Listening for that Hassleblad 'clunk' sound that signals the photo has been taken. (As documented by an i-phone!)
A while back we were taken up with the idea of buying a Hasselblad. These iconic cameras don’t come cheap and it took quite a bit of patient E-Bay-ing before we managed to snaffle one in our price range. The camera in question came from a retiring portrait photographer in Texas and turned up, lovingly wrapped, with a number of interesting accessories. After years of using digital cameras, looking through a filmic lens of this calibre was a revelation. Shortly after it arrived, we took it to Sweden. (Which funnily enough where the cameras were first made.)
Many months later, we finally had the prints developed! (OK, so we’re spear-heading a sort of ‘slow photography’ movement.) The light metre in the camera didn’t work and the film – which was an out-of-date gift from a photographer friend in Pau – was going to be a surprise in any case. (It was fun to open up an envelope of processed film and wonder what was inside.) Needless to say, there was a high casualty rate! That said, the enjoyment of taking the photographs and a couple of successes were good enough for us. At least, to begin with. Here’s three that turned out. For all their shortcomings I think they convey something of the atmosphere of a Småland lake on a summer afternoon. (You can see a review of where we stayed here.) But this summer, we’re definitely buying a light metre!
A bike rests against a birch, low-fi transport choice for an afternoon's swim. The best things in life are free... (Image by HWL)
Still lake, soft afternoon light, a whisper of purple and a small birch. (Image by HWL)
As the day drew on, swimmers disappeared indoors. I love the stillness of the lake though here you start to detect the shortcomings of old-style photography without a light metre! (Image by HWL)
The traditional Swedish summer cottage is anti-bling bling, short on creature comforts, big on nature. Sweden has one of the lowest population densities in Europe, an extensive coastline and reasonable stretches of forest that they haven’t yet cut down to transform into Billy IKEA bookcases so nature and woodsy isolation can be found a few hours’ drive from so-called ‘civilisation’.
Cabin comes equipped with own Swedish flag
The area features still lakes and lovely greenery
Cheerful dining area
The summer cottage of course appears frequently in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, and if you’re among the 20 people on earth and haven’t read it, I’d avoid reading the series in situ (ie: in an actual cabin) or risk giving yourself the willies. If you are unable to resist the temptation, then arm yourself with sweet Swedish pop such as the Cardigans, Abba or Lykke Li as a sort of aural antidote.
Whereas the French have concepts like joie de vivre and vague je ne sais quoi, the Swedes have ordning och reda – meaning tidiness and good order – and lagom (meaning ‘just right’, not too much or too little). Admittedly, this doesn’t sound like a great deal of fun, but the benefits of well-organised moderation are immediately apparent in certain contexts, such as Scandinavian furniture design.
The Mosshult cabin we hired this summer (pictured) combines both these concepts under the one roof – it has everything you could possibly need (if you feel like taking a bike ride, chopping wood, changing a light bulb, making pancakes or tying up little bits of string, the cottage can cater for it) but nothing unecessary or excessive (think plasma-screen). It’s wonderfully cosy, cute and of course, incredibly clean. It can sleep four (one double bed, one set of child-sized bunks, both small but equipped with warm duvets and pretty garden views) but the cosy dimensions suggest that it would be more comfortable with two, especially if (or should I say ‘when’?) the weather turns foul. On closer inspection, almost everything (from the beds to the cutlery) seemed to be made by IKEA…spooky! Continue reading