Old Country

Old Country

Some landscapes are old country. Some are older than others. It is not that the actual soil or the people living there are somehow older. It is the history that has taken place there. Some places have rich history, whether remembered or forgotten. And being places of history, people gather and add to the history. They become centers. Time and the momentum of events add layer upon layer of interpretation to a place.

  • Vikings

Over one thousand years ago, when the land was lower than it is now, and the waters were wider, the Vikings would pass by this landscape in their boats, to and from the Eastern Sea (today known as the Baltic). This was one of the preferred channels from Western Sweden through to Eastern. The field where this series takes place was once covered in water, and between the hills and down the road, a bit away from the waters these days, is Össeby-Garn Church where two large rune stones were erected in honor of two important figures, near this olden trading post. The runes are post-Christian era.

  • Modern Change

History was built upon history. The waters finally diminished, and the boats no longer passed through. The Viking age faded with time and the church remained. There is a second church in this region, on opposite side of the river. It would burn down and remain in ruins even to this day. Roads would later be built. Telephone lines, windmills, internet. The mill by the bus stop would be destroyed later, and again restored (as recently as last year).

From this location, Bertil Almqvist would create the Swedish Tiger symbol of Sweden, and write his famous childrens’ books Barna Hedenhös. My wife, when a child, would often visit Bertil’s daughter, then an elderly woman, at her home at the foot of the foggy hill in this series. When she died, the rights to the Almqvist stories changed hands, and the children’s story of the Hedenhös family became last years Christmas story on TV, which my children thoroughly enjoyed. History upon history. 

  • Old Country

Recently, it was discovered that the small wooded area opposite a creek by the in-laws house is filled which the remains from the stone age, long before the Vikings ruled. It ensures that the places will forever remain wooded and is a telltale sign that the Vikings built upon a previous and forgotten history, that maybe they only distantly recalled. Old country.

  • About The Series

This series of images was taken during the short span of an hour. The changing conditions of fog and light lent for a wide, though subtle difference in image mood from one to the next. I have tried to capture that change. I have tried, in this cropland field, to capture time. The field this series is taken from is a piece of cropland that currently sits fallow between crop seasons. It is the lull between harvests. It is filled with muddy holes and difficulty. Some images focus on the field and its orange and fallow tones and barely visible green hues, while others expose the low and dull sky and its soft and sometimes gritty mood. In a number of the images, you can make out telephone polls, lines and wide strips of mud left by bulldozers as they build new infrastructure for the growing village. In others, there is little available to the eye but the simple impact of nature. I chose the somewhat warm but mild VSCOcam preset H2, as it added a weathered feel to these landscape scenes, and was well suited for the color palette of the series. The series is a simple attempt at adding value to what is already rich.

You can view more of my VSCOcam images on my grid:

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