with being diagnosed with Bipolar 1. But I’m pretty sure I have a mood disorder. Because like a clockwork you can set your time to, depression and anxiety take me all the way back to start. Especially when the day gets darker and colder. Like a balloon losing its air. I end up laying shriveled on the floor. Physically and mentally broken.

Like Pinocchio, I have really dreamt and hoped for Giuseppe to come along and turn me into a normal boy. And not to feel so alienated. But other days the same thing scares the living shit out of me. I don’t want to be normal either! I just want to be me, and start accepting me for who I am. And to be accepted for who I am.

Well, this turned dark… And that was actually not the point. Because there is a lot of light in this story! I have dark clouds and days, but something has changed. I’m still fighting even when feeling down, even when the lack of confidence and the devil on my shoulder tries to talk me down. I won’t let it, not anymore! It can take my energy for some days, but not my dreams.

I am more than my history tells me. I am not defined by depression. I am not hopeless. I did mess up at school, always ending up in every special class. It made a kid feel very special, and not in a good way!

I messed up my life for many years when I was young and I made a lot of bad choices. I have been in more than enough institutions over the years. I did a pretty good job wrecking myself and my life, with no regard for the future. It’s hard to think of the future when I couldn’t see one for myself. My history will always be there no matter how hard I judge myself and talk myself down, it doesn’t lead anywhere.

For the first time since I was a kid, I have a dream again. I’m not dreaming of being a celebrity, I don’t want fortune and fame. I dream of happiness and creating a life with a solid foundation. I want to build something of my own, having ownership of my life.

I also want to help others that struggle with depression or anxiety. Photography may not be for you, but it`s worth a try! When life gets dark and filled with destructive and hopeless thoughts, start to look and seek for all the happiness and beautiful things around you! You will be amazed by the present moment can bring such awareness about the beauty around you. Take a picture and collect that feeling you get to keep forever or as long as you want. You can express yourself when you have no words. I bet there are tons of different ways of achieving this. You can find whatever works for you 🙂 Personally, I have never been any good at painting or drawing. So photography works for me when finding motives like beauty and happiness are all around us. It’s just hard to see if you’re not looking.

Free as a birdThis photo is from the summer of 2015 and it was when I just started playing with iPhoneography. This year was when my passion really ignited. I had tons of problems and still a disaster zone. But that summer really changed me and my life around, I felt hope again for the first time in what felt like an eternity of loneliness and depression. But in some way, I knew I was going to make it. I had hope! That’s all that I was searching for. Looking back now I am so grateful for not ending up doing something stupid that I never could have undone. I owe photography everything! Walking with my Nikon in my hands have changed me for the better. I love the playfulness I feel when taking pictures. I love the lack of anxiety. I go around talking to complete strangers. Which I never did before. And to me the answer to my own question have never been clearer, I am the observer of life and that’s what I want to be! Because in the same time I’m living and enjoying my own life!